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  1. #1
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Default Good Grief...Touchy Feely Teachers...

    And I'm not talking about those in the news recently for inappropriate relationships

    Harshness of red marks has students seeing purple
    By Naomi Aoki, Globe Staff | August 23, 2004

    When it comes to correcting papers and grading tests, purple is emerging as the new red.

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    "If you see a whole paper of red, it looks pretty frightening," said Sharon Carlson, a health and physical education teacher at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Northampton. "Purple stands out, but it doesn't look as scary as red."

    That's the cue pen makers and office supply superstores say they have gotten from teachers 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, a color they perceive as "friendlier" than red.

    As a result, Paper Mate introduced purple to its assortment of blue, red, and green X-Tend pens and increased distribution of existing purple pens this school year. Barry Calpino, Paper Mate's vice president and general manager, estimated that the Bellwood, Ill., company boosted production of purple pens by at least 10 percent. He said purple will now be a standard color in all its new product lines.

    Office superstores such as Staples and OfficeMax also are making a splash with purple pens, stocking more of them, adding purple to multicolor packs, and selling all-purple packs. By comparison, Staples did not stock any exclusively purple pen packs last year and it hardly had any purple pens in its stores two years ago, said Robert George, the Framingham chain's senior vice president of general merchandise. Now, he said, sales of purple pens are growing at a faster clip than pen sales overall.

    A mix of red and blue, the color purple embodies red's sense of authority but also blue's association with serenity, making it a less negative and more constructive color for correcting student papers, color psychologists said. Purple calls attention to itself without being too aggressive. And because the color is linked to creativity and royalty, it is also more encouraging to students.

    "The concept of purple as a replacement for red is a pretty good idea," said Leatrice Eiseman, director of the Pantone Color Institute in Carlstadt, N.J., and author of five books on color. "You soften the blow of red. Red is a bit over-the-top in its aggression."

    For office supply stores, color and fashion trends spell opportunity and risk. The trends allow them to freshen up staid old categories such as pens and markers, fueling sales. But getting a trend wrong -- betting on purple pens when teachers and students are buying green, for example -- can cost them sales during a critical retail period.

    Red's legacy as the color used in correcting papers and marking mistakes goes back to the 1700s, the era of the quill pen. In those days, red ink was used by clerks and accountants to correct ledgers. From there, it found its way into teachers' hands. Continued...

    Harshness of red marks has students seeing purple
    August 23, 2004

    Page 2 of 2 -- But two or three decades ago, an anti-red sentiment began surfacing among teachers. Since then, no one color had emerged as red's replacement.

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    Is purple here to stay?

    "I do not use red," said Robin Slipakoff, who teaches second and third grades at Mirror Lake Elementary School in Plantation, Fla. "Red has a negative connotation, and we want to promote self-confidence. I like purple. I use purple a lot."

    Sheila Hanley, who teaches reading and writing to first- and second-graders at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Randolph, said: "Red is definitely a no-no. But I don't know if purple is in."

    Hanley said a growing contingent of her colleagues is using purple. They prefer it to green and yellow because it provides more contrast to the black or blue ink students are asked to write in. And they prefer it to orange, which they think is too similar to red.

    But aside from avoiding red, Hanley said she is not sure color matters much. At times, she uses sticky notes rather than writing on a child's paper. What's important, she said, is to focus on how an assignment can be improved rather than on what is wrong with it, she said.

    Ruslan Nedoruban, who is entering seventh grade at his Belmont school, said red markings on his papers make him feel "uncomfortable."

    His mother, Victoria Nedoruban, who is taking classes to improve her English, said she thinks papers should be corrected in red.

    "I hate red," she said. "But because I hate it, I want to work harder to make sure there isn't any red on my papers."

    Red has other defenders. California high-school teacher Carol Jago, who has been working with students for more than 30 years, said she has no plans to stop using red. She said her students do not seem psychologically scarred by how she wields her pen. And if her students are mixing up "their," "there," and "they're," she wants to shock them into fixing the mistake.

    "We need to be honest and forthright with students," Jago said. "Red is honest, direct, and to the point. I'm sending the message, 'I care about you enough to care how you present yourself to the outside world.' "

    Naomi Aoki can be reached at naoki@globe.com.

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    LOL! Yep, that's education all right! This is my 24th year as a teacher, and I have seen so many fads and trends that I couldn't even begin to count. It does get a bit 'touchy feely' at times. As for grading with purple vs. red pens, I generally use red unless I'm in a waiting room or something and have forgotten my red pen.

    The philosophy behind everything in education these days is to soften the blow of anything negative, so if you're grading a paper and it has a lot of mistakes, it's less traumatic for the students to not see so much red. We had a principal a couple of years ago who would get real upset if we "singled out" students who were misbehaving in class (it's allegedly humiliating). Instead of saying, "Joey, I have told you twice already today to stop talking," you need to say, "I want everyone to remember to be quiet." Therefore, innocent (ha) Joey isn't subjected to any discomfort. You really aren't supposed to use the word 'don't.' Everything needs to be POSITIVE.

