• Dr. V.S. Gayathri

The Importance of Corrective Feedback!

We all need feedback in life to keep improving ourselves. And it is very important for students and children in their growing years to receive and work of feedback to improve upon their knowledge, behaviour, and skills.

There are many ways to give feedback, especially to students. We as parents and teachers need to understand what would work best for them and deliver feedback in that way, Feedback needs to be constructive and positive. However, that does not mean that we will cover up their mistakes or praise them when they are wrong. It should be communicated in such a way that it is effective and impactful. Effective feedback is given at a time of learning when there is still time to act on it.


Feedback is an essential part of effective learning. It helps students understand the subject being studied and gives them clear guidance on how to improve their learning. Now let us understand what is Corrective Feedback and why is it important.

From a study, it was found that the teachers’ main criterion for effective corrective feedback is raising students’ awareness of the error. Factors affecting teachers’ perceptions of corrective feedback effectiveness can be direct or indirect. Direct factors refer to the manner of corrective feedback, which was determined by reasons including error, teaching focus, audience, learners’ individual differences, teaching experience, and class time. Indirect factors include empathy, cultural stereotypes, and learners’ emotions.’

What is Corrective Feedback?

Corrective or formative feedback has been defined as the communication to the learner that is intended to modify his/her thinking or behaviour for the purpose of improving learning. It redirects students and provides support when they make an error.

For example: "You are right, it happened during the Civil War, but I want you to think about WHY it happened.

When it comes to behaviour, there might be a thin line difference between corrective and positive feedback.

Positive feedback is describing specific behaviour emphasizing the child’s strengths and competencies.

Corrective feedback is describing the behaviour and offering or eliciting an alternative action, asking what he/she could have done differently.

What could be the different forms of Corrective Feedback?

1. Correct answer feedback- The teacher provides the student with the correct answer. Multiple studies have demonstrated that supplying the whole word is more effective than the phonetic emphasis in reducing errors.

2. Recast- Without directly indicating that the student's utterance was incorrect, the teacher implicitly reformulates the student's error, or provides the correction.

3. Error flagging – It involves highlighting where an error occurred when the student’s response includes multiple components, like in mathematics instruction.

4. Elaboration/explanation- The teacher explains in detail, clarifying each point so that the student can reach the correction result.

5. Repetition- The teacher repeats the student's error and adjusts the expression to draw the student's attention to it.

Why Corrective Feedback works?

- It makes the student less defensive. Here, the student is more likely to receive the feedback as a means for you yo help to him/her, instead of criticism.

- It gives the student a behaviour to focus on. This type of feedback gives them options on how to correct their skills. They can focus on their replacement behaviour instead of how they appear to their peers or you.

- It is solution-based. Corrective feedback focuses on the solution, rather than the individual. It focuses on what the child can do, not on what they should have done.

- It is likely to produce the desired result without trouble. When the child begins to try the steps given in the feedback, it is an act of faith in your effort as well. Then, when the altered behaviour meets their needs as well, they will continue to use the steps you suggest.


How to give Corrective Feedback?

  1. Use a calm tone – make sure not to yell or scold.

2. Use a neutral face– you are not giving a punishment, you are giving instruction, so your face should not look angry or upset.

3. Acknowledge their goal– share that you know why they are behaving this way before giving the direction. This way they know you are trying to help them, not hurt them.

4. Give them an alternative give proper directions on the best way to act or behave in the given situation.

5. Know when to communicate one-on-one or in a group – knowing the best time to give feedback is important. If you embarrass your students, they are less likely to receive your feedback. So choose your timing carefully and wisely.

When students made mistakes, did you respond with the following steps:

1. Model the correct answer or process.

2. Lead students to repeat the process correctly with me.

3. Test if students could answer on their own and repeat again (firm-up).

4. Check again for the correct response after a brief period (delayed test)


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