Thursday, December 11, 2008

Experts see red in teachers' pen

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SYDNEY -- Red is the color of happiness, prosperity and good luck in China and may be used to attract good luck. But the color could be harming students' psyche when teachers use red pen to mark their work, according to education strategies drafted by an Australian provincial government.

The "Good Mental Health Rocks" kit, distributed this month to about 30 schools in Queensland province, offers strategies such as "don't mark in red pen (which can be seen as aggressive) - use a different color."

Other tips include structuring time for peer tutoring every day, apologizing to students when necessary and asking them to conduct a "personal skills audit" in which they focus on their individual strengths rather than their weaknesses.

The kit, designed to help Queensland teachers address mental health in the classroom, suggests social and emotional well-being is linked to young people's schooling, among other things.

The education aid has sparked a row in parliament, with deputy opposition leader Mark McArdle calling it "kooky, loony, loopy lefty policies".

But Health Minister Stephen Robertson, whose department devised the kit, said youth suicide was a serious issue.

"If mental health professionals determine that as one of a number of strategies teachers should consider, then I'll support them every day of the week," he told reporters recently. "This is not a matter for ridicule, this is serious."

According to some Australian mental health groups, the largest number of people with mental illness are aged between 18 and 24 years, with 14 percent of Australian children and adolescents suffering from some sort of illness or the other.

Taken From : China Daily

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