Writing Tools in Taiwanese Schools

The major writing utensil in American schools is the No. 2 pencil. Sometimes its portrayed as a big yellow wooden one with a juicy pink eraser, and nowadays I see more mechanical pencils.


A group of foreigners found in Taiwan: mechanical pencils, No. 2 lead, a Bic ballpoint pen, and two pink erasers.




New additions to my pencil case. In the back is a white-out dispenser. The largest pen was handed out as an advertisement for a cram school. Free pen!


Students in Taiwan rarely use pencils. They use pens all the time and therefore need white-out as an eraser.


One theory of mine is that Chinese characters are closer together. Writing one Chinese character takes up the space of two English letters. Looking at a paragraph of Chinese characters looks like a solid block of ink while looking at English paragraphs, you can often see each line. Students here have to be much more precise when they write. Therefore, they use pens.

And they are different from the  pens that I used in America. The pens can be ballpoint but super thin. You can’t really see the ball on the tip of the pen like you can with pens in America. The pens make scratchy sounds when you write really fast, like the quill in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.


6 thoughts on “Writing Tools in Taiwanese Schools

  1. The erasers in Taiwan are also better, although they’re from Japan. I could never use the pink erasers in America. Those erasers seem to erase by removing paper rather than pencil lead.


    • Hmm I haven’t bought any erasers here yet. I didn’t have the removing paper problem in America, but I did have the “smooth eraser” problem on the wooden pencils. You must have been pressing really hard?!


  2. From a teachers point of view, I can tell you that I hate all the extra stuff my students carry around in their pencils cases. I have so many issues with students playing with white out and scissors and little oddly shaped erasers during class time. Maybe it’s because I am from a different generation, or am a minimalist when it comes to things; but I find Taiwanese students have a lot of unnecessary utensils. All you need for class is a pen and a notebook. Anything else is just excessive.


    • With my high school classmates, the bigger problem is playing with cellphones or sleeping. I agree with thr unnecessary utensils point. And whenever I scratch something out with my pen, anyone next to me immediately gives me whiteout. I think Taiwanese aesthetics are much different from mine. I am totally fine with scratching things out as long as it’s an informal document.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s