Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Red Ink Controversy





On my morning travels through the Internet, I stumbled upon an interesting story from Australia. (The second best source of stories after the great nation of Japan.)

Seems a controversy that began in the States a few years back has finally reached Australian shores. Teachers in some parts of the country have been ordered to stop using red ink when grading students' papers and tests. Red ink, you see, is believed to be too aggressive, and some worry that a paper covered in red markings could have a negative impact on students' self esteem. Instead, teachers have been asked to use a "gentler" color such as purple or green.

I recall that the red ink issue was a hot topic in the US about four years ago. (Read a story here, if you're interested.) So have teachers here stopped using red pens, or are they still terrorizing young psyches with their scarlet ink? How do you feel about the controversy? Amused, horrified, scarred for life?

I agree that there's nothing worse than being handed a paper with a giant red "F" on it. But if a kid can't take a little red ink, what chance will she have in the real world?

28 Comments:

Anonymous Nellie said...

I'm homeschooled, and my mother uses red or pink ink. And I'm not cutting myself.
:-)

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Miranda said...

I've told all my teachers about the red ink controversy thing, but they don't listen. Oh well. It's just a silly little pen...a silly little color...

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Hazel said...

Frankly, I like to see at a glance where I made mistakes, and I find red easiest to see.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Dame Orchid said...

I think people need to toughen up, because if you can't handle a little red ink then how are you supposed to handle future corrections or rejections?

I think were raising a generation of softies.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Isabela said...

Well I've never heard about some student that went crazy becouse of the ink used by the teacher.I think this polemic is caused by lack of more important things to do.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Meredith said...

Nellie: I'm homeschooled too and my mom uses the red pen, unless of course she can't find it.

I sort of look forward to seeing where my mistakes are so I know what to work on. I mean, I didn't always see it that way, but I have grown up since then.
Life is hard and it tends to only get harder. Part of maturing is not letting stuff get to you that isn't important. The biggest ego problem there is is the problem with having too big of an ego.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous lara said...

i think whatever color ink you use, its always going to be kind of negative if you get an F....its not really anything to do with the teacher either, if they are feeling upset about all those red marks on their papers, they should have done better work in the first place....

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I honestly feel the same amount of shame with any ink. And, no offense whatsoever, but I hate when teachers say stuff like, "To prepare you for the real world." So what, are like living in the fake world?

3:44 PM  
Anonymous invisible turtle said...

Maybe red just seems bad because it has connotations of bad marks and mistakes. Sure, we could switch to purple, but in a couple years or soe, purple is going to be seen as a color synonymous with failure.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Kiki Strike said...

That is really dumb. I mean I see what they are saying, but I personally don't really care what color is written on my paper. Well I mean green IS the best color ever, but big woop, read ink!

5:58 PM  
Blogger Dahlia said...

That's just stupid. Red is just a color, people are just over-thinking the whole thing and making a big deal about it because they're bored. Though, I do rather dislike the color red. :P It's just too bright for my taste (meaning I won't wear it, but it's fine as ink).

6:13 PM  
Anonymous undiscovered universe said...

I like too see where I make mistakes, and red ink is defintatly the easiest to find.
Furthermore, the "red is aggresive" thing is just anouther color steriotype. We think of red as being agressive because we were brought up that way. Red is the color (in our society) represteting anger, blood (even though blood is more purple than red) gangs, etc.
And this was a 'big problem' in the states a few years ago? Come on, we have people dieing, terrorists, global warming, a whole lot of diseases, and the big deal is what color pen to use when grading papers? I also agree that any color is going to seem negitive if it is a F or something bad.
If some kid is crying and stuff cuz a teacher used red ink, well, that shows you something, doesn't it?
Wow that was long :)

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Hazel said...

Sometimes I think that people are so worried that they'll damage the self-esteem of our poor, impressionable youth, that the message the poor, impressionable youth gets is that their self-esteem is incredibly fragile. So maybe some of us are totally crushed by red ink, but we need to toughen up, like Meredith and Dame Orchid said, and writing in purple isn't gonna help.

