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  #1  
Old 06-10-2013, 04:39 PM
R3d Anonymous R3d Anonymous is offline
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Why are children in elementary school required to use pencil instead of pen?

I have noticed that as you get older, you start using pen more. In fact, I almost always see adults writing in pen. That's what you guys sign with, that's what you do paperwork with, and even just in general writing, that's what I see more commonly used. Now, I am not sure of this as I am still young, but at least that's what it appears to be. It seems to be the more professional/formal option and more easily red while pencil can get kind of faded out and hard to read easily. I could see elementary school teachers requiring the use of pencil for mathematics, but aside from that subject, I have never really understood why using pens is looked down upon in elementary school.

The pen does have one disadvantage being that you can't erase, but the obvious solution is just to cross out. That's what I do (I am a pen user for all my classes, even mathematics). I mean, sure it's not the neatest way to do things, but it's not like people will be writing drastically neater with pencils. The only advantage of using pencil is the ability to erase. But it seems that the advantages of writing in pen outweigh its disadvantage, except for mathematics.

I am actually not certain on all of this. This is merely just my guess on things and I am trying to ask if there's really a specific reason elementary school teachers really look down on children using pens. So please correct any misconceptions I may have on this and fight the ignorance.
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  #2  
Old 06-10-2013, 04:43 PM
Infovore Infovore is offline
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Well, it's harder for them to write on each other and all over their clothes with pencils...
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  #3  
Old 06-10-2013, 04:50 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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It's easier to learn writing and get good control and letter formation with a pencil than a pen because it's slower and got more friction - more drag from the "lead" than a ball point. And the, what is it, a hexagon? shape is easier for small fingers to get a grip on without it turning in their fingers.

My daughter's writing is pretty good with a pencil, but at 8, she's just starting to get the fine motor control to write with a pen.

Also, do you remember "exploded" pens? I've never had it happen to me as an adult, but whatever the heck kids do with pens seems to promote 'splosions. Not fun to clean up in the classroom!
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  #4  
Old 06-10-2013, 04:53 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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So they can correct their mistakes and learn from them, rather than say "fuck it" and move on like an adult.
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  #5  
Old 06-10-2013, 04:54 PM
TheChileanBlob TheChileanBlob is online now
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You can erase pencil. Your teacher doesn't want to have to wade through a bunch of cross-outs. In addition to math, reading, and whatever, the kids are learning how to present their work in a neat and readable fashion.
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  #6  
Old 06-10-2013, 05:16 PM
sweat209 sweat209 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anonymous User View Post
I have noticed that as you get older, you start using pen more. In fact, I almost always see adults writing in pen. That's what you guys sign with, that's what you do paperwork with, and even just in general writing, that's what I see more commonly used. Now, I am not sure of this as I am still young, but at least that's what it appears to be. It seems to be the more professional/formal option and more easily red while pencil can get kind of faded out and hard to read easily. I could see elementary school teachers requiring the use of pencil for mathematics, but aside from that subject, I have never really understood why using pens is looked down upon in elementary school.

The pen does have one disadvantage being that you can't erase, but the obvious solution is just to cross out. That's what I do (I am a pen user for all my classes, even mathematics). I mean, sure it's not the neatest way to do things, but it's not like people will be writing drastically neater with pencils. The only advantage of using pencil is the ability to erase. But it seems that the advantages of writing in pen outweigh its disadvantage, except for mathematics.

I am actually not certain on all of this. This is merely just my guess on things and I am trying to ask if there's really a specific reason elementary school teachers really look down on children using pens. So please correct any misconceptions I may have on this and fight the ignorance.
It is because it is well free !!! In high school I had to go to the store and buy my own pen !! When you get older you don't get things for free anymore .


With school cut backs even if you a kid I'm sure it will not be long to it not free anymore .

But the future is tablet computer but problem now is tablet computers are too costly for school unless you go to private school they make more use tablet computers and laptops .

When the price comes down in the future you see more schools make use of this.
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  #7  
Old 06-10-2013, 06:05 PM
tellyworth tellyworth is offline
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A ballpoint pen requires constant pressure for it to work - more than you'd think. A soft pencil needs much less.
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  #8  
Old 06-10-2013, 06:07 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anonymous User View Post
I am trying to ask if there's really a specific reason elementary school teachers really look down on children using pens.
Because the children are so short.

Looking formal/professional, and being long-lasting, aren't exactly high priorities for most of the work that gets done in elementary school.

In addition to the fact that a pencil may be easier for a little kid to learn how to use and control (see WhyNot's post), I'll WAG that a little kid with a pen (at least in the case of some kids) is a hazard to school books, furniture, clothes, etc.

There may also be an element of tradition involved. If I understand correctly, it wasn't until the 1960s that ballpoint pens became available at a price and quality level that would have made them accessible to children. Before then, writing in pen would have meant using a quill or fountain pen, which was a lot harder to learn how to write with than a pencil: See this "Peanuts" from 1958.
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  #9  
Old 06-10-2013, 07:41 PM
even sven even sven is offline
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For math, you really need a pencil.
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  #10  
Old 06-10-2013, 07:50 PM
monstro monstro is offline
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You make a ton of mistakes when you're learning the very basics of writing.

