The first mention of the “green pen method” was in Amonashvili’s book “Zdravstvuite, deti!” (Hello, children!), published in 1983, USSR. Later on, the blogger Tatiana Ivanko began to incorporate this method and published her own article about it (although her blog no longer exists). This article became immensely popular within the Russian-speaking online community. At EMC, we also love the green pen method and strive to follow the same principles of education and upbringing.
What is the Green Pen Method?
What colors do you find when you open your child’s notebook? Our guess is you’ll see red! Unfortunately, it’s a common practice for conventional teachers to use red pens to mark their students’ mistakes. This can lead to a notebook full of red circles, cross-outs, underlinings, etc. It’s no wonder that students may become unmotivated and want to quit the subjects they struggle with.
However, with the green pen method, we mark the answers that we are most impressed by. We mark their accomplishments. So, instead of our students dreading opening their notebooks just to see a bunch of marked mistakes, they are always looking forward to opening their notebooks and seeing what they were best at!
The green pen method promotes positive emotions in children. Furthermore, it gives them the motivation to keep trying their best. Most importantly, this kind of positive feedback from teachers and parents naturally encourages children to keep learning by their own free will.
What are the Biggest Differences Between the Red and Green Pen Methods?
The red pen method focuses on mistakes. So what will kids naturally remember? — Everything they got wrong! Whether it be the wrong number at the end of a math problem, a mistake in their grammar, or anything else.
Try it for yourself. Take a quick glance at any work with red marks. Now, try to see what you remember seeing. That’s right! Chances are, you only remember all the mistakes.
How Does Marking the Students’ Mistakes with a Red Pen Influence Their Life?
The answer is quite simple. We grow that which we focus on. What we set our mind on and our intentions on gradually becomes bigger. That’s why we should be really careful about what we underline in life — both in our lives and in the lives of our children and students.
The Green Pen Method is Not About Ignoring Mistakes
When you switch to the green pen method, you’ll notice that even without pointing out the mistakes to your students, gradually, the errors begin to disappear. That’s because the student is now striving to answer everything correctly and get some green marks, all by their own free will!