6:40 PM  
Blogger WrittenChaos said...

Speaking of red being easy to see, what about colorblind students? They see red as brown.

And even though a big, red F is never fun, what about a big red A?

11:01 PM  
Blogger Random Irregular said...

This is just again something the government must have spent quite a few months on researching. I saw this in the morning a day ago and thought, "Psaw! What a joke. What NOW?"

Red Ink, dangerous? Bleh. I prefer my corrections in red, and feel quite annoyed when it is done in blue or black, the colour of ink I use. Either way, a correction is a correction, and help us fix our mistakes. If we don't feel a bit sad or guilty when receiving a big F on a paper of ours, then how will a person feel determined to try harder next time?

It is not a mistake to make a mistake, but it is a mistake to repeat a mistake.

2:45 AM  
Blogger Irregular Kiki said...

I believe it's not really about the red ink. If the student is not happy with the red crosses on their work, they should've done better! It feels pretty good when you see red ticks on your test paper, and it's completely normal NOT to feel good when you see red crosses on your test paper. It's about your achievement, not the red pen!

5:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The red doesn't bother me unless I REALLY screw up and there's marks all over the page...

But my Reading teacher grades in blue, because blue is the color that you remember most. It's been proven. So, he corrects in blue, and I have to say I like that better.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Dante's.Inferno said...

This is stupid. I often edit my friend's papers for her English class, and I *always* use red pen. It just jumps out at you when you're reading. Does she burst out in tears when I hand her back three or four pieces of paper with red marks over it? No. She smiles and says she'll work on these, and thanks for doing this. She doesn't scream, she doesn't go all depressed, she doesn't go home and cut. All this is, is the government trying to get further into things it has absolutely no business being in in the first place! How someone grades is their issue to worry about, not the government's. And we're back where we started: This is just stupid.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous spiffy said...

My teacher grades in red ink and I don't really care. And anyway if I have to grade someone else's paper, I usually use red just because it's my favorite color. Honestly, who cares? I don't know why people make such a big deal. And if you're going to really have a breakdown because of the red (which you shouldn't), just politely ask your teacher to change colors if it's possible.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous SAMEANANYMOUS said...

my mom (whos a teacher) was that in cologe! and shes like 40!

6:07 PM  
Anonymous penguin said...

PSH.
I think school students should print their papers in red ink and see if it damages the teachers. When it doesn't, they'll argue that teachers are more stable than students.

7:01 PM  
Anonymous eternal espionage said...

That's me... I just can't handle that horrific color on my papers. AAAAAAAGGGGHHHH! :D

11:05 PM  
Blogger Kitty said...

Nellie: My mom just yells at me for failing tests XD

I know, back when I was in private school, the teacher would give me a test or quiz with a huge 80% or 60% in deep, red marker. But I didn't know about grades then so I would just run up to my mom saying "MOMMY! LOOK!! I GOT A 50!!" -.-'

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Patsee said...

I think the whole controversy is silly, and that we worry too much about "self esteem."
Oddly enough, I prefer the red pen to the green pen on my homework, even though I don't like the color red anywhere else. o.0

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So it just now took them to get this news?

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate red ink so much... and now i have a wholly legitimate reason to sue those wonderful teachers who taught me almost everything i know for scarring me for life...

*sniff sniff* excuse me - i just saw a scarlet mark on my term paper.. i have to fo slit my wrists or something...

4:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow. this is stupid and i dont just mean the red ink thing, i mean all of the emo comments like "oh i just saw a red mark on my term paper, i have to go slit my wrists.." oh shut up. WHY THE HECK DOES EVERYONE THINK EMO PEOPLE CUT THEMSELVES? and besides, we shouldn't be whimpy. in a couple of generations, our son and daughters and grandchildren will be afraid of puppies.
xXcarlyXx

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Red is the color of death or unfriendliness in the Korean culture. So don't use it with Korean students or parents.

7:39 PM  

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