Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bad reasons why your teacher might not correct all your mistakes

If at least one of the reasons above is true, there is no need to complain about your teacher or be suspicious of how they teach you. Not all teachers are perfect, however, so if you think it is one of the reasons below you might want to think about talking to your teacher, talking to the school manager or changing classes:
  1. The teacher is lazy - This is not likely to be the reason why they don't correct you more often, as stopping students when they make mistakes is easier for most teachers than, for example, designing classes where students speak a lot or teaching students to listen to fast speech.
  2. The teacher doesn't know you are making mistakes - All native speakers know when a non-native speaker says something that a native speaker wouldn't say, so this is only possible if you have a non-native teacher. If so, try asking them a direct question about whether something you say is correct or not. Even if they are still not sure, they can then go away and check in a book in the teachers' room or ask one of their colleagues.
  3. The teacher doesn't know how to explain why what you said is wrong - This could be because the teacher is someone who has learnt English naturally and so doesn't know how to explain it, because the question is far above the level of the class, the question is above the level of the teacher, or that it is a part of language that there is no explanation for. You can help your teachers to become less nervous about answering such questions by allowing them to explain things to you another day after thinking about it and by sometimes accepting "There is no reason why the language is like that".
  4. The teacher doesn't believe in error correction as a way of learning language - Some language learners and teachers believe that people should learn English as a Foreign Language exactly how babies learn their own language, without any error correction. The majority of teachers and researchers believe, however, that the right amount of error correction done at the right time and in the right way is a very important factor in successful language learning. If your teacher lets several classes pass with no error correction at all, try asking them if there is a special reason and if there will be more error correction in future classes.