    IMO, my job is to educate students and also to teach them to take responsibility for their actions. If they're doing well, I reward them. If they screw up, they hear about it (how else can they improve). I really don't think their psyches are quite as fragile as the PHD's think.

    (steps off soapbox)

  3. #3
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Just make sure it has a purple stripe on the side, CB...

    Wouldn't want any of that aggressive Red color to get them agitated or that almost-as-bad Orange...
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    The philosophy behind everything in education these days is to soften the blow of anything negative...
    Kent, with your years of experiance, how can this be a good thing? I hate to be a curmudgeon, but life is exactly easy. No wonder the PC crowd folds up like Superman's cape on wash day if things aren't perfect!
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    Originally posted by SPFDRum

    Kent, with your years of experiance, how can this be a good thing? I hate to be a curmudgeon, but life is exactly easy. No wonder the PC crowd folds up like Superman's cape on wash day if things aren't perfect!
    Oh, I totally agree with you. Everything can't be positive. When we teach in this way, it gives kids a totally stilted view of life. I always liken it to what would happen if the police only rewarded drivers for their "good" driving habits and completely ignored speeding, reckless operation, drunk driving, etc. There's a significant amount of learning that takes place from negative experiences, and it tends to be learning that we remember for a long time. When we candy-coat things too much, kids don't have to face the consequences of their behavior, which is a dangerous thing, as you know.

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    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Perhaps if they wrote "YOU ARE AN IDIOT" on the top of the paper and hung it on the wall, it would persuade students to do better? I wish they did that when I was in high school. Probably would have done a lot better in classes other than shop, electronics, TV Production, Broadcast Media, and Free.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Originally posted by nmfire
    Perhaps if they wrote "YOU ARE AN IDIOT" on the top of the paper and hung it on the wall, it would persuade students to do better? I wish they did that when I was in high school. Probably would have done a lot better in classes other than shop, electronics, TV Production, Broadcast Media, and Free.
    LOL! Jeez, nmfire, that's a little harsh! You couldn't have been that bad of a student-you seem to express yourself well. I wasn't exactly a member of the National Honor Society myself in high school. (-:

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    They are doing all kinds of goofy stuff in schools now........


    Mind you, I've only been out of High School for 10 years, and out of College for 4, but I've heard some goofy stories from my friends and their children.

    One of the things is this "new math". Don't even ask me to explain it, because I have no clue. All I know is that instead of teaching the kids multiplication and division tables, they use this "new math". I have one friend who's wife is a teacher and she refuses to teach this new math because if they do, no parents are going to know how to help their kids with the homework.

    I did just think of something, though.........

    Maybe I can sue my school district for all of the red ink I saw when I was in school. It scarred me......... Now, gimme your money.....

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    This countries education is going down the tubes. Who cares what color it is, why are we wasting money to see what color children respond to when it could be spent buying school supplies, books, teachers to actualy teach the students. They are treating kids these days like babies, when I was in elementary school, you werent given any slack, you did your work and you learned. Whats next "Study shows that tests are intemidating (cant spell), group recomends no more testing"
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    BWAHAHAHAHA!!

    I think the big problem with education is that it is VERY VERY liberal. A lot of what I have learned so far in HS is that convservative people are bad, very bad.
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    What they are doing in the schools is affecting many other areas. Such as obeying the laws.


    It is the same way with the traffic laws, I knew a kid (went to same HS) that had alot of speeding tickets, he was doing 90 in a 55 once, paid a lot and got it knocked down to a parking ticket. Finaly he got in a big wreck, no more car (I laughed my arse off when I heard the news)If the state did what is was supose to do, the streets would be alittle bit better. When I get a ticket I wont go crying home to mommy and daddy and pay alot to get it wiped off my record. I will face what I did and pay the fines and do the time. It makes me sick seing what somepeople get away with these days. The thing about it is that in my area, you are BY LAW allowed only ONE doubble pay to get the ticked knocked down, but I see somany people doing it time and time agian, and bragging about it. If I were there parents, the battery would be taken out of the car and keys locked in a safe. ITS TIME FOR PEOPLE TO TAKE FRIGIN RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR ACTIONS. And I dont have any sympathy for anyone who runs a redlight, stopsight, yeild sign, speeds excessively. And anyone who hits me and does not have insurance, I will take everything you own to recover my damages. My sayings is "you either broke the law or you didnt" It isnt "I was speeding, but it was not my fault, im stupid" I also get so angry when people B**** and moan about getting dui's and tickets, its not the cops fault. Its your DumbA** Friggen fault, live with it and take you head out of your arse. I swear some people have their heads so far up their arses, they are one huge donut.

