Corrective feedback: an angel or an angle?

Do you remember the first time a teacher corrected something you said in a classroom? I do. I was 12. It was a Mathematics lesson in Gemlik (Bursa, Turkey) that was being taught in English. The teacher had asked a question. I do not remember, though, what it was exactly about. I raised my hand, stood up, and the teacher walked towards me. I cannot recall the whole answer I gave, but my response included the word “angle” /ˈæŋgl/, which I mispronounced as “angel” /eɪnʤəl/. I remember her smiling kindly and moving her hands and arms as if she had wings of an angel. She said something like “I am not an angel”, as far as I remember. There were no hard feelings. No shame for being corrected publicly, or at least this is how I remember this scene. I now know (I guess) the difference between the pronunciation of these two words.

Photo credit for the angel: Defne Sert, 2021

We can discuss the how, when, why, and what of corrective feedback for hours based on research findings. But this is not my intention in this post. I have a simple question: what is your first memory of receiving (oral/visual) corrective feedback in a classroom? Do you remember how you felt? How do you feel about it now?

Published by Olcay Sert

I work as professor of English language education at Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication (Sweden).

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