Cross-outs work when you don't have a lot of errors. But the average kid makes a ton of them. It doesn't take too many cross-outs to make for an illegible mess. Teachers don't get paid enough as it is.
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  #11  
Old 06-10-2013, 08:24 PM
Shakes Shakes is online now
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I have this weird aversion to pencils.

The sound of pencil on paper, is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

I remember when I was a youngster; I had to plead my case to the teacher. Most of them were cool with it.

I thanked my lucky stars when Erasermates came out.


(Heh, I just gave myself goosebumps thinking about it.)

Last edited by Shakes; 06-10-2013 at 08:25 PM..
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  #12  
Old 06-10-2013, 08:29 PM
Llama Llogophile Llama Llogophile is offline
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From a classroom management perspective, pens have two big drawbacks - clickers or caps.

Click pens are irresistible to kids as noisemakers. Pen caps get quickly lost or swallowed.
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  #13  
Old 06-10-2013, 08:34 PM
sinjin sinjin is offline
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I'm 58 and I still prefer a pencil, then again I've been an engineer for years
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  #14  
Old 06-10-2013, 08:39 PM
Aspidistra Aspidistra is offline
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At my kids' school, they don't erase their (pencil) mistakes - they cross them out. So that's actually not a factor.

However, they do use the superior quality of a pen's output as a great motivator. The little kids write in pencil. Once you're a good enough writer you get a "pen license". You've achieved! You're practically a grown-up now!

I suspect that, for ease of writing, probably the best thing to get started on would be a nice chunky felt-tip pen. But that would be just WAY too attractive. You'd never get them onto biros after that.
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  #15  
Old 06-10-2013, 09:00 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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I'm left handed. It's much easier to wash the graphite stain caused by dragging my hand across the line I just wrote than it is to wash an ink stain.
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  #16  
Old 06-10-2013, 09:29 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llama Llogophile View Post
From a classroom management perspective, pens have two big drawbacks - clickers or caps.

Click pens are irresistible to kids as noisemakers. Pen caps get quickly lost or swallowed.
When I was in junior high school, we figured out how to take a click-pen apart and reassemble it into a little "gun".
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  #17  
Old 06-11-2013, 03:05 PM
Nava Nava is offline
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Every time my nephew makes a mistake in his writing exercises, his parents (who can be absolute morons sometimes) make him erase the whole line and write it again.

While that's exaggerated and stupid, specially for a kid who's constantly being told he's too slow, the exercises are performed on the pre-printed exercise book itself; for kids his age (he's in second grade), it's more common to see books where every line has been partially erased at least once than pristine ones.

Also, ink stains on clothing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
Also, do you remember "exploded" pens? I've never had it happen to me as an adult, but whatever the heck kids do with pens seems to promote 'splosions. Not fun to clean up in the classroom!
For Bics it's a matter of sucking on the rear end rather than nibbling or licking it.

Last edited by Nava; 06-11-2013 at 03:08 PM..
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  #18  
Old 06-11-2013, 03:21 PM
Dogzilla Dogzilla is offline
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I still use a pencil to write down my deadline schedule. The damn thing changes so much, my calendar would be a complete mess if I wrote things down in pen. I have to have it weapons-grade sharp, however. One use for five minutes and I have to go sharpen it. I was a big fan of mechanical pencils in high school for that reason. I would get the smallest, finest point lead I could find.
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  #19  
Old 06-11-2013, 04:44 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
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I had different grade school teachers say you are not to use pens, because pencil erases easily. You will use pen when you're in the higher grades. In the higher grades if you used pen you still had to erase the mistakes and if you erased a hole in the paper you had to recopy your work on a new paper. The papers had to be professional like you were expected to do for your future employer.
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  #20  
Old 06-11-2013, 05:00 PM
Scougs Scougs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
For Bics it's a matter of sucking on the rear end rather than nibbling or licking it.
That's what he said.

Sorry.
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  #21  
Old 06-11-2013, 05:10 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
There may also be an element of tradition involved. If I understand correctly, it wasn't until the 1960s that ballpoint pens became available at a price and quality level that would have made them accessible to children. Before then, writing in pen would have meant using a quill or fountain pen, which was a lot harder to learn how to write with than a pencil: See this "Peanuts" from 1958.
I asked my mom about this (high school from 1958-1962; I think she started school in 1950), and she said that, yes, they mostly used pencils in school, but ballpoint pens were definitely available and not uncommon. The only time she used a fountain pen was at home, and that was just playing with an old one to try it out. She grew up in a tiny rural town and had a frequently out-of-work father (he was a chronic alcoholic), so it wasn't like she had more resources to work with, either.
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  #22  
Old 06-11-2013, 05:29 PM
friedo friedo is offline
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Pencils are better for sticking in your ear.
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  #23  
Old 06-11-2013, 05:58 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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newfangled number 2 pencils. we had chalk with a slate (with round corners).

yeah eraser, more friction so less slippage, makes a mark less dependent on good control.
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  #24  
Old 06-11-2013, 06:15 PM
Grumman Grumman is online now
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Originally Posted by Anonymous User View Post
The only advantage of using pencil is the ability to erase.
I've gone back to using pencil for a different reason: they work. Maybe it's the weather, but in the past I've gone through half a dozen pens before finding one that actually works.
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  #25  
Old 06-11-2013, 08:20 PM
chewsick chewsick is offline
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Every college math professor/instructor up through maybe Calc IV or Advanced Calc reminded students either verbally or in the syllabus to use pencil, not pen for everything. Homework, tests, whatever. After that in math it was supposed to be understood, I guess.

