Red pen fails the test
Poor performance could be linked to ink colour
Published: January 30, 2008, The Humber Et Cetera
Ever notice that business supply stores such as Staples are beginning to stock up on more purple pens and fewer red ones?
Over the last few years, many teachers have been trading in their vibrant red pens for softer shades, the reason being that more evidence supports the claim that red pens have a negative effect on students.
This new craze extends its roots to an article published in The Boston Globe in August of 2004. In the article, colour psychologist Leatrice Eiseman, director of the Pantone Color Institute in Carlstadt, N.J. made the claim that red is aggressive while other colour psychologists suggested red could be linked to a student’s poor performance.
This argument stems from the idea that red is often viewed as negative – some students may associate red pen with failing or doing poorly.
Students, the psychologists say, are more likely to be embarrassed by an ‘F’, or even a ‘C’, when it’s written in red, rather than when it’s written in a different colour.
No offence to the psychologists, but I say it’s a load of hogwash. An ‘F’ will always be an ‘F’, no matter what colour ink it’s written in.
Of course you’re going to feel a little down when you see something you worked on all marked up with critiques and errors, it’s only natural. You’ll get over it.
Personally, I love getting my work all marked up — you have the opportunity to look at where you went wrong and improve. Red or purple – does it really make a difference?
I’ve found that I take the teacher’s comments less seriously when they’re written in ‘nicer’ colours.
Several teachers who shared their opinions on this matter agreed with me and showed a reluctance to stop using red.
Red represents passion and love, among other things. It is one of the colours on both the American and Canadian flags.
Maybe the real issue isn’t what colour is affecting the students, but the educational system. I believe the real problem here is that students are coddled. Whatever colour the ‘F’ is written in doesn’t change the meaning.
If you fail an assignment, you fail. Get back up, and try harder.