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April 28, 2009

Strategies for Corrective Feedback

Implicit and Explicit Correction Strategies

As there is doubtless a right way and a wrong way to speak English, correction and/or presentation of correct form is necessary. When conversing with a student or students, corrective feedback by the teacher serves as a prompt for students to self-repair. The goal is to incorporate ways that motivate students to produce language that is not only comprehensible but also accurate.
One point that is especially important is that of error correction: one researcher found that error correction done wrong pushes students to focus on form, not meaning. This point is critical in a meaning- and communicative-focused language classroom.
During English conversation with students, teacher corrections need to be focused on meaning, not form.
A general rule would be, when speaking with individual students (whether alone or in front of the class), to focus on the content or meaning, and not the form, of the message.
Some corrective strategies more than others challenge students to use their own abilities to figure out the correct pattern themselves (for example, asking what an answer is rather than explicitly telling the answer outright). These kinds of corrective feedback strategies best lead to language acquisition, and promote learner self-sufficiency as well. This should be one of the primary standards for judging the effectiveness of corrective feedback.
Corrective Strategies that encourage students to decipher meaning and form for themselves are superior to those strategies that don’t.

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