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Headlines from Australia, UK and the United States:

The Terror of the Red Pen ... Study shows red pen corrections bum students out ... No More Red Ink! ... Teachers starting to shun red pens ... Teachers banned from using 'confrontational' red ink in case it upsets children

Teachers traditionally wielded a red pen because it stood out on paper, against black or blue, the shade typically used by students. Some argue that American culture is one of extremes. They say the same students who receive color-sensitive grades leave school and play gory video games. And some attribute the dwin-dling number of red pens in the classroom to self-es-teem sensitivity run amok. Skeptics discount fears of the shade and wonder whether all the attention to the color of a grade has any substantive effect.

One visual arts professor at a University in California, said the negative reaction to grading in red is culturally embedded – a reaction more ingrained in the teachers than the students. Teachers may start out using purple, a color that they seem to think has less negative connotations, but in time, after kids have gone through 12 years of purple check marks, they're going to think purple is an awful color.

Many educators say the choice of pen color is only the tip of making the grading experience a positive one for kids. Some argue that the science of grading is so much more than a check mark on a piece of paper.

Another teacher who instructs aspiring teachers at a California State University, said callous grading can cause kids to loathe school, and she cautions her stu-dents against correcting tests in red.

A principal at a California Elementary school, said grading is much more sophisticated than it used to be. Every aspect of grading – from the language used to the teacher's tone and the color of ink used to make corrections – leaves a psychological imprint on students. Teachers are instructed to use more neutral colors – blues and greens, or shades of purple because thay are more calming colors.

Australia says 'no' to use of red pen by teachers.

Press Trust Of India / Melbourne December 05, 2008. The teachers in Australia have been asked to stop using red pen to mark students’ work as it can harm their mental health ... Teachers shouldn't use red colored pens to mark homework 'because it's like shouting and upsets pupils'

A U.S. study says red pen makes students anxious. Children feel "shouted at" but psychologist say criticism is a normal part of life. Anyone for hot pink? Turquoise blue, hot pink, lime green? Could different colors solve the problem.





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