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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > Mistakes used for remedial teaching    

Mistakes used for remedial teaching

sea camel

Mistakes used for remedial teaching

Hello guys

Something keeps bothering me... Is it OK to use mistakes as example of how pupils shouldn �t write? I know it �s not really the way to go according to the books but it seems to me a good thing to do. 
Well, let �s explain this more clearly... I decided to put up �A4 posters � in class every week. I only teach my classes two hours a week and by putting up these posters I confront them with  �good English � all the time (although it �s only one step at the time).  On these posters I write DON �T+the sentence with the mistake (only the mistake in small strikethrough print) and DO+ the correct sentence (the corrected mistake in large print). By doing this I want to improve the use of correct English (And focus a bit of their attention on the mistakes that show up almost every time they write). They like it and I �m happy doing this.
But today one of the teachers told me that it is absolutely wrong to show pupils any mistake even in my (humble) poster... My pupils are probably going to remember the wrong words instead of the correct ones...
What do you think? Is it really wrong? Even the way I do it? I �d love to read your opinions!
Hugs from Belgium!

20 Nov 2009      


Hi Kristien!

What an interesting topic! I happen to have gone through a similar experience to yours. I used to use exercises where students had to choose the correct option and leave out incorrect words. But a teacher told me that those kind of activities were wrong as they might help students fossilize the wrong words and wrong grammar instead of the correct ones.
Since then, I stopped using exercises where there are misspelt words, grammatically incorrect sentences because I was concerned it might have an opposite effect and /or confuse students.
Yet, I see in several books that these type of activities are allowed... so I don �t know..

I �d love to read other �s opinion on this subject too! It �s very important.

Thank you for bringing this up!


20 Nov 2009     


Hi there
sometimes I use students � mistakes as a worksheet - I prepare a worksheet with their sentences. Then, with my help, they try to correct them and then I �ll explain why it is that way and not the way they had written. And if some of them don �t understand I try to create a similar situation and I �ll give them further explanation on the topic. Most of the time I have good results. However, a few students can �t get the point of it.! Not all students are keen on language learning!
In my opinion, I believe it �s importat they know and recognize mistakes. Most important even, it �s the fact they can correct them and understand why it is a mistake. We all learn from mistakes, don �t we? :) Besides, there �s no receipe for teaching, all depends on you and on your students.
I suppose it �s a good exercise, better than if you correct their mistakes on a paper without an individual explanation...
Good work:) and keep trying new experiences!

20 Nov 2009     


Well, in my opinion I think it�s a good thing to use this type of exercises. Something important about this is to make the wrong words meaningful or trying to recreate the mistakes that are common in students, mistakes that we as teachers know in advance that the students will make. It also depends on your student �s native language. For example I use this type of activities for common mistakes made by Spanish speakers (I teach in Mexico)
best ragards
Cesar B.

20 Nov 2009     


Hmm... I agree to some extent with some teachers not wanting students to see how things are written wrong in case "it sticks" as the correct way of spelling or doing it.  BUT only if the students are kids... like young kids since they absorb things easily but at times have the awful tendency to sometimes absorb the wrong things and later confuse them as being right!!

Now, if the students are "tweens" (12+) heading to teenagers or adults, then I can �t see it as not being a bad thing. It �s just another way of teaching spelling or grammar points.  

20 Nov 2009