Say it ain’t so, Finland

I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the tweet claiming that Finland has decided to remove cursive writing from the curriculum in favor of keyboard typing instruction. But apparently it’s the truth.

Finland?! This is the country that I — and so many other educators — have held in such high esteem for their educational practices. For their developmentally appropriate practice. For their understanding of children.

Where was all of that during this decision-making process? Where was the understanding that handwriting promotes manipulation and finger isolation skills that are useful for other fine-motor activities, including self-care and use of technology? That handwriting gives children an important opportunity to experience the spatial orientation and directionality of letters in a way that typing simply can’t? That cursive writing in particular is linked to self-regulation and mental organization? That writing by hand is closely associated with cognitive development, motor skills development, literacy development, written expression, memory, and brain development?

The research on this topic is clear and growing all the time.

I just don’t understand it. Do education decision makers really believe the laws of child development have no place in the 21st century, simply because we’re now living in a world full of gadgets? Are they so arrogant that they think we can thumb our noses at Mother Nature and not have to pay a price for it?

Et tu, Finland? Please say it ain’t so.

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