November 14, 2019 at 9:18 pm #8890
My business English students should be fairly accurate, as they want to make a good impression.
My exam prep students’ priority is the efficiency of communication, a variety of vocabulary and structures, fluency in many areas, some mistakes or errors are excusable.
Teenage and young learners are trickier, it’s not yet clear what they are going to do with the language, accuracy is of high importance.
I feel quite bad, to be honest, especially when I hear my own errors in recorded lessons 😀 But a large number of errors are developmental, so if errors occur, development is happening.
I usually pick on recurring errors and draw my students’ attention to them. In the case of younger but fluent learners, who most probably have picked up the language from various sources, I present and make them practise the language structure they use with mistakes (typically over-generalizations).
November 16, 2019 at 10:11 pm #8928
I want my students to be very accurate because they are imitating me (pre a1 level). If they can’t do it with accuracy, I will tailor my language so that they can. I am flexible with the language if it has a higher probability of being learned. I do sometimes over-simplify. I will present, practice, and produce language until I start to get the desired results.
I am not too concerned when they make mistakes because I know that I can provide additional activities, tasks, and exercises to provide intervention. My learners are in a developmental stage. I am more concerned when they aren’t using any l2 language during tasks and activities.
How do I react to errors?
I usually provide them the input required to change. I sometimes ask corrective questions, but it depends on the level and the ability of the student. I believe it is more constructive to help them say it correctly than teach them the meta language to make the changes themselves (in pre a1 only). A student who has learned the language to a certain level are expected to incorporate several meta language processes to help scaffold error correction. I talk more about it in the next forum post.
I am very interested in learning more about this at different stages.
November 28, 2019 at 1:53 pm #8956
Philip Shigeo Brown (Phil)Keymaster
I teach and have taught a wide range of learners with significantly different abilities, needs, goals, and motivations.
How accurate do your students need to be?
Some students only need to be communicative for travel or simple social purposes. Young kids mostly want to enjoy playing with friends, playing games, watching cartoons, singing and listening to music. At the other end of the spectrum, I’ve taught teenagers and adults facing high-stakes exams, managers who need to negotiate successfully in business, diplomats who want to engage in polite small talk at official functions, and doctors who need to explain medical procedures precisely but also show empathy towards patients.
How do you feel when they make errors? How do you react to their errors?
Mostly, I’m not thinking about how I feel since I’m trying to identify the cause of the error and see if it’s something the student can correct themselves, something they need to review, something they haven’t studied yet.
However, with students I’ve taught a long time (or my own kids) I notice I can feel a sense of frustration. But if I feel frustrated, how must they feel? The only time I’ve admittedly lost my patience and temporarily stepped away from helping a student is when they’ve not made any effort and/or been rude – which is very rare, fortunately.
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