I think pen looks ugly to people who have to grade things with a bunch of error/corrections in one-color ink.

FWIW I had the same complaint one of my first music theory classes in 7th grade -- "My boy, I use a pen for a crossword..." Very avuncular -- can't remember what his wind-up was, but basically don't use pen for writing scores until it's ready to be inked.

Since music when I was a boy and college math (through basic Real Analysis, anyway), the pencil is far greater than a pen.

Elem teachers might have had similar training, or they're just sick of looking at smudged ink with unclear indications of what's the "real" answer and what's not.

Hate those big fat kid pencils though -- give me 0.5mm every time. Failing that, without my nice brass sharpener and a few of my favorite no2, I'll take a gross of golf pencils everytime. Bic, disposable, 0.5. And lots of them.
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  #26  
Old 06-12-2013, 01:56 AM
Steener122 Steener122 is offline
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I didnt read all the responses. I just wanted to say that I'm surprised things are still like that. I remember being a kid in 2nd grade (1992 I think) and I got a Christmas themed ink pen that was also a necklace, I thought it was pretty cool.
I got in trouble for using it on my worksheets at school. I'd totally forgotten that memory.
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  #27  
Old 06-12-2013, 01:25 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
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Originally Posted by even sven View Post
For math, you really need a pencil.
Eh, not really. Some people are happier that way, but I greatly prefer pens. I did all my math and computer science homework and tests in college in pen.

If pencil could actually be 100% erased, I might agree with you. But erasing always leaves some remnants, and sometimes chews up the paper. A simple line through a mistake is cleaner in my opinion. And if you make a bunch of errors, then toss the page and start over.
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  #28  
Old 06-12-2013, 01:27 PM
GrandWino GrandWino is offline
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Remember those "erasable" ballpoint pens? What a cluster fuck they were.
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  #29  
Old 06-12-2013, 02:20 PM
Disheavel Disheavel is offline
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Originally Posted by TheChileanBlob View Post
You can erase pencil. Your teacher doesn't want to have to wade through a bunch of cross-outs. In addition to math, reading, and whatever, the kids are learning how to present their work in a neat and readable fashion.
I so incredibly disagree with you. Erasing is the worst concept to introduce to kids. They can't learn from their mistakes if they can no longer see them. They should never erase- it wastes time and doesn't ever appear "neat". Simply cross out the word and write it again- paper isn't expensive. Presentation should come after they master writing-- not simultaneously. (I'm sorry but this is one of the most frustrating things about school that I have encountered as a parent.) To put it as an analogy, did you learn to type first or did you just start writing code/novels? How about bicycling: did those cars stay 3 feet away while you were going down Main Street while you had your training wheels on? How many of your finger paintings are now in the Louvre? okay the last is a stretch, but they all demonstrate a logical process before you worry about "presentation" and in all cases legibility and communication need come first.
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  #30  
Old 06-12-2013, 02:23 PM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
Eh, not really. Some people are happier that way, but I greatly prefer pens. I did all my math and computer science homework and tests in college in pen.

If pencil could actually be 100% erased, I might agree with you. But erasing always leaves some remnants, and sometimes chews up the paper. A simple line through a mistake is cleaner in my opinion. And if you make a bunch of errors, then toss the page and start over.
Once we started using pen, we also started using something called papel de sucio, "rough-work paper". You ran any calculations that you didn't need to show on that one.
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  #31  
Old 06-12-2013, 04:02 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
Once we started using pen, we also started using something called papel de sucio, "rough-work paper". You ran any calculations that you didn't need to show on that one.
We call that "scratch paper" in American English.
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  #32  
Old 06-12-2013, 04:09 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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Originally Posted by Disheavel View Post
Presentation should come after they master writing-- not simultaneously. (I'm sorry but this is one of the most frustrating things about school that I have encountered as a parent.) To put it as an analogy, did you learn to type first or did you just start writing code/novels? How about bicycling: did those cars stay 3 feet away while you were going down Main Street while you had your training wheels on? How many of your finger paintings are now in the Louvre? okay the last is a stretch, but they all demonstrate a logical process before you worry about "presentation" and in all cases legibility and communication need come first.
This is similar to my opinion on the way "literature" is taught in school, and my ideas about why so many people "don't like to read". School teachers have kids diving right into Shakespeare and The Great Gatsby and Wuthering Heights and the other "classics" things that middle school and high school kids really can't relate to, in an attempt to teach them to love "literature". To me, that ass-backwards. Teach them to enjoy reading first, by letting them read things that might actually interest them, and then introduce them to "literature".
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