Correction techniques in the classroom There are a number of issues associated


There are a number of issues associated with how to correct a student in the best way possible. There are two main schools of thought as to the best technique. The first is to correct the student straight way to help avoid confusing them later, the second is to do it at a more appropriate time, and not inhibit the natural flow of speech. I believe that there is value in both, and should be judged upon individual situation. A distinction should be made between what is a mistake and what is an error. A mistake is more of a momentary lapse of concentration, however an error may be caused because the student isn't aware that it is wrong, or the student doesn't know another way of saying it or finally if the student indeed knows the correct form but can't quite put it together. Errors may occur in any of the following: 'Grammatical errors (errors of verb tenses, preposition use, etc.) 'Vocabulary errors (incorrect collocations, idiomatic phrase usage, etc.) 'Pronunciation errors (errors in basic pronunciation, errors in word stressing in sentences, errors in rhythm and pitch) 'Written errors (grammar, spelling and vocabulary choice errors in written work) [*1]

The TEFL way of teaching focuses on the benefit of student self correcting the mistake. If that is not possible then the next desired option is correction by a fellow student. If both these options cannot be met then the last resort is to have the teacher correct it.

There are three occasions when it is relevant to correct: 1.The mistake is with the language point we are teaching. 2.The mistake is being regularly repeated by either the student or the other class members and so risks becoming engrained. 3.The mistake seriously impedes understanding. [*2]

On-the-spot correction techniques. These are used for dealing with errors as they occur. oUsing fingers For example, pointing to words that may be in the wrong order , or giving an indication that one of the words might be incorrect or obsolete. oGestures For example, in the use of eliciting full sentences or perhaps the way the tense or key word you are after oMouthing For example, the use of stress on a particular sounds or syllable that the student is finding difficult. A phonetic symbol and a mouth diagram would also help correct the sound.

oReformulation For example: Student: Do you are Australian Teacher: Oh, are you Australian' Yes I am Australian. 'Delayed Correction techniques - For example, after a communication activity. oNoting down errors Either errors that have come up or vocabulary you would suspect would cause difficulties, and using target material to focus on these problems.

A teacher should use tact when making a correction and not do it with over eagerness. A correction should also not impede the activity or make the student feel diminished. It is more important to build a students confidence than correct a careless mistake. Quotations: *1: About Education, Kenneth Beare http://esl.about.com/od/esleflteachingtechnique/i/i_correction.htm *2: TEFL International, TEOSL Course Materials References: Teaching English, British Council http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/methodology/error_correct2.sh tml

TEFL International, TEOSL Course Materials