Correcting errors in spoken English.

In my English lessons I sometimes I find there is a tension between the correction of errors on the one hand, and the desire for communicative fluency on the other, and it can be relatively tricky to achieve a balance between the two.

It is difficult (and often counter productive)to interrupt group discussions that are in full flow in order to correct grammar or pronunciation and, although it can be much easier to correct errors when working one-to-one with a student, even then it can be distracting for the student to be stopped, corrected, and then have to continue where they left off.

Making a note of errors during activities for follow up work in successive lessons works to an extent, but I find this is not always satisfactory either.

I recently asked one of my student’s opinions on this, and she said that she much preferred to be corrected as soon as it was clear she had made a mistake. She felt that going over corrections at a later date was not very useful because the mistakes had often been forgotten by then, and discussions about the ‘mistake’ were out of context and consequently of little use.

How do you feel about error correction?

Do you prefer it if your teacher stops you immediately she or he recognizes an error, and then explains the language point to you?

Or do you prefer to carry on talking and then discuss any grammar or pronunciation problems when you have finished your speaking activity?

Photo by *clairity*