CLIL Challenge 2 Feedback

How do I correct the use of English of my students effectively?

Week 2 of the challenge, another activity to go!

I promised to mention a response this week regarding the previous challenge. I received an idea that could be very valuable to others, so allow me to share it with you. Frederik Massa, thanks for the idea!

The pupils worked in pairs. One of them got a ‘complete’ map of Belgium, with names of provinces and important cities on it. The other pupil got an ’empty’ map : there were no names of provinces or  important cities. There were just borders and dots on it. The pupil with the complete map had to study that map for one minute. The other pupil had to wait. After one minute, the pupil with the complete map covered it and told the other pupil where he/she had to write the names of the provinces and cities. I walked round and helped where necessary. After 5 minutes, we corrected the map together and I gave the pupils a copy with the correct answers on it.



“How late is it?”

“Make my homework”

If you work in The Netherlands, you probably heard these phrases before,. And if you haven’t, you probably know some phrases that are typical combinations of words and phrases from both your mother tongue and English (this is called code-switching). Students make mistakes. That’s okay, as long as we help them identify these mistakes and correct them.

Providing feedback is a topic that covers a lot more than I want to discuss in this CLIL Challenge. However, I do want to give you some pointers in the right direction and help you provide feedback to your students more effectively.

In this Challenge, I will limit myself to providing spoken feedback. Providing written feedback is also an important topic, which is  done when checking written work, however today I want to focus on everyday class situations.

First and foremost, feedback should be positive and constructive. Telling a student he/she is wrong will definitely result in a less motivated student, so be aware of correcting in a negative tone.

A common way of correcting is recasting.

It’s what happens when a student makes a mistake and you repeat the answer correcting the error.

Another way of correcting is elicitation.

This means you make the student aware of the mistake and do not correct it. Instead, you ask the student to correct himself.

During the math classes I teach, the number three is mentioned quite often. Because of the ‘th’ sound, many students tend to make ‘three’ into ‘tree’. I simply draw a tree on the blackboard instead of jotting down the number. The student is aware of the mistake and I will ask the student to repeat the number, motivating him/her to try and even asking everyone in class to say it to encourage students to use the correct pronunciation.

It’s even funnier when they try to say 33. Some students talk a about a ‘dirty tree’.

As a result, the amount of trees I have to draw on the blackboard quickly diminishes as the year progresses. That’s a good thing, my drawing skills are non-existent. One student once told me my tree looks more like broccoli…

Anyway, the final way of correcting I want to mention is repetition.

The difference between repetition and elicitation is that in this case the teacher provides the answer. However, the student is asked to repeat it (and if you want to be sure, make the student repeat it multiple times).

Personally, I prefer elicitation over the other two types of feedback mentioned here. However, you should not use this method alone. The key, as always, is variation.

Reasons for this can be the limited vocab of your students or the time you have planned to do an activity. I simply want you to be aware of the different ways of correcting students and teach you how to apply them in your lesson.


The activities in this course can be done without a lot of preparation and require little experience with CLIL. If you have any questions however, don’t hesitate to ask me!

You have probably guessed what the activity is going to be this week:

Use all three types of correcting strategies at least once in your lessons this week.

Feel free to use this more often of course! You will definitely encounter multiple situations requiring feedback in one lesson.


These challenges are supposed to make you think about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Also, depending on your experience and skill, the challenges can result in different solutions.

I only mention three different ways of correcting students, providing spoken feedback. However, these are not the only strategies.

Think of more ways to correct your students, or do a little research yourself on providing spoken feedback. Code switching might be an interesting topic to focus on.


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