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Teachers asked not to use a red pen when grading papers. It's too 'agressive' to student's mental health. Silly or not?

MkB 2008/12/20 08:00:13
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Not silly, great idea. Leave a comment.
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Teachers have been advised that marking students' work in red pen could harm their mental health.

A kit to help teachers address mental health wellbeing in the classroom offers a list of tips devised by experts.

One tip says: "Don't mark in a red pen (which can be seen as aggressive) - use a different colour."

The kit, tabled in Queensland's parliament on Wednesday by Deputy Opposition Leader Mark McArdle, sparked a row between the government and opposition over education priorities.

"Given your 10-year-old Labor government presides over the lowest numeracy and literacy standards of any state in Australia, don't you think it's time we focused on classroom outcomes rather than these kooky, loony, loopy, lefty policies?" Mr McArdle asked Premier Anna Bligh in parliament.

Ms Bligh said the question was trivial at a time of economic crisis.

"Thousands of Queensland retirees for example are seeing their superannuation earnings go through the floor, and the opposition wants to speak about the colour of pens that teachers are using in the classroom," Ms Bligh said.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said there was nothing wrong with teachers using a red pen.

"How crazy is this government?" he told reporters.

But Health Minister Stephen Robertson, whose department devised the kit, said youth suicide was such a serious issue.
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Top Opinion

  • KSJR362 - Not what you think 2008/12/20 08:19:07
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    KSJR362 - Not what you think
    +10
    WTF? Why don't we just go all "Lord of the Flies" with our children? Forbid we do anything to correct them, discipline them or educate them. Let's just leave them to their own devices. Oh hell why bother even having parents and education anyway. Just pump out, feed 'em till they can do it on their own and throw them out to the world.

    I think we have seen the answer as to why todays teens are out of control.

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  • JTGator American Patriot "... 2008/12/21 19:25:14 (edited)
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    JTGator  American Patriot "In God We Trust"
    +5
    What next, Give kids an A for showing up?

    Just go to Silicon Valley and tell me how many Americans fresh out of college are working for the Hi-tech companies. My company alone hires 64% of their engineers from China, Taiwan, Korea, India and Russia because they can't find students here with the work ethic required to be a productive citizen.

    I always hated the red marks. It meant I had to work harder. Go figure.
    required productive citizen hated red marks meant work harder figure
  • 2Loquac... JTGator... 2008/12/22 00:06:06
    2Loquacious
    +2
    It's not just the work ethic; it's the expectation that their starting salaries are going to be 50K+.

    My cousin works at Cisco and complains endlessly about the little entitled whiners from our colleges.
  • JTGator... 2Loquac... 2008/12/22 00:24:37
    JTGator  American Patriot "In God We Trust"
    +3
    You hit it right on the mark. The Foreigners don't complain at all. They are so glad to have a job. You know companies bring them over four at a time. The reason is they can share a 2 bedroom apartment, a small car and afford it all on the salary the four of them make. They don't expect much because they did not have much in the first place. kids today have a lot to learn about how easy they have it.
  • cissa12342 2008/12/21 19:18:25
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    cissa12342
    +2
    thats friken hillerous!
  • the_old_coach 2008/12/21 19:17:50 (edited)
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    the_old_coach
    +4
    Okay: I'm a long time teacher, son of teachers, and I have a son that is also a teacher.

    To say that I've seen a lot of changes in education is appropriate. I also have a strong opinon of "new education." I live in New Mexico, USA.

    Education and child-rearing practices began the change in the mid-1960's first with the O'Hare case and in the late '60s--early '70s with the Dr. Benjamin Spock movement. Various government policies geared to changing the way we educate our children (Children At Risk in particular) appeared and education as we know it changed.

    *****************************...

    I'm 55 and I grew up in Midland, Texas. I remember starting every school day with a prayer over the intercom, and then the Pledge of Allegiance. I don't believe that we ever suffered any kind of damage. After O'Hare, of course, prayer was out. In addition, we had corporal punishment, administered in class at the moment of infraction.

    If we messed up and went too far and made the teacher mad, we had to come to the front of the room and "assume the position" at the desk, and then 1-3 "licks" were applied to our bottom. Gee, it sure got quiet in the room after that. This was also outlawed after 1971 because some teachers would go too far. This memory is my generation's forever.

    The Spock movement made i..."'"""'""'

    ""'""''"'''

    '"""''"'""""

    ""'""""""

    '

    Okay: I'm a long time teacher, son of teachers, and I have a son that is also a teacher.

    To say that I've seen a lot of changes in education is appropriate. I also have a strong opinon of "new education." I live in New Mexico, USA.

    Education and child-rearing practices began the change in the mid-1960's first with the O'Hare case and in the late '60s--early '70s with the Dr. Benjamin Spock movement. Various government policies geared to changing the way we educate our children (Children At Risk in particular) appeared and education as we know it changed.

