Brinjal Has A Cap, a Child’s Imagination

Yet another brinjal (eggplant) inspired post. My previous one Thumbs up or thumbs down?.

This time the brinjals I purchased were of proper form. Culling away the brinjals my thoughts wandered… I was reminded of a recent conversation I overheard between two mothers of first graders.

Brinjal Has a Cap

One of the mothers was pouring out to the other
Mother1: My son lost the full score in science by one mark.
Mother2: Oh! How?

Mother1: The question was “Circle the odd one out of Brinjal, Cucumber, Pumpkin and Bitter Gourd and give the reason why it is odd?” He circled Brinjal.
Mother2: That is right answer, why was the mark deducted?

Mother1: Oh! He gave the wrong reason, he stated: Brinjal has a cap!
Mother2 (Suppressed a giggle and put across a serious face.)

Mother1: The teacher circled the wrong answer and put a big red cross. X

Brinjal has a capHow Differently a Child Imagines

Stirring the culled pieces, I was thinking about the boy: how differently he thinks. His world of imagination must be filled with caps and balloons may be of clouds and kites and there his teacher is drilling in to him facts of plants and creepers.He knows the brinjal grows in a plant but that everybody knows. He is more fascinated by the ‘cap’ the brinjal has.

And as my thoughts ramble on, I wonder:

Is the red ink used in correction helpful or harmful? We have grown up seeing the red blotches in our answer sheets. Teachers have for long used red ink; the reason being red ink makes it easier for children to spot errors and perk up.

But a recent news headline read: Teachers in UK banned from using ‘confrontational’ red ink in case it upsets children. In Australia too, the educational strategy is: Don’t mark in red pen (which can be seen as aggressive) – use a different color.

I don’t think red is demotivating for a child? I think it is just a protocol and not meant to demotivate. And use of different color is going to be no different. After some years there will be a ban on that color too. (Disabled became handicapped and now handicapped is not acceptable it should be differently abled.) I hope this kind of banning does not spread all over the world.


Aero India 2009, Bangalore
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33 Responses to “Brinjal Has A Cap, a Child’s Imagination

  • What an enjoying post! I love to cook eggplants. They are in abundance at the grocery stores right now.

    And I agree with you ~ the teacher should not have limited the boy’s imagination and cluttered his mind with facts. I’ve often wished to see the world through a child’s eyes.

    As for the red ink… my friends used to say, “My paper bleeds red” if they received a bad grade.

    It’s amazing how they/researches will take a color ~ red ~ which is a favorite of mine and state that it is confrontational. It’s not confrontational ~ the people are confrontational, not colors.

    Society is getting so strange with rules and regulations these days. Everyone is expected to be treated like a carbon copy of each other, but we’re not made that way!

  • The kind of creative thinking that this child shared is so often overlooked when testing for intelligence. I remember my son taking a similar test which showed drawing of a police man wearing a hat, a fireman wearing a hat, a cowboy wearing a hat and a physician without a hat. They were looking for physician as the answer since it was the only one not wearing a hat. My son decided that the correct answer was the cowboy because the other three ended with “errr” sounds (police officerrrrr, firefighterrrr, doctorrrr.” That was his logic. That was considered wrong. Gotta love the way kids think.

  • i hate ‘baingan ka bharta’…it looks awful!

  • Recently the TOI student edition (Delhi) featured this on 22nd or 23rd Dec, and I felt the same way that you do. I don’t find anything wrong with marking in red, – the colour shouts out – ‘Caution’.
    Why the media should make an issue out of non-issue is beyond me. Hopefully no teacher uses the colour to overdo the caution in any single page?

  • Oh and about the creative part – my son’s teacher – Bless her – marks – in red – things like ‘Interesting idea’ / ‘Wow’ / ‘well-tried’ / ‘good’ – all in red – besides ‘work incomplete’ / improve handwriting’.
    So if the teacher has to conform to one answer, she can compensate!

  • I love the rich colors of the eggplant.

    I do understand why “handicapped” is not considered proper. It comes from “cap in hand” meaning a begger. On the otherhand, disabled means “not able” and many people who are physically challeged are very able. Ack.. words are words. Some people think too hard 🙂

  • Before kids, I was a teacher for 12 years….I usually used multi colored gel pens for corrections. I always wondered if the “red pen” made them feel like I bled all over their paper.

    Thanks for visiting my PSF

  • Red pen marks are to be expected and as long as the teacher is not being demeaning and degrading with remarks there is no need to stresses over the marks. HUmmm some people will go to extreme on anything!
    Funny story though about the caps making them different…. something should have been given him for his creativeness! 🙂

  • lovely post as usual . . . my son’s teacher never uses a red pen . . . I wonder if this is why – I had not thought of it prior to your writing it down. I used to hate to see red marks on my own papers though

  • One incident stands out on my mind from when I was a child and that was when a teacher scribbled in large writing about a small grammatical mistake that I had made and she wrote in huge writing all across the page and I felt very humiliated as she was sarcastic in her correction. I hated her after that.
    I believe that was in red too. But the colour wasn’t the issue with me.

