S.O.S. Lesson planning

One question on my job interviewer list is whether the candidate can handle more levels/age groups and different types of courses in one day. Most candidates answer automatically yes. However, a normal teaching day in our part of the world looks like this: pre-scheduled courses start at 3pm, 4.30pm, 6pm and 7.30pm (e.g. two YL, a one-to-one and finally an adult class) and you might be even lucky to get an individual lesson before that (let’s say 1.30 to 3pm). It can easily get overwhelming to sit down and write four-five lesson plans in a row for the coming day. You may not know where to start and how to proceed. There is always a first time to teach a group/book/unit/grammar point/topic, etc. Important to get down to work and follow some important steps: Read more

Be a ‘mistake manager’, alias ways of ‘error correction’ (2/2)

In my previous post, I dealt with immediate feedback after mistakes and tried to give advice on when and how to use them. Today, I’d like to move on to the second type of dealing with mistakes: delayed feedback.

We speak about delayed mistake correction when the teacher does not interrupt the student speaking, but writes down the most relevant or repeated mistakes and keeps these notes for a future moment: right after the exercise, at the end of the lesson, in the next lesson or latest in the next revision lesson. This is an efficient way of error correction in fluency exercises, where the aim of the exercise is to let students speak freely even with mistakes in order to accelerate their flow of speech.
The teacher might collect examples for mistakes while correcting written assignments and discuss these with the students instead of simply correcting them.

However, teachers need to think through how they provide feedback on these mistakes.  Read more

Be a ‘mistake manager’, alias ways of ‘error correction’ (1/2)

Just one word before we start: 
When I was a teacher trainee, I was trained among others in ‘error correction’. Recently, I came across a synonym, which I personally find a bit sophisticated: ‘mistake management’. Things might be reinvented and renamed, we are still speaking about our good old ‘error correction’. It is, however, important to distinguish between mistake and error. While errors occur due to lack of knowledge of the correct form (students haven’t been introduced to the structure, so they use an other familiar one instead), mistakes are inaccurate use of previously taught language due to lack of concentration or other physical and psychological circumstances (nervousness, distraction, tiredness, etc). Having said that, the name ‘error correction’ is inaccurate if we check on mistakes. Errors (inaccuracy in structures, which haven’t been taught) should be dealt with in a subtile way: the teacher can repeat the inaccurate utterance in the correct form or they might even ignore it, in order not to confuse students. On the other hand, mistakes, ergo inaccuracy in theoretically familiar structures, should be ‘managed’. One point to ‘mistake management’.

Mistakes are good if not ignored:
Students make mistakes and these help teachers understand what they have to teach or revise with the class. However, some (mainly younger) teachers feel as if they would lack respect to their students if they corrected them. So they always give positive immediate feedback (‘Great’, ‘Very good’, ‘Excellent’), ignoring mistakes.

Needless to say, error correction makes a teacher and above all, it helps students grow. So let us take a look at some ways of how to correct mistakes. Read more