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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > Are You an Angry Red Pen??    

Are You an Angry Red Pen??


Are You an Angry Red Pen??
Hi eveyone there,
Recently I īve read the following:
Teachers have been advised that marking students ī work in red pen could harm their mental health.
A health expert reveals, "Don īt mark in a red pen (which can be seen as aggressive) - use a different colour."
I don īt know if this should be seriously taken. I feel like it īs not the colour  that could be detrimental to childrens ī well being rather than the way a teacher corrects. Some teachers scribble all over the kid īs paper which might be discouraging and depressing.
What do you think of this issue, dear teachers??? Shouldn īt we use the red pen for correction?? Could it be that aggressive???
Are you an Angry red pen ?? How do your students react when they see many corrections in red ???

25 Jul 2009      


Hello! I usually correct the papers using red, but I īve also heard about that theory. I don īt agree with it... It īs not a question of being angry, it īs just to draw attention to the mistakes. I sometimes use green or pink, but just for fun. Have a wonderful Summer everyone, I īve started my vacations today!!!!! Hugs from Portugal, Carla

25 Jul 2009     

manonski (f)

I rarely use red because I like changing colours.
Personally, I īm worried about the fact that it īs becoming more difficult to call it as I see it. I īm worried that when my students become adults, they will not have been confronted to frustration or failure. I īm not wishing them hard times on purpose but the fact that I have to tiptoe around learning difficulties or behavior problems bothers me.

25 Jul 2009     

Hong Kong

Red is the most shocking color to the human eye and therefore creates a nice contrast to the pencil or ink that the students write in.  Red is perceived differently in different cultures.To the Chinese it is a magical color.  Both Hong Kong and China have red in the flags.  I think it is ridiculous to say that using red ink reflects anger.  I tell my kids, "The less red ink you see the better you are doing." LOL 

25 Jul 2009     


Colour isn īt the factor I believe...it īs the way teachers mark it!!

I always use RED and never forget to give positive reinforcement!!! I mean you could always write something like "Good work", Well done, Lovely....kindda like that...

Another thing is that RED is used īUniversally ī by teachers worldwide.....

It īs my view....


25 Jul 2009     


Red is soooo last century...LOL
I use crimson, dark-orange or purple.
I do agree that red is aggressive, somehow makes students feel guilty - red is a very strong colour, red is the colour of danger signs, red is the colour of Don īt Cross traffic light, red is the colour of the ambulance cross...Ermm
I have adults and I wouldn īt want them to feel like back to primary school again...
Besides, I think that many mistakes are relative... Language is flexible, and I don īt want to supress the students ī creativity by marking in red colour.Thumbs Up

25 Jul 2009     


I work at a school that it is forbidden to correct using red. We must correct always in green!
I don īt agree much with that theory, in my country there īs an author that defends this theory, she īs called Jussara Hofman. I think it a little bit exagerated... there are worse things that shock our students, as for example their absent parents nowadays...

25 Jul 2009     

Czech Republic

I use red most of the time. Sometimes I use pink or purple as well. Once I talked about this with my students (11-15years old). They told me red pen is OK for them as it helps them to memorize the mistakes and next time they could beware of them.
I am still young (33) and I don īt think at all that red would be sooooo last century. Don īt be soooooooo negative, Lana. Wink

25 Jul 2009     


It is as a matter of fact the right thing to do - to ASK your students how they fell about the red colour. If they are all right, then go ahead.

I personally didn īt like red pen at school.

25 Jul 2009     


Hi everyone!

In my case, I īve seen teachers mark papers in a beautiful bright light blue pen, but being super aggresive at doing it... Marking errors that were not to be corrected at that level, endlessly circling wrong words, totally changing the student īs style, and writing in big letters phrases such as "WHAT?".

It is not in what colour you correct, it is how you correct!

I personally couldn īt care less what colour I use, but I do try to pay lots of attention to everything I mark, and specially to not discourage my students! 

Happy weekend everyone!


25 Jul 2009     

totya ( F )

Last year I lost my red pen for one day. I took a blue one instead.

What do you think my ( 16 - 17 ) years old students have done???
I entered that day 5 classes . All of them refused the blue pen and
offered me their red pens. Shocked 

25 Jul 2009     

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