  • But a recent news headline read: Teachers in UK banned from using ‘confrontational’ red ink in case it upsets children

    well well… wonder where is this coming from ???

    over analysis i guess !

  • Red ink is confrontational?? Well, maybe if you’re being ‘confronted’ with the fact that you made a mistake, yes…

  • Red, really? Had no idea. Love the eggplant. 🙂

  • I too wished the teacher would have caught on to his creativity! I love the caps!
    Great post!
    As for the red? Well, I think we should focus on what’s right instead of what’s wrong-but the color? I don’t know.
    This is one to chew on that’s for sure!

  • You always have such interesting posts! I had NO idea about the red but I do LOVE anything eggplant!!

  • Funny 🙂

    In my opinion it is nonsense that teachers should not use red pen. On the other hand I hate when my coworkers comment my emails in red font and I take care always to use green or blue. Red is for authority. It never bothered me from a teacher when I was a child.

  • I hope they don’t ban red pens here. I teach in a local college and use red for grading. It helps me because students write with pencil or black/blue pen. Red is the only color that will stand out, and I can easily look back and see how I graded the paper. And you’re right – after red, the next color will have to be banned, and there will be no end. Interesting post!

  • It’s been a long while since I’ve eaten any eggplant. And for no good reason, I used to eat it all the time.

  • im not very fond of brinjals, but I do like the red colour – loved the post nevertheless

  • what the teacher did was put a ban to a child’s thinking. sad indeed. but that is the way our ‘education’ system flourishes

  • A very nice piece. There is indeed a need for grown-ups to understand children and their imagination.

  • Hi Indrani! Interesting post!
    I love «beringelas» (as we say in Portuguese, which comes much closer to brinjals than to eggplants…)! Furthermore, I always thought it was unpolite to write with red ink, except for teachers marking errors… But now everything is being invaded by this feeling of «correctness»… One day teachers, instead of marking an error, will have to say: «sorry, but it seems that your way of putting things might be different than the usual one, which may implicate that a re-thought on the issue may be needed in order to ascertain whether your views correspond to the immediate reality we are facing…» UGH…

    Blogtrotter has entered Rajasthan! Enjoy and have a great weekend!

  • i think brinjals do have caps!!!
    and we have become too politically correct to the point of becoming boring!!!!!

  • Unfortunately, I think you’re too late. This kind of thinking has already invaded the world. I think my stance on tolerance and sensitivity is pretty well documented, but there is such a thing as taking things too far. I actually had an economics teacher in college that marked papers in green because it was “friendlier”. And this was more years ago than you’ll get me to admit.

    The focus on minutiae like this distracts from the mission of education if you ask me. But then, they didn’t consult me on the matter.

  • 🙂 An interesting post. A little bit of lengthy yet a good one …

  • Nice post.

    And I am in full agreement with you on totally useless bans of words. “Disabled became handicapped and now handicapped is not acceptable it should be differently abled.”

    Swarna’s son’s teacher uses red positively! Good idea.:)

    Brinjals in all their purple glory, lovely.

  • Quite funny, the whole P.C. thing. I always quote Robert Hughes “Political correctness is a way of seizing the moral high ground without having to do any of the work”. My nephews like to annoy each other by saying “stop acting so differently abled”.

  • what a nice read to share. by the way, we call them “talong” in filipino and of course popularly known as eggplant elsewhere. great post as usual.

    Lawstude’s Latest Post: Find Calm in the Wild Waters.

  • Agree…. and if some country decides to use in traffic signals Green to ‘stop’ and Red to ‘go’ – things can be a bit of a confusion :)))

  • Someone sent me this… wanted to share..!!!

    A Father was reading a magazine and his little daughter every now and then distracted him. To keep her busy,he tore one page on which was printed the map of the world. He tore it into pieces and asked her to go to her room and put them together to make the map again.

    He was sure she would take the whole day to get it done. But the little one came back within minutes with perfect map… When he asked how she could do it so quickly,she said,”Oh… Dad,there is a man’s face on the other side of the paper…

    I made the face perfect to get the map right.” she ran outside to play leaving the father surprised..!!!

  • I so agree with you..petty. There are more important issues to worry about. This one is NOT one of small!

  • What a nice thought Indrani! To think from the viewpoint of the child. And how we strait jacket them to think just like that.
    In my view, we should straitjacekt all mothers who worry about their child losing one mark.

  • That was a good one…

    Like Kallu said, the mothers (including myself) should be taken to task!

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