Correcting with red ink can lead to a negative impact on a child’s mind, claims a recent study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology. In fact, it is soothing to have ticks and crosses on students’ homework or exam papers in milder shades like green, blue, yellow or even in pencil,
The study, which was conducted by a California-based psychology professor, states that red is usually associated with danger, and may leave a deep impact on children’s minds when used to point out their mistakes. Due to this, students may not feel motivated to do their best.
“Although I am used to seeing the markings in red, a soothing colour and encouraging remarks from my teacher will definitely help me perform better,” said Anurag Kadam, a Class 4 student of DPS School, Nerul.
In keeping with this idea, a few city schools have found suitable alternatives for the red ink. At the Podar Institution of Education, Santacruz, teachers use a blue pen to correct the students’ notebooks.
“Red makes it look like the student has made a big mistake. The idea is not to be so harsh on the child,” said Swati Popat Vats, president of the institute.
“Colour therapy really works on children so we avoid using red ink.”
Parents also feel that red is associated with negativity, and should be used less in schools. Rama Varma, whose daughter studies in a south Mumbai school, said, “We had discussed letting go of the colour with the principal, but teachers are so conditioned to it that it became difficult. The school continues with the tradition of using red ink to correct books and exam papers.”
However, there are some who differ. “A colour has to stand out so that the child can see his or her mistakes, therefore I do not see any problem with correcting in red ink,” said Subhi Matto, principal of Bal Bharati school, Kharghar. “Instead, care can be taken to not use harsh comments that may de-motivate the child.”