The Role of Correction Techniques in Teaching English
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Kirill K. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Mistakes naturally happen in our lives.
A large number of people would agree that making mistakes stimulates them to do things better. Undoubtedly, the mistakes made by students play a pivotal role in improving language skills and acquiring the target language properly. Thus, an English teacher should know how to correct them appropriately.
A teacher should be aware of the fact that not only does correct learners show that they have made something wrong, but also implies that the teacher is eager to help students and demonstrates how to put their mistakes right. Most importantly, the teacher should know that correcting her/his learners has to motivate them to investigate the language deeper and build confidence, rather than causing any insecurities among the learners.
The techniques, which will be further described, have been identified as effective ones. However, each of them should be implemented according to teaching situations.
Facial expressions and gestures are extremely useful when a teacher does not want to interfere too frequently during their learner's speech, but would like to point that an error or slip has been made. To exemplify, a student can utter the following sentence " I am going to the cinema tonight"; a teacher could show a confused face between "go" and "to the cinema" to indicate a mistake made by the student. It is imperative to mention, however, that any kind of gestures and facial expressions can be offensive to students. Thus, every teacher should know the peculiarities of the culture of their learners.
One of the best techniques in correcting learners is the so-called echo correction. The teacher repeats what the student has uttered by rising the intonation where needed. For instance:
Student: "She likes going for a walk in the evenings"Teacher: "She LIKE going for a walk in the evenings"It helps students to identify their not so significant slips by themselves (self-correction) which makes them more confident next time. It also enables other students to distinguish mistakes (peer-correction).
Students sometimes use unnecessary words, omit significant ones, or forget to apply contractions where it is needed during the speaking. These mistakes can be corrected by fingers. Finger correction is frequently used when contractions are learned by students. The teacher brings two fingers together to show that the contraction should be made. Articles, which can be also finger corrected, are very challenging for students. For example, a student says: "l can play piano".The teacher adds one more finger, i.e. he/she shows 5 fingers, to indicate that a word has been missed. The teacher can also hide one finger if a word is not needed at all in the following sentence said by a student: "I am cook every day".
The correction techniques mentioned above aim to correct learners immediately. There are also techniques we can use for later correction.
Teachers often use correction slot Pro-forma to indicate mistakes and highlight the strengths of learners to encourage further improvement. For instance, if it is a speaking task, a teacher could include grammar mistakes, pronunciation difficulties, and usage of their first language vocabulary. It is crucial to put balanced emphasis on their successful language as well. If it is a writing task, a teacher can include grammar mistakes, punctuation, cohesion, coherence, and proper lexis usage. By convention, teachers apply the correction code to indicate mistakes. This code should be introduced to students before they can be used.
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The role of an assessor is of high importance in teaching English. Not only do teacher find mistakes, but also should analyze and classify them. Different teaching situations require different correction techniques to be used. Correcting students should not be only about mistakes, for it can cause unpleasant insecurities to make any mistakes in the further learning process. Thus, correcting students should be accompanied by identifying their good points in learning English.
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