Teach English in Donghenan Zhen - Datong Shi

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There is no doubt that correcting mistakes is a highly essential technique that a teacher needs to develop through studies and personal experience. Correcting mistakes and giving feedback to the students is a non-separable part of ESL teaching and helps students to realize how they have improved. As simple as it may seem, it is a very sensitive act to be performed during a lesson as there are many decisive factors included such as when to correct, who is allowed to correct, types of mistakes and errors, correction attitude, and the correction techniques. The understanding of the mistake`s type and the source of the mistake, could be the introduction into the right way of correction. A teacher needs to realize the language produced by the student includes whether a mistake or an error. While a mistake is considered to be a minor problem, an error could be more disastrous. A mistake also known as a slip up can be made by anybody even an English native speaker and it means the speaker knows the correct sentence or pronunciation, but uses the wrong structure or word by accident. An error is of a more severe case, it is when a student keeps making the same mistake meaning that he does not know the correct grammatical structure or the word. The teacher also needs to figure out if the mistake is related to grammar, pronunciation, or lexical. Correction is not necessarily needed to be done by the teacher only. It can happen through peer correction to exemplify while students are doing an activity in pairs, one can correct the other. Although this needs to be supervised by the teacher as to my personal experience it can lead to breaking one student`s self-confidence or students` reluctance towards pair work. Peer correction normally helps create a positive class atmosphere. After some time of studying students might achieve the ability to correct themselves. Sometimes the mistake is simply a slip and they are aware of the correct version and with the little help from the teacher the student may be able to produce the language in the correct form. Knowing when to correct is one of the most important aspects of correction. One way to consider it is to know whether the teacher is focusing on the fluency or the accuracy of the students. If fluency is being practiced, some of the mistakes can be passed over in order not to interrupt the flow of the lesson. However, if the point of focus is accuracy more correction needs to be applied as the lesson requires to be more controlled. The other aspect to be taken into account is timing of the correction which means to know if the mistake needs to be corrected on the spot or a delayed correction is needed. To the extent of my experience it is better to correct the newly-taught language point on the spot in order to help students control the produced language. Also foul language needs to be stopped and corrected immediately on the spot. Sometimes it is a good idea to pause the activity to go through the mistake if there is a mistake that all students are making repeatedly, which means they have not learnt properly. As for delayed correction the teacher can take notes of the mistakes while monitoring the class and put them on the board after the activity is done and go through them as class or group activity, which is called Global Correction. Another way of delayed correction is to create worksheets of the very common mistakes of the class and work them out during a lesson. Teacher`s attitude while correcting the mistakes is of great importance. Most students are sensitive to correction therefore the teacher needs to have a positive approach while correcting and should always pay attention to the student`s self-confidence and feelings. The amount of correction needs to be kept moderate. There are numerous disadvantages to over-correcting the students, most importantly it can kill the motivation in them and lower their self-confidence and make them become hesitant while speaking, which is neglecting the nature of an ESL class. Also over-correcting disturbs the flow and the dynamic of the lesson and turns it into a dull class. It is obvious that under-correcting is also wrong and prevents the students from receiving feedback and consequently decreases the improvement pace. There are many different techniques to correct the students` mistakes in the most effective way. Many teachers develop their own style of correction through experience. However, there are standard techniques of correction and in the following lines we will go through some of the most common ones: echoing the mistake, the teacher would repeat the mistake until the student realizes the mistake. Asking for reformation, the teacher has the student say the same sentence in different words. React correction, repeating the mistake in the correct form so the student would realize the mistake, it is also known as indirect correction. Clarification, politely asking the student to repeat the sentence as if the teacher did not understand it. Elicitation, the teacher repeats the sentence up to the mistake point and waits for the student to correct it. Metalinguistic correction, the teacher asks direct grammar questions related to the mistake and has the student correct the sentence afterwards. Correction always goes hand in hand with other teaching skills and it is safe to say that it is a very sensitive task to be taken care of in class. While it can increase the students` language ability, it can demotivate them and kill their enthusiasm for learning the language. Therefore the teacher should have the feedback type in mind before entering the class to have a more effective lesson.