    *****************************...

    I'm 55 and I grew up in Midland, Texas. I remember starting every school day with a prayer over the intercom, and then the Pledge of Allegiance. I don't believe that we ever suffered any kind of damage. After O'Hare, of course, prayer was out. In addition, we had corporal punishment, administered in class at the moment of infraction.

    If we messed up and went too far and made the teacher mad, we had to come to the front of the room and "assume the position" at the desk, and then 1-3 "licks" were applied to our bottom. Gee, it sure got quiet in the room after that. This was also outlawed after 1971 because some teachers would go too far. This memory is my generation's forever.

    The Spock movement made it barbarian to physically punish a child or do anything else to "lower a child's self-esteem." The last kid on the last-place team received a "trophy" so s/he wouldn't feel left out and suffer "low self-esteem." Of all the changes to come, I believe this was the worst catastrophe ever perpetrated on American school kids. If you wonder why our school kids don't seem as competitive as those in other countries, this is the culprit.

    Why continue to compete when competivness is worthless (because everyone is going to get a "trophy")? As a coach of over 30 years, I saw this run rampant in athletics and every parent in the stands knows more about the game than the coach on the field: It isn't fair that "Billy" doesn't get to play in the game simply because he can't earn his way INTO the game. You know, this could hurt his self-esteem." Of course I'm not talking about instructional league, I'm talking about how parent's expectations FROM instructional league make their way up to varsity sports. It is the same in academics.

    I don't know HOW MANY parent-teacher conferences have begun with: "Well, it must be the teaching because Sally always got good grades in elementary school." Another favorite: "I can't believe that YOU are flunking Billy simply because he doesn't come to school or turn in any work." Yes, I've heard this from enabling parents, "helicopter parents." These "new generation parents" are sometimes even following their kids into COLLEGE. Incredible.

    So, I understand wanting our children to be the best that they can be, but we have totally lost common sense in how we want our children to achieve. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is the newest and worst case of "pie in the sky" that I've ever seen. We refer to it as "No Child Left Behind because No Child Gets Ahead." Not every kid is going to go to college yet my school is saddled with graduating 100% of our students by 2014. Good luck with that piece if incompetance. Math and Reading scores must be "at grade level" by 2014, another piece of "pie." I have plenty of 14-17 year olds in my classes reading at 2nd-5th grade levels.

    Kids drop out of school for various reasons. One (of the many) is because they DON'T want to go to college and they are tired of being pushed in that direction. These kids need to be offered a trades apprenticeship so that they can find a career and be the productive citizens we, as educators, are charged with producing.

    Lay off the red ink? PA-LEASE!
    (more)
  • aka the_old... 2008/12/21 20:33:24
    aka
    +3
    I agree with some of what your talking about. We need more vocational education I think it would cut down on the prison population a great deal. As one of those students who received many of those swats (some teachers used the ruler on the palm of the hand or on the knuckles and some used the big wooden paddles with the holes in them made by the boys in shop) I am not sure I would want to see us go back to that. I think it is time for people though to move past the "self esteem" issue -- I know plenty of criminals with high self esteem -- in fact they think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread and their s*&t don't stink. It is time to build emotional intelligence, responsibility, and integrity. I agree NCLB needs to be thrown in the garbage.
  • Hammer the_old... 2008/12/22 02:50:09 (edited)
    Hammer
    +1
    PLEASE Tell me your not in the NEA. If so I have just one thing to say RUN Run for your sanity while you still have some.
  • the_old... Hammer 2008/12/22 03:14:28
    the_old_coach
    +1
    I am, actually, and also the AFT.

    Now, having said that, I have so many disagreements with policy that I no longer attend meetings. I pay my dues for the insurance and selected benefits. My Master's degree is in EdAdmin, so I will have to leave when I "go over to the other side" in Admin, LOL.
  • MkB the_old... 2008/12/23 08:02:44
    MkB
    +1
    I grew up near Houston in in the 1960s and 1970s. Same Texan assume the position philosophy.
  • aka 2008/12/21 18:39:25
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    aka
    +6
    I teach college and today's students are the biggest whiners because of this stuff (I also am a mental health professional that works in a prison). Mental illness is a real thing but treating children like fragile dolls is overprotecting and not helpful at all. What is happening to balance! I have had college students complain about me to the administration because I did not give them an A. I now have to explain to students what they have to do to get a A by making grids for assignments and telling them the criteria for an A, B, C etc -- It has gotten ridiculous. Higher education has become a business where it is about keeping students happy to keep classrooms full. Suicide is a serious issue but the most important thing is that youth have people to talk to. This is over the top and ridiculous!
  • the_old... aka 2008/12/21 19:21:55
  • 2Loquac... the_old... 2008/12/22 00:42:18
    2Loquacious
    +2
    I totally agree with both you and coach!

