Question: Should I correct all mistakes immediately

Answer: Not all – sometimes it’s better to correct them later. 

You can correct mistakes immediately or later, but when you can you should encourage learners to self-correct. Look at these examples. 

Example 1  

The learners have done a grammar exercise and you are checking answers. A learner says the incorrect sentence: ‘Yesterday I go to my friend’s house.’ The learner knows the past tense.  

Tip: Correct immediately. Gesture backwards/behind you. Wait for the learner to self-correct. Make sure all learners have the correct answer.  

Example 2 

Your learners don’t like speaking English, because they’re afraid of making mistakes. They are working in pairs discussing their favourite food. You are monitoring. Some are making pronunciation mistakes. 

Tip: Correct later. You don’t want to discourage them. Note the pronunciation mistakes and do a short practice drill at the end.  

Which correction techniques will you try with your learners?


Discourage: To make someone feel less confident or positive about something. 

Immediately: Now, at this exact moment. 

Gesture: Non-verbal communication, e.g. using the hands or face. Gestures can be used on their own, or with words. 

Monitoring: The way a teacher watches to see how well an individual, group or class is doing a particular task. 

Self-correct: When a learner realises their mistake and is able to correct it themselves, possibly with some prompting from the teacher.