04 Oct #1 Reason NOT to Use a Red Pen
What comes to mind when you think of a red pen? The red pen has always been related to corrections made by a teacher at school. For me, the word correction, elementary school, and feedback come to mind.
The moment your teacher handed you back an exam, an assignment or anything school related, what came to mind when you saw red on it?
Try to remember being in elementary school and the moment your teacher hands you back some sort of assignment, test, school related… and you saw red all over. Perhaps even multiple red exes, maybe a big red “X” across the page. Are you able to remember the way you felt that exact moment?
The point I am trying to make is imagine how a little 8 year old, who studied for hours with their parents and maybe even with a tutor, and was confident about the exam, for example. But for whatever reason, whether it be due to anxiety, mental blocks or other reasons that prevented this little child to answer to his/her best capability.
Imagine how this child feels when getting their exam back with red all over? Especially given all the hard work and the time put into preparing for the exam. Is the red pen really necessary? Why not use a colour other than red when correcting children’s work? Or any work for that matter. When did the red pen become the go to pen for teachers?
I strongly believe that by simply using a different colour when correcting makes a huge, huge difference on how the child will feel about their mistakes. Children’s emotional response to red is different than their emotional response to any other colour when related to corrections.
So, it is important to take that into consideration when correcting students’ work; to think about how they will feel to see red all over their work. This is a small gesture that can make all the difference for students.