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Thursday, August 25, 2016 (read 750 times)
 

How to Correct Students' Writing in Spanish Class

by Esther

How to Correct Students' Writing in Spanish Class

If it doesn't work, it's because we're doing it wrong.

A lot of teachers use a lot of their free time correcting Spanish students' written compositions. It is just one more task involved in our line of work and we do it with pleasure, but we don't always get the results we want. We often see our students put their corrected writing away without even looking at it. Of course this is frustrating both because of the time we spend correcting these texts and because we feel there's nothing we can do when they decide not to learn from their mistakes.

Why does this happen? It is not always enough to hand back a paper with the corrections highlighted in another color. Many times it doesn't help students to read over their mistakes and try to memorize them.

However, there is a solution: using a corrections code.

When we correct our students' writing, we tend to hand them the solutions, correcting their writing mistakes for them. This is a mistake. If we complete the corrections for them they will not learn, or at least most students will not learn how to use the corrections in the future. Even those who are able to take some benefit from corrections made for them will not learn as much as they would if we showed them their mistakes and then asked them to figure out how to fix them on their own.

In order to do this, it is best to use a corrections code or proofreading symbols when correcting writing compositions. Later, in writing or editing workshops, created specifically for this purpose, individuals or groups of students will correct errors together. In group editing workshops, students exchange writing compositions and correct the errors they find themselves. They then return the corrected compositions to their owners and as a group, students decide if the corrections provided are appropriate or not.

Workshops like this allow students to learn not only from their own mistakes but also from the mistakes of their fellow students, which they will then be able to avoid. Going over corrections in this way also allows students to reinforce and organize their knowledge, and strengthens the idea that the student is the protagonist of his or her own learning making each student responsible for the same.

Examples of proofreading symbols:

The picture at the top of this post shows one example of proofreading symbols that can be used and adapted to the needs of your students and their language proficiency level. The mechanics of it are very simple. Simply highlight errors in written compositions using these symbols so that students can recognize and correct them. Take a look at the examples below:

  • Tense (T): Ayer The pensadoT en ti.
  • Grammatical Mood (M): Es necesario que MestudiaM.
  • Grammatical Concordance (_): …las camisas rojos.
  • Something's Missing ():porquegusta mucho el helado.
  • Something Extra (X): Me levanto a las 07:15 h y XtomoX desayuno.
  • Check Syntax: {Camino yo mi casa desde.}
  • Inappropriate Lexicon (L): LHierL nosotros bebimos mucho vino blanco.
  • Spelling (O): Y OtamvienO me gusta el chocolate.

The code can be written on an interactive whiteboard, can be projected or you can hand out a copy of it to each group. It is a very simple system and students will be able to learn it quickly.

Do you think you will use this code? Can you think of any ways to improve it? Have you ever used something similar? We hope you'll share your comments with us. Share your experience!


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