‘Hue’ knew that red is too stressful

By Staff Writer
April 28, 2005

Since grade school to high school and now even college, I’ve been getting term papers and tests back that have been marked with comments in red pen. A recent news story in the San Diego Union-Tribune, talks about how red ink is “too stressful” for students and that purple ink should be used because it has a more “calming effect.”

When my roommate told me about this article, I couldn’t believe it. I thought that it was a joke and then I realized that it wasn’t. The teachers at the elementary school that this is going on at are saying that red ink stands out more and is saying, “Look what you did wrong.” Now correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t that why teachers mark up papers? Not only are they pointing out corrections that possibly have to be made, but they’re also offering positive feedback about that particular paper or showing the corrections on a test.

I understand that the color red can say danger stop, but what I think is even more amusing about this whole red ink scandal, is that the pen companies, like Paper Mate are producing more purple pens because of the high demand. Now if red pens are stressful does that mean that a teacher can’t wear red in their outfit or a student couldn’t wear a red baseball cap? And what is there to say if maybe the color purple is more stressful to one student compared to another student in the class. Teachers use red pens because it had to stand out from the students writing which is in blue or black ink.

I understand that some students might see a lot of red on their term paper and be surprised to see all the markings but I don’t think the color should be the end all of this. I know that teachers are trying to help students with the revising process and might feel that the color red might be sending a negative message, but if the teacher is there and offers positive feedback too on top of corrections then what’s wrong with that? Even if teachers were to switch to using purple all of the time instead of red, years from now students will get sick of the color purple and then they’ll be picking a new color to use. I feel that as a student that the grading systems and the feedback that I get are more important then what color the teacher wrote on my paper in.

Throughout the years in school, students are going to become more stressed because they’re going to have bigger workloads and other activities on top of that. So how is changing the color of a pen going to do anything? Try doing two term papers, study for a test, do a newspaper layout and do a radio show all at the same time. Now if that isn’t stressful, I don’t know how much more stressful the color red can be.

Posted to the web by Chris Gentile

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Staff Writer

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