Correcting Writing in TEFL
My method of correcting writing depends on the students and the purpose of their writing. If I am correcting a students writing who is preparing for an exam, I try to be more rigorous with their errors. On occasions where a student has produced a piece of writing for extra practice, I will highlight the main and most frequent errors within their work.
A reoccurring problem that I have identified when correcting essays or writing questions, is that students do not tend to follow a structure. I encourage all of my students when doing a piece of writing to do a brainstorm before putting pen to paper. This allows the student to follow a clear structure and to be aware of the topics that they want to discuss within their writing. When correcting essays, I highlight to the student the importance of conciseness within their work. Students can often not answer the question correctly or discuss a certain topic for an unnecessary amount of time. I then use this opportunity to highlight to the student again the usefulness of brainstorming prior to starting the essay.
Before I make any corrections to an essay, I read the entire piece of work to gain an understanding of what the student is to say and to identify common errors that they have made throughout the essay. If a student has made several mistakes within their work, I will not highlight every mistake. Correcting every mistake on a students work can be demoralising for the student as more often than not, people focus on the errors that they make rather than the positive. I then use this opportunity to speak with the student face to face to explain specific errors that they have made and provide them with guidance or further exercises that they can complete to improve on their writing.
If I have a class with a student who is preparing for an exam and wants to use the class time to focus on their writing skills, I will encourage the student to prepare a writing task prior coming to the class. During the class I will have the student read their essay aloud, which then gives me the opportunity to note any errors that they have made. I have noticed that this approach also allows the student to notice their own mistakes as the errors that they have made are noticed when reading their essay aloud. I then go over the writing with the student focusing on the grammar and the format of the essay. When writing mock reading essays, it is important for the student to follow the structure of introduction, main body, and conclusion. I then explain to the student that if this structure is not followed, they may be marked down in their exam.