Should I use pens or pencils?

Oh dear pencils!

Although this blog aims at focusing on educational technology and its uses in language learning, I still can’t help but to linger a bit on the fact that we still can’t give up the use of pens and pencils in our classrooms and meetings; even when correcting and grading students’ work.

A question that I had off the top of my head these couple of days was; are my students better off using pens or pencils, is there even a difference?!

What I believe, from my own observation in classrooms, is that pen can never be the best appropriate class tool for the students to use; especially with learning a language. That is for two apparent reasons:

  1. The simple fact that for learning to occur, one is subjected to err; after all, the famous proverb says it clearly: (to err is human, to forget is divine). Isn’t that true after all? Students feel victorious when they achieve what they are expected to learn mainly because they got a taste of trial and error; they went into a self-discovery journey.
  2. I prefer the HP, two centuries old, the traditional, old fashioned, eraser-capped pencil, over everything else. This is simply because it’s much more practical to use, lighter to carry, takes less space in your bag; and most importantly, students can dramatically save their parents some pocket-money at the end of the day!

Come to think of it, this is exactly what is common between pencils and ipads, smart boards, galaxy tabs, and even the computer programs as well, it’s the potential, the opportunity and the endeavor this techs provide in correcting what you’ve done wrong, and to presumably do it right over again, tossing that hideous correction pen–that basically can’t really erase what you have scribbled with your pen; almost like being doomed for making the silliest mistake that will linger in your note-book for eternity; unless you tear the paper out!

So the bottom line is that: as old, ugly, or unfashionable those poor pencils might seem to the naked eye; they, nevertheless, are still the smartest and most practical option out there, suitable for a learning atmosphere that makes “trial and error” seem like the most entertaining activity everyday!


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