    At the beginning of every semester I give a little lecture to my college students about how it's not possible for me to grade their effort; I can only grade their product. If their product is "A" quality it will get an "A" regardless of their efforts.

    They're always shocked by this. They think that somehow trying hard should count for something. But I ask them if they think the athlete who comes in last in a race trains and tries any less than the athlete that wins. Of course not. But should she get a gold medal just like the person who won? Of course not. Well, why didn't she win? Ability. Exactly.

    The grade of an "A" is handed out so willy nilly in public schools these days that they don't even know what it actually means to get an "A." "A" does not stand for adequate or complete or even fulfills all the requirements of the assignment. That's what a "C" is.

    "A" work is exceptional and goes above and beyond the requirements of the assignment. When you put "A" work next to "B" and "C" work the difference is evident. But most students have been fooled into thinking they're "A" students when they're only average students doing "B/C" work, sometimes worse.
  • the_old... 2Loquac... 2008/12/22 01:43:09
    the_old_coach
    +1
    I post the rubric for work now so that students can understand exactly what is necessary for each grade. I thought by seeing what it took to earn that "5" (A) they would take the initiative and go there.

    Oh, no, not happening: when most see how little they need to gain a "3" (C), they do that much. A few go on to make a "4" or a "5" but not that many. Now Admin wants me to make it easier to get the "A." It's making me very sad.

    earn 5 initiative gain 3 4 5 admin easier sad
  • 2Loquac... the_old... 2008/12/22 02:05:20
    2Loquacious
    +1
    I pass out a rubric for the composition papers (Comp 101) and then we do norming sessions for each paper assignment and then I have them grade their final papers as a part of their assignment. It takes a bit of work, but they finally get the concept down.

    Doesn't mean they try any harder but they understand why their papers aren't "A" papers instead of arguing with me about their grades when they get their papers back.

    I agree that reaching for mediocrity is sad.
  • icymore 2008/12/21 18:06:12
    Not silly, great idea. Leave a comment.
    icymore
    read about color psychology. I would use green.
  • 2Loquac... icymore 2008/12/22 02:08:05
    2Loquacious
    While I agree with you that color psychology does have its merit (clearly with fast food joints and such), but changing the color won't necessary change things. I think bad associations between whatever color is used will grow simply because its use.

    Believe me, I've had papers slaughtered in green and it really made no difference. I was still ticked I did such a poor job.
  • Mad Hatter love <3 2008/12/21 18:01:55
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    Mad Hatter love <3
    +5
    i really dont think the fact that the RED PEN has ANYTHING to do with students mental health. thats just stupid!
  • Snakehips 2008/12/21 17:43:54 (edited)
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    Snakehips
    +4
    One more example of society going soft, hence raising a new society of children who will grow up not understanding the concept of success and failure. It's no different then play ground equipment being converted from metal to soft plastic. In two years my son will start school and i will insist upon bold red marks on tests, daily work etc.
  • aka Snakehips 2008/12/21 18:46:46
    aka
    +4
    We are now homeschooling. My daughter kept coming home from school with high reports of how wonderful she was doing but she was actually not learning anything.
  • Manda aka 2008/12/22 01:27:32
    Manda
    that's how I was in school. I got good grades, but I rarely ever actually learned something. I begged my parents to homeschool me, but my dad works during the day and my mom didn't think she'd be able to do a better job than the school (which I know she could have)

    Everyone I know who is or was homeschooled are very smart. Most of them are bilingual (I'm so jealous!!) and my friend, who took spanish all 4 years in high school, and who is a smart person, can barely make complete sentences above a 2nd grade level.

    If and when I have kids one day, I WILL be homeschooling them, unless the public school system somehow miracously improves to what I think it should be.
  • aka Manda 2008/12/22 01:37:36
    aka
    +1
    My daughter was not happy about being home schooled at first because she liked to socialize -- which was all she did instead of learning. But she likes it now because she takes classes with other home-schoolers and she gets to learn things that she never got to learn about in school. And it's flexible we cover in three hours what school takes weeks to cover. If we could afford private school I would do that but we can't so my husband and I work opposite shifts and share the schooling duties.
  • ABCD1234 2008/12/21 15:37:54
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    ABCD1234
    +2
    That's stupid, a lot of people like red!
  • pearlthebarrister 2008/12/21 15:25:23
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    pearlthebarrister
    +5
    Red pens are not hazardous to your health. Unless you eat the ink.
  • aka pearlth... 2008/12/21 18:47:03
    aka
    +2
    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • dtpga 2008/12/21 15:10:34
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    dtpga
    +5
    If not, when someone has a problem with another color, where will it end....get over it.
  • TFTpwnsYou 2008/12/21 14:51:01
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    TFTpwnsYou
    +3
    Maybe if they used a red glittery pen it would make the "ya got that wrong" a little more pretty for them. :) I wish I could be a kid again now. They are finding ways to make it so much more easy on them.
  • Arron 2008/12/21 14:15:50
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    Arron
    +4
    omg...they ran entire ink factories out of red on my papers! Who cares? At least red lets you know you have a problem (mine was, errr...self induced).
  • braziliancoffee 2008/12/21 13:26:55
    Not silly, great idea. Leave a comment.
    braziliancoffee
    +1
    I am the director in an elementary Montessori school. I NEVER use a red pencil to mark a child's error. I also don't "X" an error. I point out a child's error by CIRCLING it with any other color but red. Then the child is given the opportunity to figure out what is wrong and correct it her/himself.

