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Negative corrective feedback in EFL classes

Iain MTEFL Contributor
Photo by Artem Podrez

Corrective feedback is a crucial aspect of teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) and it is essential to the learning process. However, the type of feedback given by the teacher can have a significant impact on the student’s motivation and engagement. Negative corrective feedback, or feedback that is focused on mistakes, can be discouraging for students and lead to decreased motivation and a negative impact on their confidence. In this article, we will discuss the effects of negative corrective feedback in EFL classes and provide strategies for teachers to use more positive and effective feedback in their classrooms.

Negative corrective feedback can be harmful in several ways. Firstly, it can be disheartening for students and negatively impact their motivation to continue learning. When students receive only criticism and negative comments, they may feel discouraged and lose their confidence in their abilities. This can result in decreased participation in class and a lack of motivation to continue working on their English skills.

Additionally, negative feedback can also harm the teacher-student relationship. Students may feel like their teacher is not supportive of their efforts, leading to a lack of trust and respect. This can also result in decreased engagement in the classroom, and students may become less likely to take risks in their language learning.

Finally, negative feedback can also lead to negative self-esteem. When students constantly receive criticism, they may start to believe that they are not capable of improving their language skills. This can lead to decreased confidence and self-esteem, which can be difficult to overcome.

So, how can teachers use more positive and effective feedback in their EFL classes? Firstly, it is important for teachers to focus on the process, rather than just the outcome. Rather than simply pointing out mistakes, teachers should focus on the learning process and what the student is doing well. This can help students to see that their efforts are being recognized and valued, even if they are not yet perfect.

Another effective strategy is to use feedback that is specific and constructive. Rather than simply saying “that was incorrect,” teachers should be more specific, for example, “you used the wrong tense in this sentence, try using the past simple instead.” This type of feedback provides students with clear and useful information that they can use to improve their language skills.

It is also important for teachers to use a balance of positive and negative feedback. While negative feedback is necessary to help students understand where they need to improve, it should not be the only type of feedback given. Teachers should make sure to give equal amounts of positive feedback, highlighting what the students are doing well and encouraging them to continue working on their skills.

You might be interested in this related article Five ways to give feedback effectively

Finally, teachers should also make sure to give feedback in a supportive and encouraging tone. This can help to build the student’s confidence and ensure that they feel valued and supported in their learning process.

In conclusion, negative corrective feedback can have a harmful impact on EFL students, decreasing motivation, damaging the teacher-student relationship, and leading to negative self-esteem. Teachers can use more positive and effective feedback by focusing on the process, being specific and constructive, using a balance of positive and negative feedback, and giving feedback in a supportive and encouraging tone. By using these strategies, teachers can help their students to feel confident and motivated in their language learning journey.

Iain MTEFL Contributor
Iain has over ten years of experience as an ESL/EFL instructor, teaching students of all ages. He has operated and managed an English language school and is now dedicated to creating teaching material.

Disclaimer  We aim to provide useful ESL and EFL teaching resources and educational ideas. Our articles are written by educators with extension TEFL experience. They contain only general information about teaching English as a foreign language and are meant purely for informational purposes.

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