Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)
- TITLE: The Perilous Power of the Red Pen
By Melanie Kerr
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Was first to implement the rule
That ticks and crosses, comments made
The use of red ink should evade
Teachers must show great respect
When pupil’s work they oft’ correct
Soothing shades of blue or green
Upon the pages should be seen
Every single spelling error
In every child induces terror
When it’s scribed in bright red ink
It makes the child inclined to think
“Must improve” “Not good enough”
Or some such sad and gloomy stuff
Demoralised, with drooping head
They falter on the road ahead
Marks in red are seldom kind
They stamp upon the fragile mind
Red ink is demotivating
Gentle green is more sedating
But green might soon the new red be
A danger that we must forsee
It makes no difference, red or green
If umpteen crosses can be seen
Let’s promptly praise the things done right
Not merely hammer every blight
And stem the urge to cotton rap!
It’s just as much a hidden trap
Is this just teaching going wrong?
In classrooms do red pens belong?
A balanced path we tread with care
This path of learning that we share
Author’s Note - Hundreds of schools have banned teachers marking in red ink because it is felt to be too distressing for pupils.
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