    Over the years, I have received students who have transferred from NYC public schools, where red "X's" were so de-humanizing and positive answers were not given in a positive way! The Red Marks simply said: "YOU ARE WRONG!!!"

    In our elementary Montessori school, we want the children to gain self-confidence and learn from their mistakes in a positive manner.
  • dtpga brazili... 2008/12/21 15:14:25
    dtpga
    +6
    Eventually, the other color will be associated with being "wrong". When those same kids grow up to be an adult and get something negative back from their employer it is going to be a huge deal. Teach self-confidence and responsibility at the same time. Prepare them for the future, don't delay the inevitable. The "red" is not the culprit.
  • Torchy brazili... 2008/12/21 17:42:38
    Torchy
    +3
    I have a lot of respect for Montessori Schools, but I still think this is just a big old joke. I would have to pose the question to you: When you were younger, in school, did it hurt you so much to see a red mark on the paper? What does it hurt to tell a student they're wrong when they're wrong?

    A red mark is not brow-beating a student over a mistake. It does not scream in anger "You idiot! You made a mistake!" And if a student really sees that, well, they have some other issues to work out. It's not negative or positive. It is red-pen on paper telling the student what they did and how to fix it, hopefully. It has already been said that if you use a different colour or style, Pavlovian theory says the students will eventually associate that colour or marking with error anyway, so really eliminating a red pen will do nothing. So please stop pandering these children and concentrate on things that really matter.
  • the_old... brazili... 2008/12/21 19:26:51
    the_old_coach
    +4
    Montessori school is one of the biggest culprits ever for "self-esteem" education. Sorry, but it's true. You propagate the same, old, tired Spock-conian theories of self-esteem. Lose a little: it builds character. You whining bleeding hearts do more damage than invaders to our country ever could. They should outlaw these schools.
  • Huey brazili... 2008/12/27 19:17:23
    Huey
    Thank you, because I almost considered sending my son to a Montessori school. What crap, in life there are times where we all will be wrong. You just want to coddle them and not make them feel as though they were wrong. A far greater lesson is to have them accept having been wrong and be accountable for changing it, as responsible adults do in life.
  • Torchy 2008/12/21 13:08:58 (edited)
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    Torchy
    +5
    How many of us were honestly harmed by a red pen when we were younger??? Seriously, sometimes I think these "teachers" and parents forget what it was like to be younger and how resiliant a child can be...if it didn't traumatize your psyche when you were younger, what makes you think it'll hurt your kids?

    In school, it didn't matter if it was a good or bad grade, they used red ink to distinguish between their marks and the student's answers.
  • TFTpwnsYou Torchy 2008/12/21 14:53:47
    TFTpwnsYou
    +4
    I was. I have nightmares to this day over it! All that red ink everywhere...nooooo!!!...lol.
  • Torchy TFTpwnsYou 2008/12/21 14:55:55
    Torchy
    +3


    *ominous chord!*
  • TFTpwnsYou Torchy 2008/12/21 15:04:47
    TFTpwnsYou
    +4
    LOL! I'm not sleeping tonight.
  • mac -Holding Fast 2008/12/21 11:23:29
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    mac -Holding Fast
    +2
    Nanny State....
  • Josh 2008/12/21 10:12:54
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    Josh
    +6
    Ridiculous. If your child is harmed by seeing red pen, he needs a damn spine. The only way a red pen could harm someone is if they were stabbed by it. Which needs to happen to these officials who dare even bring up something like this.
  • ShadowWatcher 2008/12/21 09:03:59
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    ShadowWatcher
    +4
    I know it said leave a comment, but to be honest this doesn't deserve a comment. "Silly" pretty much says it all.
  • Get crazy with the cheese-whiz 2008/12/21 08:31:03
    Yes, silly. Leave a comment.
    Get crazy with the cheese-whiz
    +2
    Some children need fucking discipline. If its by using a red mark, maybe that will help them to TRY HARDER next time.

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