Language learners will benefit from corrective feedback that makes them retrieve the target language form (rather than immediately supplying the correct form). The retrieval and subsequent production stimulates the development of connections in the learner’s memory.
Correcting student errors is necessary in order to help students improve their skills. However, how one goes about correcting the errors and in what situations can make a significant difference in how the correction is received by the student.
In one of my teaching units, Basic Interpreting Skills, “coping tactics” are a very fundamental practical skill in interpreting. Basically, they are taught within the framework of practical exercises. In most training programs, this is done by trial and correction, with trial on the student's part and corrections from the instructor (Gile, 1995). In class, through various simulation and role playing activities, I tend to apply Explicit Recast – this recast is clear and very direct on what has to be corrected; it clearly indicates that what was said was incorrect, and helps the student notice one thing in particular which needs to be corrected. This is common corrective feedback in large groups of students where the teacher’s time is limited.
Isolated explicit error correction is usually ineffective in changing language behavior. Error feedback can be effective, but it must be sustained over a period of time, and it must be focused on something which learners are actually capable of learning.
Teachers must know their students in order to gauge what kind of error correction should be used. In my diverse class (culture and language), it is very important to recognize that the students are all different or unique in their own ways. Some students are very form-focused and really want explicit correction; some students are less form-focused and will feel criticized by too much correction. It can be a risk a teacher takes when correcting students in oral communication that the student will be reluctant to try again in the future. Therefore teachers must foster an environment in the classroom that is forgiving of mistakes and encouraging of risks.
Daniel Gile Basic 1995
Concepts and Models for Interpreter and Translator Training, John Benjamins