Baby Corner

Old 09-08-04, 02:06 PM
bjlmom's Avatar
B.A.G. Mommy!!!
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Baumholder, Germany
Posts: 7,063
Thanked 0 Times
Points: 1
Level: 1
Weekly Activity 20%
Default Red Ink

Teachers Back Away From Red Ink

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

By Megan Dowd

An F is an F, but failure seems so much friendlier when it comes in

A growing number of the nation's educators are stocking up on purple
pens (search) for grading papers and passing on the traditional red,
which they say can be intimidating and damaging to a student's self-

"Teaching should always be a positive practice. Red seems to stand
out in such a negative way," said Dorothy Porteus, school support
specialist with the New York Charter Schools Association
(search). "Little guys internalize the red and it doesn't make them
feel good."

Porteus, who taught elementary school for 20 years, said a teacher
should coach kids to do their best, not scare them into thinking
they'll never be good enough. She equates using red ink with drawing
a frowning face on a student's work.

"They put all this effort into something and by marking it up with
red, in some ways it is like tearing their hard work to shreds," she
said. "They look at the red and think the teacher is upset with
them, and this greatly influences their attempt to do their next

Critics of the move toward a kinder, gentler color say kids have
lived with red ink for decades and aren't helped by teachers going
easy on them.

Michael Barone, author of "Hard America, Soft America: Competition
vs. Coddling and the Battle for the Nation's Future," (search) said
the push for purple is an example of American teachers going soft on

"This is ridiculous, because the only reason we associate red with
bad in a classroom atmosphere is because that is the color that has
been used to correct papers for decades," he said. "If teachers now
switch to purple, in time purple will become negative, and then

According to Barone, young people today exist in a "soft" culture,
which emphasizes self-esteem and protects them from the realities of
adult life

Some parents, too, argue that changing the color of an F doesn't
alter its meaning, and if it gets the student's attention, it has
achieved its purpose.

Keishla Erdelyi, whose daughter Kylie is entering the fifth grade
this fall, says the most important thing is for her daughter to know
what mistakes she made on a test or essay.

"It really doesn't matter what color the ink is, it's just the grade
itself," said Erdelyi. "She's aware of what her grade is, if it's
good or bad. No matter what the color, she is upset with herself if
she gets a bad grade."

But Porteus isn't alone in this purple approach to marking papers.
The retreat from red is even affecting some pen distributors' fall
color scheme. Barry Calpino, Paper Mate's (search) vice president
and general manager, estimated that the company boosted production
of purple pens by at least 10 percent.

Office supply superstores are also getting the signal as the $15
billion back-to-school retail season kicks off. They say focus
groups and conversations with teachers have led them to conclude
that a growing number of the nation's educators are switching to
purple because it is not as intimidating as red. Staples (search)
and OfficeMax (search) are adding purple to multicolor packs and
selling all-purple packs.

Nevertheless, critics warn a purple reign is pointless.

"Children can figure out if they're being corrected even if they're
not being corrected in red ink or red pencil," Douglas Sears, Dean
of Boston University School of Education, told FOX News. "They know
when they're being criticized, and by the way, they should be
criticized when they're not spelling or punctuating correctly."

Still, Porteus stresses that educators should draw attention to the
progress students make rather than their downfalls.

"Highlight the good and students will work harder," she said. "Some
educators think if you punish the kid it will make them do better.
It just doesn't work that way."
Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-04, 01:09 PM
Vmomof2's Avatar
Community Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Happy St Patty's Day! ~From V in AZ
Posts: 941
Thanked 0 Times
Points: 1
Level: 1
Weekly Activity 20%

Wow thanks for the article! I think that is neat that they are going to change colors...I know I was so upset to see my papers marked up with red ink.
Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-04, 01:21 PM
Teeks's Avatar
VIP Member
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: North East USA
Posts: 21,235
Thanked 0 Times
Points: 1
Level: 1
Weekly Activity 20%

Neat article! I never really thought about the red ink.
Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-04, 05:40 PM
Chickie's Avatar
is is needing a day off!
Admin Team
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 12,129
Thanked 179 Times
Points: 513
Level: 8
Weekly Activity 49570%

I have to say that I disagree with the concept. I do not believe in tiptoeing around bad schoolwork. I believe in positive reinforcement in most cases, but a failing paper is a failing paper, and the kids should feel bad about it. If it is no big deal to fail, then why try harder at all? JMO Good article...thanks!
Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-04, 03:28 PM
montanachic's Avatar
North Carolina
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 16,515
Thanked 8 Times
Points: 1
Level: 1
Weekly Activity 20%

I tend to agree with Amanda on this. I think we sometimes "cater" too much to our kids feelings to the point that they aren't going to learn how to deal with these situations in the real world. If an F is a failure than it should look like a failure and not disguised to look better than it is. JMO too,
no offense I hope to anyone, I could see both sides but I fear that we are making things too easy sometimes and that it all needs to be a part of growing up and learning to do better. Great article, thanks for sharing.
Reply With Quote
Latest Articles
Pregnant Woman's Guide to The Zika Virus
Get the latest information about the zika virus during pregnancy including how to protect your unborn baby or infant, signs and symptoms, complications, and prevention.

Fetal Development Video
Video showing how a fetus developed during the 40 weeks of pregnancy. Fetal Development Video

Adventure Vacations with Your New Family Are Possible
If you spent time as a couple exploring vast areas of the world, that doesn't have to end just because you have a new baby. Here are 6 tips to make your vacations fun for the whole family. Plus, vacation ideas to help you get started.

The "Mozart" Effect: How Music Helps Your Baby's Development
Can your baby really be smarter if your listen to Mozart, or other classical music, during pregnancy?

What to Expect Postpartum: Your Period
The postpartum period brings many changes to a woman's body. Learn what to expect with your period including when it will return and warning signs to watch out for.

March 2018 Baby Photo Contest Winner
March 2018 Baby Photo Contest Winner
Congratulations Wasim!

Calculators & Tools

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:17 AM.

Pregnancy | Fertility | Baby | Toddler | Community | Baby Names

About Baby Corner | Advertising | Editorial | Contact Baby Corner | Terms of Use | Privacy Notice

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright © 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.