Honorata Fryder-Michalczyk, 2010-05-19

Język angielski, Artykuły

IMPLEMENTING PEER-CORRECTION. Artykuł w języku angielskim.

- n +


According to Bartram and Walton (1991:81) the active involvement of students in the process of dealing
with mistakes is recommended for three reasons. Firstly, active, involved students learn better. An active process
of managing the mistakes involves the students intellectually and is therefore likely to be more effective. Secondly, it induces a more cooperative atmosphere in class. Finally, there is less focus on the teacher.
When students write or speak in the lesson they have a chance to rehearse language production in safety, experimenting with different genres that they will use
in future away from the classroom. When students are working on their language production, they should be operating towards the communicative end of the communication continuum (Harmer 2001:249). Language production means using any piece of language that is within one’s disposal in order to achieve a communicative purpose rather than being limited to specific practice points. However, skill training is not always communicative in itself. Teaching is often fairly controlled and involves a great deal of teacher intervention and correction. It can be lessen by means of peer-correction.


Class activities that develop learners’ ability
to express themselves through speech seem an important component of a language course because people who know
a language are referred to as ‘speakers’ of that language
(Ur 2000:120). There are several elements necessary
for spoken production. One of them is connected speech which is not only the ability to produce the individual phonemes
of English but also to omit, add, weaken or modify them. Secondly, expressive devices, that is the ability to change the pitch and stress, vary the volume and speed of the voice, use of other physical and non-verbal means to convey meanings. The third element of spoken production is lexicon and grammar as spontaneous speech is notable by the use of a number of common lexical phrases. Finally, negotiation language used to seek clarification and to show the structure of what is being said (Harmer 2001:269). They are all practiced in speaking activities.
In controlled speaking activities as well as in freer speaking activities pair or group work is very important. This increases the amount of learner talk going
on in a limited period of time and also encourages participation of those who are unwilling to talk in front
of the class. But it is also a good opportunity to try student-student correction which can often be delayed.
There are many useful techniques that allow peer-correction during speaking activities:
- who can help? – if the teacher indicates that there is
a mistake and a student who has made it cannot correct
it the teacher can ask anyone from the class to put
the sentence right; after peer-correction the teacher should go back to the student who made the mistake and ask him/her
to repeat the right version.
- hot cards – the teacher prepares pieces of paper
with students’ names and mistakes they noted during the activity. The cards are given to the students as a chance to work in pairs or groups (Bartram and Walton 1991:60);
- open ‘remedial’ session – after a speaking activity
the mistakes are put on the blackboard or the overhead projector and the students are asked to correct them
in pairs, groups or as the whole class (Bartram and Walton 1991:62);
- fishbowl – the class is divided into two groups; one sit
in the center of the classroom for a discussion, whereas
the other group sit around and listen silently for the mistakes; summary of the most common mistakes is put on the blackboard for class, group or pair work; if a tape recorder or video recorder is available one group can do both things – discussion and correction (Lopez 1998:37);
- caught on tape – students’ presentations are recorded
and then the students are asked to point out problematic areas and words for their classmates (Lopez 1998:37);
- observer technique – the class work in groups; one person (an observer) in each group listens and notes down some mistakes the others have made; then the observer shows
the other students what s/he has written down and the group discuss what is correct and what is wrong (Edge 1989:43).
Once the students get used to the idea of peer-correction
in speaking activities it will bring some advantages. Firstly, the students are encouraged to make their own decisions about correctness. This gives them more responsibility for their use of language. Moreover stronger students can be helpful to weaker learners in finding and correcting mistakes, and vice versa, weaker students can help stronger students by bringing to their attention mistakes they make.


According to Harmer (2001:255) a written text has
a number of conventions that distinguish it from speaking. Apart from differences in grammar and vocabulary, there are issues of handwriting, spelling, layout and punctuation. Layout conventions in writings such as letters, reports
and publicity are different for different communities, which sometimes cause problems in writing tasks. To be successful as writers students need to be aware of these layouts, use them and modify them if necessary to make the message as clear as possible. To help those students who have problems with layout the teacher can get the students to work in groups.
Many students find it difficult to see their own mistakes so receiving feedback from the teacher in a form of comments and corrections in the text they have produced can be helpful. However, some learners may find it very discouraging if they get a piece of written work back
and it is covered in red ink, underlinings and crossings-out (Harmer 1998:84). Correction is worthless if students just put their corrected writing away and never look at it again. That is why peer-correction may be very efficient in writing. Correcting each other’s works is much more challenging than simply copying out correct answers. When two or more students work together on correcting each other’s work, the discussion helps each one to learn from his or her own mistakes. Many students have difficulty in seeing their own mistakes, even if a teacher has given them a signal as to what sort of a mistake it is. Cooperation helps students develop an ability to see their own mistakes.
As in speaking activities, there are many peer-correction techniques to try out in the classroom. One of them is correction group. This technique is useful especially
for groups of students with whom writing is done regularly. The class is divided into groups. One group is not writing – they are given last lesson’s papers marked but not corrected by the teacher. Each student in correction group has her or his paper to work on and some others to look
at. In the meantime the rest of the class are writing another paper. In the last part of the lesson the correction group explains the corrections they have made (Edge, 1989:54).
Another example is correction competition. In this technique mistakes are written on the blackboard and the class is divided into groups. The teacher reads the sentences and one group is to say if it is correct or not and put the sentences right if necessary (Edge 1989:55).
Underlining mistakes is the technique that requires
the class work in groups or pairs. They are to correct
the mistakes indicated by the teacher. The teacher can also show the students what kind of mistakes they have made
by using correction code but s/he has to remember to explain the code to the students (Bartram and Walton 1991:83).
In search and correct technique the mistakes are indicated in the margin without underlining them. The teacher can vary the level of difficulty using different symbols. Correction code, a cross for each mistake or a cross for each line with a mistake can be used. Students in pairs or groups find and correct the mistakes (Kolomiyets 1996:52).
Another example of peer-correction in writing is composite essay. The teacher creates composite essay using good
and problematic bits from a number of students’ work.
It is given to the students to discuss and correct, together, in groups or pairs (Scrivener 1994:160)
The basic idea is to give the students some enjoyment and build up their confidence while they are concentrating
on accuracy. At the same time they are getting used
to cooperating with fellow students to correct their own mistakes (Edge, 1989:56). Learners should be as much involved in the process of correction as possible because in this way they can learn from each other and gain more autonomy.
Students may find peer-correction difficult at first especially in speaking activities. The teacher can help them by limiting the corrections to one aspect (for example grammar, pronunciation, words and phrases, spelling) or referring them to literature. However, if learners get used
to student-student correction, it will be very beneficial for both students and the teacher.

Bartram, M., and Walton, R. 1991. Correction. Mistake
Management – A Positive Approach for Language Teachers.
Hove: Language Teaching Publications.
Edge, J., 1989. Mistake and Correction. London: Longman
Harmer, J., 1998. How to Teach English. Edinburgh Gate:
Harmer, J., 2001. Practice of English Language Teaching.
Edinburgh Gate: Longman.
Kolomiyets, V., 1996. “Correcting Written Work: A Way to
Develop Self-control”. Modern English Teacher 5/3.
Scrivener, J., 1994. Learning Teaching. A Guidebook for
English Language Teachers. Oxford: Heineman.
Lopez, M., 1998. “Looking for Ideas about Error Correction?
Try One of These”. English Teaching Forum 36/2. 37-38.
Ur, P., 1991. A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge
University Press.

Honorata Fryder-Michalczyk
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