Error Correction Techniques



As English teachers, we know that making mistakes is the proof of learning, but the question is how we can handle these mistakes. We need to sharpen our error correction skills in order not to demotivate our students.

There are two kinds of error correction techniques:

  1. Hot correction: As soon as we notice a student making an error while we are presenting the language or practicing activities, we can ask CCQs (concept checking questions) that focus on meaning and form.We should encourage self correction first and then peer correction if needed.

Also within hot correction, we can use Quick fire Drills, these are:

  • Repetition drills: In this type,teacher first models the target language then students at first drill chorally, then individually.
  • Backchaining: For longer utterences this is a useful type. In it the language is in chunks and it is drilled from the end backwards.

e.g. If I see him, I’ll tell him.

t: tell him

Ss: tell him

t: I’ll tell him

  Ss: I’ll tell him

t: see him I’ll tell him

 Ss: see him I’ll tell him

t: If I see him I’ll tell him

Ss: If I see him I’ll tell him

  • Transformation drills: to manipulate a grammatical structure, this type is a good one.

t: I’ve got some apples. Negative?

S1: I haven’t got any apples.

t: He has got some peers. Negative?

S2: He hasn’t got any pears.

  • Chain drill: This type focuses more on sts. and it’s a bit more complicated.

S1: I like swimming.

t: So do I.

S2: I like riding a bike.

t: So do I.

Students then do the drill:

S1: I like swimming.

S2: So do I. I like reading.

S3: So do I. I like playing golf. etc.

2.  Cold correction: In order not to interrupt the learner during a speaking activity- as we are focusing more on oral fluency- , we need to monitor and record the language of the learner to focus on the errors when the activity is complete.

Besides speaking activities, we can use cold correction with writing activities as well. We can have them write a text in class or at home and after checking the texts, we can choose one sentence from each student’s text that has an error in it. After that we can use these sentences in the class to give whole class feedback without addressing the students.

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  1. Cheers for the follow! I’m a CELTA Trainer and just tweeted this link as well. My blog is mostly my photography, but I will be doing more ESL stuff at some point. Have a great day ~ Jackie

    1. Dear Jackie, it is great to see that you tweeted this link 😉 I’ve been following you for a long time and I wish you a great day as well 😉

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