Putting a stop to red ink in the classroom


Have you ever marked a student’s work with a red pen?  I know I have and have even made a point of searching for a red pen for the specific purpose of marking.  So now I have just read that this is not an appropriate teaching practice (well who knew?).  Take a look at the article (it is only short) Putting a stop to red ink in the classroom.

Do you agree that using red ink can minimize student engagement?  Personally I had never thought of this before but I wonder are we taking some matters too far?  Eric Decker believes we are in his article No More Red Pens at English School.  Decker believes that banning red pens in classrooms is a case of moving from   “this is how you can get better” to “your mistakes aren’t as important as your feelings.”

I think that maybe things are being taken to the extreme when it comes to banning red pens in classrooms.  I feel it is how you use any pen that is the underlying problem.  If I use a purple or green pen to place a big fat X on a student’s work or write negative comments is that less harmful to the student and less likely to place them at risk of becoming less engaged compared to using a red pen to place a small x or write positive comments?



2 thoughts on “Putting a stop to red ink in the classroom

  1. I have marked student work with a red pen but I prefer to use a black. I will use red if I want to, regardless of this motion towards banning red pens. If you are a kind and approachable teacher, I do not see a pen colour to be that monumental of a deal.

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