I read a great email today on an ESL listserv. It was about error correction, an ongoing issue in English-language instruction — if you do it, when to do it, how to do it.
The story is from Abbie Tom:
I had an interesting experience with “error correction” this summer.
I’m a longtime ESL teacher but this time I was on the other side. I
took a drawing class. I am not an artist and have never before had a
drawing class. The instructor never said anything good about my
drawings and, worse, would draw on top of my drawing to “improve”
it! My response (which it took me a while to understand) was to
make smaller and lighter drawings… the same kind of “withdrawal”
ESL students make in similar circumstances.
I agree. How often do we expect students to be open to correction, and yet, we as
teachers or anyone for that fact, can’t accept it either. Withdrawal is the first response. Thanks for sharing and reminding all of us that we have to be so careful to build up before correction.