Digital literacy in TEFL
- Tips & Strategies
Teacher’s feedback is an extremely effective and influential tool. It can significantly improve students’ achievements if given correctly. Feedback helps you realize that you don’t know something, that you know something, where you need to go next and how to improve your skills.
Make your first steps in teaching English
One of the most difficult tasks for a teacher is to listen to their students when they speak English and to correct the mistakes they make in speaking. We should also not forget that correcting mistakes should be positive and motivate our students.
When it comes to correcting speech errors, the following issues arise:
In order to help your students and yourself, you need to understand why this happens. Most likely, your students have some gaps in knowledge – then it’s ‘errors’. Or they have a functional problem — these are ‘mistakes’. We often make the latter in our native language, often they are slips.
Delayed error correction technique will be effective in both cases.
While your students are on a speaking task, walk around the classroom and write down the mistakes they make. You have to decide for yourself what to record and what not. For example, if only one student makes a mistake, you should not pay much attention to it, but if the whole group – then write it down.
It is possible that students with a higher level of English do not make mistakes, but speak in sentences that are a literal translation from their native language into English. Then write the following sentences in order to suggest a ‘more English’ / upgradable equivalent.
Write sentences with examples of errors on the board. Divide the students into teams and ask each team to think about what is wrong with these sentences and to correct them. Students write down their own versions of the sentences and explain what the mistakes are. For each correct sentence — give them 1 point.
Find out the nature of the mistakes. It’s pretty easy to do. If the students easily corrected it and were able to say why it should be so, most likely it was a slip or a mistake. In the future, such mistakes can be corrected immediately, while speaking.
If students have difficulty with certain sentences, it is obvious that there is a gap in their knowledge. Encourage students to make up some examples with this word or grammatical structure. If the error is still there, return to it at the end of the lesson.
If students continue to make the same mistake next time, come back to it again and again. And when students know that you have already gone through this, and can explain the nature of the error on their own, then you can transfer it to those errors that need to be corrected immediately.
This technique works best if you use it with the same students over a long period of time. This way, they will regularly remind themselves of this one little error in time, not all the mistakes at once. This will help them to remember it better.
Finally, it is important to remember that those who do not learn do not make mistakes. Our main task is to build in students the feeling that making a mistake is cool because they are learning something new.
DELTA Module 1, CELTA certified teacher of General & Business English
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