Errors and corrections are all part of the learning and teaching process. We often talk about the importance of a non-threatening environment for the learners. How we take up this initiative dynamically, depends on a lot of linguistic as well as non-linguistic factors. All these factors contribute into the development of a social and emotional progress when it comes to learning in a classroom setting.

Let us a look at a few areas that facilitators can work to create a mistake friendly classroom ---

Give the students a chance to understand the mistakes. It is imperative for the learners to know the reason behind the error and how the correct concepts can improve their learning outcomes. A deductive approach is quite vital for learners to understand their errors.

Instead of being direct about the correct solution, involve the learners in the process of finding the solution. That way the error correction is hands on process and no more a place where the learners memorise the solution. The retention of information is at the maximum and the learners do not shy away from asking about the reason behind their errors.

This brings us to the next part where they become more aware of a concept in a natural way instead of remembering solutions and concepts in chunks. This process makes them rejoice the little personal success times when the students are able to be more persistent and focused on producing good results and excelling at understanding and applying the concepts with real world relevance. A lot of the mistake friendly ways can be deducted from the stages of Bloom’s Taxonomy- remember, understand, apply, analyse, evaluate and create.

With the right attitude of the facilitator, learners can move from the lower order thinking skills to the higher order thinking skills and become more aware of creating learning goals and objectives for themselves.

As a facilitator, it is important for all of us to understand that the mistakes come with multiple roots. Learner A and B can make similar mistakes. However, one might be developmental error and another might be more intrinsic. To consider a mistake as a guidance to know your learner is a rewarding journey to select for oneself. It not only makes you an open-minded person but you are also able to anticipate the errors/mistakes and keep precautionary tools ready while you plan your lesson.


The learning process of the learners follows these generic steps- practice the concept learned, make errors, get the activities reviewed, receive feedback and work around the feedback for improvements. A lot of times the facilitators skip the final part- monitor their improvements. But most of all, how you give feedback, directly makes or breaks the very concept of creating a nonthreatening and mistake friendly environment for the learners.

How the mistakes are corrected can be kept flexible by adopting 3 widely used techniques- self correction, peer correction and teacher correction. While the last type is traditional and absolutely fetches positive results, however, the 21st-century learning design encourages the other two as well.

Due to the technological mesh, the learners today prefer more of a 2-way communication and collaborative approaches in learning. With that being said, teachers need to move ahead with this idea in mind. This is where a lot is done to establish a mistake friendly classroom.

Modern day teacher training courses harp on research backed strategies when it comes to error corrections. As teachers it is important for us to understand that error correction is no more about when I speak you listen or no questions asked. Instead, it is more about analysing the root causes, whether they are linguistic or non-linguistic.

This brings us to the last hack where we need to personalise our mistake correction techniques. That helps you to get rid of ‘where is the time for all this’, ‘we have a syllabus to finish’, etc. The best way to do that is to make yourself aware of the generation you are teaching and how they usually learn. So, when the errors you anticipate usually collide with the expectations.

Written By : Debalina Chakraborty