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Self-Correction
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Self-correction demonstrates comprehension of and responsibility for the language. It builds awareness of the language, in turn leading to more self-sufficient speakers. It makes students more confident speakers too. With the large effect of these positives, teachers should want to strive towards students who can correct themselves.

Students who can self-correct obviously understand the mistake, catch it, and make the necessary adjustments to their language production. It thus allows the teacher to gauge understanding and application of the target language. If a student can make the necessary correction to newly taught information, then it demonstrates he has absorbed the information. Next he needs to apply the target language in real conversation.

Students accept responsibility for their language production too. They rely on current skills to correct the mistake. Yet they also further hone their skills to produce the language more accurately. They become less reliant on the teacher when self-correction gets employed, which in turn develops self-sufficiency skills for use in the real world beyond the help of the teacher and classroom.

With self-correction, there also comes an increased awareness of the language. Students can better notice and correct problem areas, whether these problems result from personal weaknesses or ones connected to their L1. For example, Japanese speakers often drop articles (a, an, and the), as well as confuse gender pronouns (he and she). These sorts of mistakes occur not only with beginners, but with advanced-level students too. In fact, self-correction and increased awareness work in tandem, as consideration of one activates the other. In other words, if students focus on accuracy and correction, perhaps in an activity or exercise set by the teacher, then they monitor their speaking. This improves awareness. If students become more aware of the language, remembering the right grammar, vocabulary, and so on, then they have a greater chance to notice mistakes.

It's important to note that self-correction comes from the individual. Therefore correction can occur during a speaking or writing activity. Students may immediately provide the correction in the middle of a conversation, as when a student says, "I goed to... I mean, I went to the beach yesterday." This is obviously ideal, but it also requires a great deal of awareness of the target language, weaknesses specific to the person and/or his L1, and so on. The teacher can also write mistakes on the board or in a worksheet for students to independently correct.

The teacher doesn't have to wait and hope that students spot their mistakes. He can provide a minor prompt to promote self-correction. He could raise his eyebrow, or say, "Excuse me? What was that?" Such methods unobtrusively and quickly signal a mistake, allowing the student to independently recall what he said and provide the correction. In more extreme cases, perhaps when the teacher needs to develop awareness of a specific problem, he could raise his hand every time the mistake is produced. For example, every time a student fails to conjugate a verb into the past tense, the teacher raises his hand for the student to go back, assess, and correct.

Despite the benefits, there are a number of negatives. Self-correction may require a great deal of time, especially if students struggle to identify the mistake. They may even wrongly identify a correct sentence or phrase, spending time on an area that doesn't need correction. They may even be completely unable to spot the mistake, even when it's level relevant and previously studied. In terms of errors, even ones that the teacher identifies as important and prime for a teachable moment, students won't catch them. Lastly, if students try to correct too much, then fluency suffers as they solely focus on accuracy, monitoring all language produced.

It should be noted that all of the above negatives can be exasperated if the teacher pushes for self-correction but hasn't engendered a student-centered class. If students are more familiar with the teacher almost always providing examples, feedback, and instructions - in other words, leading the lesson - then any early attempts at self-correction take much longer to resolve. Students will be unused to analyzing the language they produce. It will take longer for them to find the mistakes. The teacher should work towards a student-centered class, allowing everyone to take responsibility for their learning with high STT via questions, examples, and self-assessment.

Despite the few negatives, self-correction addresses a valuable need in the language classroom. It raises awareness of the language, as well as forces students to take a more active and responsible role. Confidence in their language ability also results, as students catch and correct mistakes serve as one means to measure progress.