There is an expectation from some students for the teacher to provide as much feedback as possible, whether it is related to one of the skills speaking, reading, pronunciation, writing, etc. In fact, when students produce some written work in their L2, teachers usually go through the writing and provide some feedback. In today’s article, I will look at how to proceed with errors in writing. There have three main approaches to correcting student written work – there is a forth but I will not go into this in this post.

The first approach to providing correction and feedback on student writing is correcting everything that the student has submitted to the teacher. This is quite a traditional approach to writing, but it may impact on student confidence towards writing in their second language. The second approach to written correction is providing feedback on selected parts of a student’s writing. This will not overwhelm a student, and usually a teacher will choose a paragraph to analyse with some feedback. The final approach to providing feedback or correction for writing, is with the use of symbols or a coding system. The coding system relates to the particular error, with the teacher drawing student attention towards the error in the hopes that awareness of the issues.

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In this article, I share ten common codings that teachers can incorporate with their written feedback for students. Obviously, before attempting to incorporate a coding system, I would recommend that teachers introduce this system to students in the classroom before immediately handing back any written work. Students will need to become accustomed to this style of feedback and it is more learner-centred, with students having to discover the problems with their text. Therefore, learner training and tutoring is a valuable and necessary part when including this style of error correction and feedback.

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