In Part 1 we looked reasons for and the timing of feedback and error correction in lessons. Now we are going to look at some tips on deciding what to correct.
How can I decide what’s worth correcting?
We can divide linguistic mistakes, according to the teacher’s knowledge of their learners, into:
- slips, which a student can self-correct;
- errors, which a student can’t self-correct, but where it is clear which form the student wanted to use and where the class is familiar with that form;
- attempts, where students have no real idea of how to structure what they want to say, or where intended meaning and structure are not clear to the teacher.
This division has to be made repeatedly by teachers, based on their knowledge of individual learners and classes in order to decide what to correct, how to correct and when to correct.