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Correcting Your Students

 
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PittsburghSound



Joined: 27 Aug 2014
Posts: 90
Location: Colombia

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:52 pm    Post subject: Correcting Your Students Reply with quote

Hello, everyone. I'm still a very new and young teacher. I haven't even been teaching for a year yet. I'm still learning what doesn't work as much as what does.

One thing I think about often is the manner in which I correct my students. When they say something incorrect, I don't often point out the error in an obvious and direct manner. Instead, I repeat their sentence or phrase back to them with the corrections inside.

Is this too subtle? Do I need to be a bit more overt? If so, how do I change up my strategy without stunting their confidence?

I look forward to your answers. I consider this a very important aspect of teaching.
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fluffytwo



Joined: 24 Sep 2016
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's common practice but yes, it may be a bit too subtle if the students themselves never repeat back the corrected version, and there is no better time really than at the time. Signal for them to pause, listen carefully, and repeat back, perhaps several times (like a mini drill) if the item is reasonably important enough to warrant the attention.
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 1289
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fluffytwo wrote:
It's common practice but yes, it may be a bit too subtle if the students themselves never repeat back the corrected version, and there is no better time really than at the time. Signal for them to pause, listen carefully, and repeat back, perhaps several times (like a mini drill) if the item is reasonably important enough to warrant the attention.


I agree with fluffy. Whether or not to do immediate feedback also depends on the actual error (does it impede communication? is it an incorrect choice of vocabulary?). I know at some point, we've all read that some adult learners can suffer from embarrassment or anxiety over mistakes, but I find that this has led some instructors to completely shy away from explicit feedback. I work with students in an immigration/settlement context, they are always eager for clear, immediate feedback (positive or negative). I can imagine that this may differ in other contexts. That being said, my experience with students from face-saving cultures does not differ. Many of them struggle greatly with speaking skills (particularly the Koreans) and enjoy being the focus of a drill on challenging vowel sounds.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 1146
Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It really depends on the situation. Sometimes the communication is more important than the accuracy, and it's better to just let them speak without correction. At other times, it's all about the accuracy.

If repeating the correct form back isn't working, and you are fairly sure they know the correct form, try just repeating the incorrect word/s in a questioning tone.

I is a student.
is?

Facial expression, gestures and tone of voice can really help as well.

You can also make a mental note of common errors you hear in class, and address them as a group at the end of the activity, rather than singling anyone out if you are in a context were individual correction might be problematic.

One final thought, as a general rule you should only be correcting errors appropriate for their level. If you are just tackling past simple and a student mangles past perfect, let it go. There will be time enough for that later.
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schwa



Joined: 12 Oct 2003
Posts: 148
Location: yap

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most students are gonna be shy about making mistakes in front of their peers whether you correct them or not, in any culture. We all tell our students "Learn from your mistakes" but it's usually just a hollow maxim.

They need to make blunders & they need to grow thicker skins. Everyone makes mistakes & the classroom is the perfect place to do it.

I really push trial & error in my classes & from the start of a new class I announce that I'll tease them about their mistakes (if it's the current learning point or something they should already know). I follow through. I actually encourage classmates to laugh (good-naturedly) at a student's error.

Once they get the hang of it, I can call on any random student to try to answer a question & they'll all willingly oblige, whether they're sure or not. If they blow it, we have a light-hearted classroom moment, that student learns something, & we move on. My teenage students enjoy this approach.

I don't think you'll find this suggestion in any efl manuals but it has served me & my students well for many years.
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bograt



Joined: 12 Nov 2014
Posts: 263

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Recasting/reformulation (what you're doing) doesn't allow any opportunity for the student to correct themselves, which can be useful, so use error correction techniques like the one HLJHLJ suggested if you think they can correct it themselves. Or repeat what they said up to the incorrect part.
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