Feedback in your EFL class. There are so many things to consider and so many things that could go wrong! You don’t want to give too much or too little, does it even work? Do students actually retain the feedback you’ve given them?
This is why I think it is important to cover the topic of feedback in your EFL class. I feel like it needs a blog post all to itself. I want to make this post as helpful as possible for TEFL teachers so I’m going to give you tips and advice that I have learned over the years to help you give effective and worthwhile feedback.
I worked on the subject of feedback a lot during my masters and really tried out different techniques during my practical teaching module. I found it really interesting and was really able to delve into trying different techniques to see what worked and what didn’t. Don’t worry I’m not going to write a thesis here. I’m going to break it down into actionable items that you can apply to your teaching.
3 Key Points to Consider When Giving Feedback in Your EFL Class
- You don’t want to make students feel ashamed or embarrassed by pointing out their mistakes in front of their classmates or constantly correcting them during class.
- You want to avoid cutting students off when they are speaking (unless it is interfering with their communication so much that they can’t be understood).
- You want to make sure that students understand your feedback and retain it so that they actually correct the mistake.
So, based on these three points let’s take a look at how this translates to giving effective and worthwhile feedback.
How to Give Effective and Worthwhile Feedback
- Do not correct every mistake! Focus on the specific task you’re teaching in class, repetitive mistakes that students are making, or mistakes that actually impede their communication.
- Don’t interrupt them during an activity, instead write down any mistakes or corrections you want to follow-up with and then give feedback once they are finished and there is a natural pause in the lesson. To help with this, you could even include specific times for feedback in your lesson plan.
- Rather than just giving students corrections, give them the chance to correct it first!
- For speaking – write the mistake on the board (white or virtual) and see if the student(s) can see what they did wrong. If they struggle, offer them options to choose from, or give them a clue. If you have a group, put up the mistakes of all the students and have them correct them together.
- For writing – circle or highlight the mistakes and see if the student can identify them and correct them themselves.
- Make sure that the correction sticks by giving them a practice activity to make sure that they understand the feedback and can apply it. This can be a simple and repetitive task or worksheet that has them practice the correction a number of times. With speaking or pronunciation, simply repeat the words and have them model your pronunciation (make sure the word is in a sentence for more realistic pronunciation). You can also give them video, online or listening resources to practice outside of class.
And that folks, is how you give effective and worthwhile feedback!
Want more information on lesson planning? Check out my blog posts:
- Step by Step Guide to a Killer ESL Lesson Plan
- How to Make a Lesson Plan with the PPP Method
- 7 Steps to Structure an Incredible ESL Conversation Lesson
How do you give feedback to your students? Comment Below!