Three ways to correct students’ speech
TEACHERS constantly come across this dilemma: whether to correct the way students speak and encourage accuracy; or not correct and encourage fluency.
In general, interrupting your students when they make mistakes risks making them nervous and hesitant speakers. So when students are involved in speaking practice, delayed correction is better.
You should listen while the students are talking and make mental notes of the most important mistakes. Let them complete the activity. Then you draw attention to the mistake and invite the student to correct it. Most mistakes in speaking are what we call “slips”. Slips are mistakes that the student can correct if you draw attention to them.
The techniques below may be used for both immediate and delayed correction.
Asking for repetition without indicating the mistake
Many teachers use a rolling movement of the hand to ask the student to repeat the sentence without indicating where the mistake occurs. In many cases students will be able to self-correct it when you have indicated there is a mistake.
Drawing attention to mistakes and prompting self-correction
Many teachers use their fingers to indicate the position of mistakes and prompt the student to self-correct. For example, if a student wants to say “The motorcycle was invented in 1885,” but actually says, “The motorcycle was invent in 1885.” You can do the correction in the following way.
Step 1: Put up three fingers.
Step 2: Touch the first finger and say IN.
Step 3: Touch the second finger and say VENT.
Step 4: Touch the third finger and look at the student with a questioning facial expression to encourage him/her to correct the mistake.
Sometimes the student cannot self-correct (although they should always be given the opportunity). In this case you can prompt another student to provide the correction. After doing this, return to the original student for the self-correction.
Beware of allowing only two or three students in the class to become the ones who always provide peer correction. Correction of mistakes should be a task shared by all the students in the class.
许多老师利用手指来暗示学生所说的句子中哪些地方错了。例如:学生想要表达“The motorcycle was invented in 1885”，但是实际上却说成“The motorcycle was invent in 1885”（动词时态没有用过去时），这时老师应该按照以下步骤去做:
Drama techniques to get them talking
DRAMA techniques, which focus on getting across meaning with body language, as well as words, are very useful for the language classroom. The following activities appeal to reluctant students.
Words with mime and movement
This is an activity to revise recently learnt vocabulary. You may do this in the following way:
Step 1: Students sit or stand in a circle with you in the center.
Step 2: Select a word from a pile of word cards.
Step 3: Ask the first student to start the game. This student steps into the circle and either mimes the meaning of the word with body/hand movements or says the word with a voice reflecting the meaning of the word.
Slow = said very slowly or with a slow swaying movement of the arms.
Frightened = a look of fear on the face or a tone of terror.
Step 4: The first player steps back into the circle.
Step 5: Each student in the circle must repeat the word to memorize it.
Step 6: Continue around the circle in a clockwise fashion, giving a new word for each student to try out.
Get message across with mime
It can be helpful to put students in the shoes of a foreigner who has to get their meaning across with mime, gesture and sound effects. This practices communication survival techniques. You may do this in the following way.
Step 1: Put a pack of cards at the front. Each card contains a sentence or question a foreigner needs to say.
Step 2: Ask the first student to come to the front and pick a card. He/she must then use the sentence to try and make himself/herself understood to the rest of the class. They are not allowed to speak but may do sound effects if necessary.
Step 3: The other students guess and say what the sentence is. You may invite suggestions from them.
With higher levels, you can lead into a discussion on how people react to foreigners who cannot speak their language. For example, do they think volume makes a difference in understanding?
True / False stories
THIS speaking activity is effective for practicing the telling of stories and for learning fascinating things about the students in the class.
Step 1: Tell the students an interesting story about yourself and describe in detail what happened.
Step 2: At the end of the story, give them an opportunity to ask you questions about the story.
Step 3: Ask them to decide if they think the story is true or false. You may discuss the details.
Step 4: Let students make up their own stories. You may put the students into groups of two and tell them to prepare two stories for the class. Each student must have one story to tell; in a pair one story must be true and one must be false. The important thing is that the false stories must be realistic and the true stories must be unusual.
Step 5: Ask each group, in turn, to come to the front of the class and tell the rest of the students their stories.
Step 6: After each story is told, the class ask some questions about it. When all in the group have told their stories, ask the students to decide which is true and which is false.
Step 7: When all the groups have finished their stories, conduct a feedback session and highlight the effective language that was used as well as the language that needs to be worked on.
It can be time-consuming talking in front of a large class so it would be a good idea to match groups to tell each other their stories.
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