Unit 32. Giving Feedback

One way to motivating learners is by providing feedback. We talk to the learners about skills, behavior, attitudes to learning and their progress. We provide feedback to the whole class or to individuals.

We can provide feedback either in written form or orally.

Teachers give feedback on pronunciation, behavior or progress. They could be on grammatical mistakes or for encouragement. They could be on attitudes, ideas or on language.

Feedback should be positive. We need to focus on the positive aspects of the students’ learning rather than in their negative aspects. Focusing on the positive aspects help weaker of less confident students.

When should we provide feedback? at any time. While monitoring or during a lesson. At the beginning or at the end of a lesson.

Use the TKT glossary to find the meaning of these terms: get students’ attention, one-to-one, seating arrangement.






Unit 31. Correcting Learners

Whenever me correct learners we do two different -but related- things: we show them they’ve made a language mistake, but at the same time we show them the grammatical form.

There are certain techniques that are used to correct oral mistakes. There are other techniques that are useful to correct written mistakes. We also distinguish among types of mistakes: errors, mistakes, slips of the tongue.

How can we correct oral mistakes?

1. Drawing a timeline.

Interesting fact. The timeline should be culturally acceptable: this means it should be meaningful. For example, did you know that the Chinese concept of time is a vertical one? the Mandarin word for before (past) is “up” and the word for after (future) is “down”. So whenever you use timelines to teach or correct mistakes, make sure your students share you cultural background.

2. Finger correction and Gestures or facial expressions

4. Phonemic symbols

5. Echo correcting

6. Identifying the mistake and have the students become aware of it.

7. Not correcting at the time the mistake was made in order to promote fluency.

8. Peer and self correction

9. Ignoring mistakes. We must not correct every single mistake students make. Remember making mistakes is part of developing their interlanguage.


How can we correct written mistakes?

1. Teacher correction

2. Peer correction

3. Self-correction

4. Ignoring the mistake

In the classroom, we use a mix of teacher correction, peer correction and self-correction. Sometimes correction is needed, sometimes it is enough just to indicate the students there is a mistake.

The technique we choose to correct depends on the type of mistake the student has made.

Some techniques are more suitable for certain types of mistake. For example, finger correction is usually done to correct oral mistakes.

Try using some different correction techniques in your classes.

Unit 30. Grouping students

A language classroom should be fun!

This is accomplished by usually, adding lots of variety to the class activities. This variety includes grouping students. Whether we have a large class or a small one, individual, pair and group work is done.

The way we group our students together and the way they communicate to each other within that group or in open class is called Interaction Patterns.

When we write our lesson plans, we plan a column for interaction patterns:

Ss → Ss (students to students(groupwork))

Ss → T (students to teacher (feedback))

T→Ss (Whole class)

S→S (pairwork)

When grouping students, teachers need to take into account their learning styles (see unit 13), needs, personalities, level and age. Since teachers know their students, teachers know who should work with whom. Teachers need to consider the aim and the personalities of the students as well. For example, there is always a dominant one. Should we have him work with a less talkative one?

Grouping students also depends on the class size. With classes with more than 30 learners, pair and group work is possible, but it requires more careful planning

Look at this glossary of terms for lesson planning.

If you are currently teaching, try out different groupings and interaction patterns. Analyse the results later.


Unit 29. Teacher Roles

The teacher uses different roles in the language classroom:


Informer: the teacher gives the learners detailed information about the language or about an activity.


Monitor, because the teacher goes around the class during individual, pair and group work activities, checking learning.

Involver, who makes sure all the learners are taking part in the activities



Resource, because the teacher can be used by the learners for help and advice.

Our roles as teachers change according to the age, the level and the needs of our students.

If we choose our roles appropriately, this will help with the correct flow of the classes

Nowadays, the roles of the language teacher is changing. Technology has been added to language classes.

Some roles (parent, friend) are more suitable for younger learners than for adults

Our roles change as the lesson is developed:

Since lessons have stages, there are role changes in different stages:

Before the lesson: we are planners and diagnosticians, since we need to anticipate problems

During the lesson: presenters, monitors, informers, managers and resources

After the lesson: planners and diagnosticians again

Think on a lesson you have had recently. Which of the teacher roles discussed above do you think the teacher used in the lesson? which roles were missing from that lesson? Can you think of times in the lesson when they might have been suitable?

Look at your TKT glossary. Look for the words informer, monitor, diagnostician, involver, planner, manager.

Unit 28. Categorizing learners’ mistakes

Learners make mistakes related to either accuracy or communication, in oral or written forms. Knowing that it is precisely through mistakes that learners learn, we need to learn to categorize them and decide which to correct and which to ignore.

Use this link to become familiar with categorizing mistakes.

If we correct every single mistake students make, we may be demotivating them. We need then, to reflect and think which errors should be corrected and which should not.

Try using a simple correction code for correcting learners’ written work in our class. Remember you will have to demonstrate to learners what they are meant to do and show them what the different symbols mean.

Practice Exercises

Match the types of syntactic errors with the examples.


This exam is more easy than the previous one.

