Helping Learners Correct Their Errors

Activity: Helping Learners to Correct their Errors

Purpose: When students make errors it is a best practice to help them correct their own errors rather than give them the answers.

Prep time: None

Materials: Whatever the students are currently working on

Prep: None


Here are some general strategies to use when doing error correction. Specific examples are below.

  • Help learners notice discrepancies between what they wrote/said and the examples.
  • Help learners notice discrepancies between something that they answered correctly and the error.

  • Ask learners how they found the answer (ask this for correct answers too).

  • Ask learners why they think that is the answer.

  • Ask learners to read what they wrote aloud and then ask what is missing.

  • Help learners narrow down their answer choices.

Example: Multiple Choice Worksheet

For example, let’s say that a learner circled D for question number one on this worksheet. The teacher responds by first asking the learner to read the question aloud. Then she asks the student to point to the answer in the reading material. Next, she points out that this answer choice is under the wrong category. She asks the student where the correct category is and then asks the student to scan for the correct answer.

Example: Modals Worksheet (When you click on this link, you’ll go to a page that says Road Safety – Intermediate at the top. Click on the second worksheet in the list, which says Modals Worksheet – (“Have to/Don’t have to”).

As another example, let’s say that a learner is filling out this modals worksheet. She answered number one correctly, but she wrote, “A learner don’t have to get 100 percent on the written test” for number five. The teacher responds by asking the learner to read number one aloud and asks her to point to the place in the chart at the top of the worksheet that shows the correct answer. Then the teacher asks her to read number five aloud and to point to the chart. If she points to the wrong place the teacher will tell her that it is in a different place on the chart.

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