When Marking Be Positive.
Throw Away Your Red Pencil!!



Historically, the red pencil has been used to scold, condemn, and call attention to weaknesses and mistakes of students.


Marking in red clearly indicates to many students that they haven't measured up and there's the mistake - when it comes to helping students achieve children/people are motivated by success, not failure.

You, as a teacher, need to throw away your red pen/pencil/marker and all that goes with it. You will discover that this will prove to be the biggest motivator.

Remember that criticism seldom proves to be a good motivator and can actually hurt a person. It may discourage students' interest in school and their work. We enjoy what we do well and avoid what we don't.

If we are not encouraged in the correct way, we may not even try to improve our weaknesses.

Do you realize that children are in the most competitive situation, school. They compete for grades, attention, recognition and achievement.

I'm sure the students in your class resign themselves that being successful isn't possible. And, marking in red, is a glaring, colourful announcement of their failure.

In schools, there are labels, groupings, preferred status and students are aware of these realities. They see that another red mark against their name is not great.

Again, throw away your red pencil, stop circling all the mistakes and writing bold criticisms across students' papers/notebooks.

Rather, check or write how many answers were correct, focus on the positive. Remind students how much they have grown, how far they have come, and what they are capable of achieving. What a difference, you will find.

Commit yourself to marking your students on the basis of their individual abilities.

We can cheer for our sports teams. When they are not doing well, we try to be supportive and boost their spirits. However, as teachers, we have trouble cheering up our students. For example, if they get a "C" after an "F", we quickly remind them that their average is a "D". If we don't focus on and commend improvements, we will have trouble motivating them in our classroom.

Continually think of ways to praise your kids. With encouragement, they can go from doing poorly one day to doing better the next day.

Edison, Churchill and Einstein were "failures" in school. Perhaps, if they had had teachers with positive and encouraging attitudes and didn't use that darn red pencil, their experiences in school may have been quite different.

You want to focus on what is done right, because in this way, you will definitely see improvement as the weeks progress. Remember, be positive, you don't want to miss the real fun and reward of being a teacher.

"It is much easier to be critical than to be correct". Benjamin Disraeli.



Return from " Red Pencil" page to "Home" page

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Search Priceless Teaching Strategies