15%: this is the share of Americans who say, in a poll at the end of last year, that they have never written a letter by hand. Also according to this study, 37% of respondents have not sent a handwritten letter for more than five years and 50% have not received it personally in the same period.
While most researchers in France agree that learning to write by hand is not immediately threatened, the story is slightly different on the other side of the Atlantic. In 2013, fifteen states withdrew it from school, replacing it with courses related to the use of digital technology, such as keyboards. The idea was to bet on future uses and above all to save school time for other disciplines.
But in 2017, a survey by a reporter in Silicon Valley, the cradle of new technologies, in California, showed that keyboard designers themselves educate their children … in private institutions, where the learning of handwriting is in program!
Scientists in the country had also denounced the use of digital tools, showing that they did not have the same virtues as the pen, particularly on memory and understanding. The American states in question then reconsidered their decision, “but the idea was there,” recalls Bernard Bouvet, one of the organizers of Writing Week, which is held until October 9 in France and puts the honorary spelling there.
Especially neglected cursive writing
Today, says Margot, a young teacher based in California, American students are learning to write by hand, “but only in capital letters in kindergarten, then in writing. (with letters detached from each other)never in italics (with linked letters) except in some private establishments. In Quebec, students begin their learning by writing in block capitals, before moving on to italics later.
Another example in Finland. Since 2016, learning cursive writing is no longer mandatory. From small classes, the “attached letters” thus sometimes leave room for teaching typing on the keyboard and for electronic writing courses. This is based on the idea that, with fewer and fewer adults writing by hand, cursive writing would be obsolete.