My digital allotment

Correct Me If I’m Wrong

Scott Thirnburry

I really enjoyed this webinar, particularly because everyone really loves to hear an expert in their field confirm that their beliefs and practices are that of their own, right?

I like to think that I’m pretty good at being intuitive about when to correct my students and when to overlook errors and I suppose I make this decision mainly based on whether the error impedes meaning or understanding. I enjoy pretending that I don’t understand what a learner has said to ensure they take notice of their mistake, but I also love it when they are automatically or after a little support are able to correct themselves.

The main points I took away from the presentation are:

  • Global errors which impede communication or embarrassing errors are the most important to correct.
  • Remember to consider the learner’s objectives when correcting as this can be importing in deciding what, when and how often to correct.
  • I am most comfortable pointing out the error and waiting for learners to self-correct or recasting leaving a gap for learner correction.

My reflections:

  • Perhaps I should feel a little more confident when using the “Instructional Conversation” technique with groups of learners and although this may not necessarily be appropriate for large groups of learners, it can be used with the larger groups broken down into smaller groups.
  • I very often gather student errors from tasks and present them anonymously to the class for peer correction, however, I think I could perhaps have more of a structure for doing this e,g, the last 10 mins of every lesson.
  • I really liked Scott’s suggestion of including some positive examples of correct sentences from student’s too and would like to include this more.

Note to self: Check out “The Big Questions in ELT” by Scott Thornbury on theround.com/resources

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