Purple, the New Red?!
Today’s Boston Globe reports that teachers are increasingly using purple to correct errors on students’ papers, a color they think as “[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”
I’ve heard this one before. Last year I took a training class for graduate students on how to teach undergraduates to be more effective writers. One of the first pieces of advice was NOT to use a red pen on papers. I ignored that advice. Why? My job is to teach better writing skills, not to make students with problems feel serenity. The shift to purple is another example of how we’re teaching students to feel good about themselves but not how to think or to write.
Long live red ink!