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Correcting errors in EFL class

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  • eltguide
    Participant
    18 October, 2014 at 23:14
    • Total posts: 1

    From my experience in TEFL I can advise EFL teachers as follow:

    1. Don’t correct every mistake in order not to make students nervous and reluctant to talk.

    2. Don’t neglect mistakes at all as it leads students to speak English hard to be understood.

    3. Choose the right time to correct and the right time to let students speak freely so that students receive the most benefit from corrections

    Here are some times when you should correct students:

    1. When they stop searching for the right word, phrase, or grammar, …

    2. When the same mistake made by several students. In this case, plan an activity for a later lesson to correct that mistake and don’t interrupt what they are doing, but don’t ignore the mistake either.

    3. When there is a real possibility for misunderstanding, e.g. if a student is talking about a past event but uses the wrong verb tense which could confuse the listener. You must deal with this mistake when it happens, otherwise it will be repeated in the future.

    The next question is, HOW should we correct students’ mistakes? I want your opinions and experiences.

    Niall Houghton
    Participant
    10 February, 2018 at 10:16
    • Total posts: 20

    A not uncommon reason for errors is OVER-GENERALISATION. This is where the student applies an English grammar rule where it is not applicable.

    For example – “She must to go now”. Here the student has learned ‘she needs to go’ and has applied the same rule to the the modal verb ‘must’ (use bare infinitive after modals).

    So, an idea would be to list to the students common reasons for errors first. Then both the student and teacher could be alert for when these errors arise. In this way the teacher and students are working together to solve problems and this ‘partnership’ approach would be more empowering.

    Niall Houghton
    Participant
    10 February, 2018 at 15:09
    • Total posts: 20

    Another example of ‘over-generalisation’ is when students say “he buyed the shirt”.

    What is happening here is that the student has learned to form the past tense of regular verbs and has applied the same rule to an irregular verb.

    Again this can be explained to students as an error which can be common.

    Niall Houghton
    Participant
    13 February, 2018 at 15:56
    • Total posts: 20

    Mother Tongue Interference (MTI) is another common error.

    This is where the student applies the rules of their own language to the English language.

    For example Spanish students are known to say “I am not agree”.

    Niall Houghton
    Participant
    17 February, 2018 at 17:43
    • Total posts: 20

    French people can sometimes say “we have seen this film earlier”, with this grammatical error based on applying the rules of their language to the English language.

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