During my stint at Beanstalk Bilingual International School in Beijing a couple of years ago, the school was in the final stages of presenting awards for "penmanship". Hallways were decked with some lovely work in both Chinese and English.
I wondered how many hours had been spent on mastering English cursive writing.
It is time to consider whether English cursive writing is already obsolete and irrelevant (except, perhaps, as a personal signature, or an art form). We live in an age of print. Computers rule. Most Western high school students now take notes and produce essays in print (handwritten or computerized). The content is far more important than the style.
Consider the situation of the Asian student. While it is obviously necessary to teach the ESL child to print English letters, I question the wisdom of using valuable classroom time to transition into cursive. Printing is sufficient in this age of technology. (D'Nealian style of print is easiest and most versatile.)
Printing, on the other hand, needs to be taught thoroughly and well. It is worth every minute of time during the early years to ensure that the child is forming letters accurately. All those "higher-level" thoughts that modern schools are wanting them to express, will be better understood if their printing is legible.
Some skills remain essential. Printing is one of those. Cursive writing is not.