    I am finished ranting / venting.
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    The light at the end of the tunnel has been temporarly shut off due to the current work load. The Mangement

    When all else fails USE DUCT-TAPE!!!

    My views posted in this fourm are my personal views only and do not reflect on any agencies that I am afiliated with.

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    Just as in many facets of life, one needs to exercise moderation. I do not believe it is appropriate to publically ridicule a student who does poorly. I do not believe it is appropriate to publically praise a student who does well, either. Ridiculing a student who does poorly may cause the student to withdraw completely, give up, and continue to do poorly.

    Educational methodology will continue to evolve as society evolves. Teaching today’s students using the teaching techniques of the 1800's or early 1900's can only have disastrous results. I suspect kentbwj does not use the same equipment, techniques, and methods he used 24 years ago. The educational gurus will continually research the educational process. Some theories will be valid and be incorporated into the mainstream educational system. Others will fall out. I, personally, am not thrilled with the “purple” issue, but I do not see substantial harm being done, either.

    As for CaptainMikey, it seems you were granted a considerable amount of “slack”. You say you “learned” and then in the next sentence you admit you “can’t spell”. Your assignment is to rewrite both of your responses and correct the grammar, syntax, spelling, and punctuation errors (HINT: an apostrophe is a requirement of a contraction). As written, your responses exemplify what is wrong with the educational system. You would see a lot of “purple” if your responses were submitted as a school assignment. I sincerely hope you take this as a challenge to do better. I am well aware there are others on these forums who are worse, but let’s deal with them later. I am not suggesting that every post be absolutely perfect (remember: everything in moderation). I am suggesting that many posts could be substantially better.

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    When I rant, My grammar goes a little bit out the window, and yes there are words that I sometimes just dont know how to spell and I just dont feel like getting a dictionary.That is who I am. If I were working on my firehistory midterm, I would spell/grammar check it to death. Plus I know what I can do and what I am capable of.


    I do agree that it is bad to ridicule bad students and raise up good ones. Everyone on this darn planet is equal. But the whole color of the pens, that is just wasting time and money.
    When I did a asst. teaching internship (for a college class, for a whole month) (3rd grade-science). I gave each child a large interoffice type envelope, at the start of each day, they would bring it up, their assignments would go in the folder and they would be the only ones to se it (they were not allowed to open it until they got home).
    FF I
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    ---------------------------------------------------

    The light at the end of the tunnel has been temporarly shut off due to the current work load. The Mangement

    When all else fails USE DUCT-TAPE!!!

    My views posted in this fourm are my personal views only and do not reflect on any agencies that I am afiliated with.

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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by FireH2O
    [B]Just as in many facets of life, one needs to exercise moderation. I do not believe it is appropriate to publically ridicule a student who does poorly. I do not believe it is appropriate to publically praise a student who does well, either. Ridiculing a student who does poorly may cause the student to withdraw completely, give up, and continue to do poorly.

    Educational methodology will continue to evolve as society evolves. Teaching today’s students using the teaching techniques of the 1800's or early 1900's can only have disastrous results. I suspect kentbwj does not use the same equipment, techniques, and methods he used 24 years ago. The educational gurus will continually research the educational process. Some theories will be valid and be incorporated into the mainstream educational system. Others will fall out. I, personally, am not thrilled with the “purple” issue, but I do not see substantial harm being done, either.


    I don't believe in publicly humiliating kids either, but I don't have a problem with correcting them in front of their peers if they've done something wrong. I think public praise is good as well, but only if you praise students for a variety of accomplishments, not just academic. I don't go overboard. It has to be genuine, but if the situation warrants it, why not? I know when my boss compliments me on a job well done, it really feels great.

    I started teaching 24 years ago, and I change things every year. I keep what works, and I'll also try some new things. I won't try it just because it's the current fad, though. It has to make sense and have some value.

    BTW, I'm a female. I went to Kent State University, plus my husband's name is Kent.

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    Forum Member EastKyFF's Avatar
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    Hey, kentbwj, I like that theory--everything positive, no use of "don't"--can't you see how that would go in some extreme situations? Isn't it nice not to call down children who are disruptive and instead to say things like...

    "Remember, class, we study at school and fire our weapons after school."

    "Students, let's only inject substances into our arms that have been prescribed by a fairly legitimate physician."

    "Boys and girls, our home economics room is a robbery-free zone."

    "Let's remember that sometimes we have dramatic ways of expressing anger. Now everyone stand back while John backs his car out of the classroom."

    "Our pit bulls are good companions, aren't they? But maybe Sawtooth would be happier at home all day."

    "I do appreciate the unique view afforded by your suspending me from the ceiling with piano wires, but let's do gymnastics later."

    "We can't teach you abstinence, but we do encourage it during class."

    My wife teaches, too. Thank God it's Kindergarten; she only has to deal with a few of these.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
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