Feedback on spoken language

Learners can make many kinds of spoken or written language mistakes. Knowing the kinds of mistakes learners make when using a second language, possible reasons why they make these kinds of mistakes, and effective ways of dealing with mistakes can help a CLIL teacher decide how to deal with language mistakes and give feedback on them in their lessons.

CLIL subject teachers can face problems giving feedback on their learners’ language. They may not be able to explain a grammar rule, or may not know or understand why it is that a learner is making a mistake or what learners find difficult about a grammatical item. They may not be aware that a learner is making a mistake, or they may be unsure whether it is a mistake or not. How much feedback a subject teacher gives will vary depending on the subject teacher’s own confidence in and knowledge about English. In some cases, subject teachers may want to involve the English teacher; in many cases they will feel okay giving feedback themselves.


In this clip, the teacher corrects the pronunciation of the learner by repeating what the learner said, using the correct pronunciation: Oesophagus. This type of feedback is called a recast and is comparatively implicit – the teacher does not actually say that the pupil has said something that is incorrect. She also explains the meaning and use of the word by linking it to a word the learners already know. This will help learners to store the word and re-create it the next time they need it. This clip was filmed at Calvijn Groene Hart in Barendrecht. The learners are first year Mavo/Havo/VWO pupils (average age 12-13), The subject is Biology and the teacher is Caroline van Paassen.




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