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Expert’s Basic Ideas About Correcting Students & Giving Them Feedback


Error correction is a matter of balance. Students need help in order to learn, and teachers should not overcorrect their mistakes on the other hand.

Teachers should know well when and how to correct errors in EFL classes and how to correct these errors using effective ways

Also, giving effective feedback, especially in writing activities, is an essential skill for teachers. It should be regular and ongoing. Your students need to know how they are doing, whether their performance meets expectations, and how they can improve.

This article will give you basic ideas about when to correct students’ mistakes and the main ways of giving feedback to them when using the process approach to writing.

Students May Make Mistakes When:

  • They are tired,
  • They haven’t understood a part of the lesson,
  • They think in their native language,
  • They have some kind of confusion, especially with vocabulary.

Making Mistakes Is A Positive Sign As It:

  • Provides information about what progress the students and the class are making. If many of the students are making the same mistakes, You may decide to review part of a lesson.
  • Shows learning. It is natural for language learners to overgeneralise rules.
  • Is like an experimental process. We try something to see if it works. If it doesn’t work we try something else until we get it right. Mistakes can be a part of experimentation.

You Don’t Need To Correct Each Mistake:

  • More correction does NOT lead to fewer mistakes.
  • If the aim of the lesson is on accuracy, focus some attention on correcting mistakes.
  • If the aim of the lesson is on fluency, focus more attention on successful communication and less on the mistakes that occur.
  • If you correct too much, it could affect negatively the students’ willingness and motivation to participate in class.
  • Too much stress on mistakes correction may lead students to silence.

THREE Ways of Giving Students Feedback in Process Writing

There are three main ways of giving feedback to students when using the process approach to writing. They are as follows:

1. Teacher editing:

This is more suitable for beginner students who start writing. The teacher should do the editing and proofreading with students to provide more guidance and set an example.

2. Peer-editing:

Here, the texts should be interchanged and the editing is done by other students. Students exchange their papers and comment on each other’s papers as it is common for writers in the real life to ask their friends or colleagues to check their writing for any mistakes.

3. Self-editing:

It is very common for writers to miss their own mistakes so it is recommended to leave their texts for a night, empty their minds and deal with some other work then return to their papers with a clear mind to start the process of self-editing.

In the classroom environment, we can have students write their essays one day, collect the papers and provide students with a checklist of the editing and proofreading features. The next day the teacher can have students edit and proofread their texts themselves or in pairs or with the help of the teacher if they are beginner students.

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