Wrong tense


He must to study very hard in order to pass.

Wrong verb pattern


What you do if you won a million pounds?

Wrong preposition


I have eaten a lot of fish last week.

Wrong adverb form


I run fastly so that I could get home just in time for my favourite TV programme.

Wrong comparative form


Stop looking at you in the mirror!

Wrong word order


He makes always the same mistake

Missing auxiliary verb


In the one hand, you are not as smart as you claim to be…

Missing preposition


Oh no! Professor Messner is giving a lecture today. I hate reading!!

Wrong pronoun

Negative transfer

Match the sentences with the types of mistakes they have

1 Thank you for come and visit us! Wrong word order
2 Can you put these papers in the red carpet please? Extra word
3 The crocodile broke the comunication Wrong vocabulary/collocation
4 International languages are english and chinese. Word missing
5 Why birds that can’t fly come back in winter? Wrong tense
6 If I had known you were coming, I wouldn’t show up Wrong agreement
7 It is clarified how people with time began to speak different languages Spelling
8 I am agree with you Punctuation
1 Are you doctor? Wrong word choice
2 I live in Germany since 30th August 2006 Wrong punctuation
3 I hope I can fullfil your expectations Wrong tense
4 Her aunts children’s are too many! Wrong spelling
5 When you come to Germany? Word missing
6 Do you like dogs? Yes, I like Auxiliary missing
7 Whose that man? I have no idea! Collocation problem
8 She’s married with Victor Wrong agreement


Carlos’s motorcycle is that one Wrong word choice


Finally I’m back! I’m completely recovered now! Wrong punctuation


/kæˈtɪgərɪ/ Wrong tense


Admitance to dogs is banned here Wrong spelling


People is always criticizing each other! Extra Word


The actual, 2012 Paraguayan President is Federico Franco. Wrong stress


I am agree with you Collocation problem


Cervantes has written Don Quijote Wrong agreement

Unit 27. Identifying the functions of learners’ language

Learners need a set of phrases, vocabulary and expressions that help get effective communication. This is done through interaction both with the teacher and with their peers.

Learners need vocabulary to get the teacher’s attention, go to to toilette, ask for vocabulary or the meaning of a word; asking how to say a given word in English.

Among some of the functions of learner’s language we can identify:


Asking for clarification.

Checking information and understanding

Saying goodbye

Appropriacy must be taught. The language learners use might be formal or informal, depending on the context in which it happens.

Our learners need to understand the classroom language of the teacher. They need to be able to understand instructions for class activities, and should be able to ask for clarification when needed. This language is not usually taught in their textbooks, but it is an essential part of learning English.

Here are eight examples of learner language. Which function does each one express?

A Can you say that again, please?

B I don’t have the same answer

C See you tomorrow

D Is it page 25 or 35?

E What do you think?

F Yes, I totally agree with you

G Well, I think this is the best answer

H Hi!

If you thought that A was asking for repetition, you were right. Disagreeing and saying goodbye for B & C respectively works too! Asking for clarification for D and asking for an opinion for E shows you are in the right track. Agreeing for F and Offering an opinion for G as well as greeting for H finishes the list.

Observe an English class. Listen to the students’ language. What functions can you identify? Do you think they have the necessary vocabulary to survive in the English class? What about reading this Unit 28 Learner_Language?

Use the TKT Glossary to find the meaning of these terms: hesitate, respond.

Further reading: Unit 28 Second-Language-Stages and Learner_Language.

Unit 26. Using language appropriately for a range of classroom functions

We teachers can exploit classroom language, as to create a routine in the students’ learning process. We may easily give instructions in English, usually with not even the need of explaining meaning. Read, listen to me, repeat after me, open your books, are common expressions that are used in a daily basis in language classrooms. We could even have a list of phrases or expressions that are used in classroom contexts, and count them, as to motivate beginners of how much they already know.

We do not only use language to give instructions. We use it to explain as well. We explain rules of a game, or how an activity is done. We also explain the meaning of vocabulary. 

When we tell stories or anecdotes, we use narration. This is another very good use of teacher language in the English classroom.


Prompting. In order to spare awkward silent moments, teachers usually use prompting. In this way the learner still gives an answer, but just with a little extra help from the teacher.

Correcting. We use specific language to correct all the time. Learners get use to this language and learn lots of these expressions that do not normally find in their textbooks.

Checking learning. We do this by using check questions. The “do you understand” expression does not necessarily work. That is why a concept question is necessary.

We need to take into account that the language that the teacher uses in the classroom must be suitable and appropriate for the learners’ level, age and function in the class.

Our language should be graded, as the level of the students increase. We need to start with simple language in order to get to more sophisticated forms of language. This is done gradually, following a logical sequence.


Do you think it is worthwhile to plan even the language you will be using in the classroom?

Do you think it is actually possible to speak in English in class 1, level 1 for 1 whole hour? Watch this:

Use the TKT glossary to find the meaning of these terms for classroom functions: define, model, nominate.

Try writing a st of instructions for an activity for your learners. You can choose from activities here.