Englannin kirjoitelmakurssi

Suggestions For Correcting Work

Correcting students’ work on the computer can present certain difficulties. What is the clearest way to indicate language problems to students?

This course is based on a process writing principle, in which any mistakes in the student’s essay are at first highlighted so that the student herself can attempt to rectify them. It is therefore important to have a clear system for indicating to students what kind of mistake they are dealing with. One way of doing this is by using different colours to indicate different kinds of mistakes.

Of course every teacher will want to consider her own system, but here is one suggestion:

Grammar mistake (e.g. verb)
Word order
Incorrect word choice
Something missing
Not exactly “incorrect” but could be said in a much better way

Mistakes in the essay could thus be highlighted, and returned to the student with an explanation of the colour scheme, and, for example, the following instructions:

Mieti korjauksia ja lähetä kirjoitelmasi uudelleen korjattuna. Sen lisäksi selosta, miksi sinun piti korjata ko. kohtaa.

When the student then returns the essay with corrections, you will need to make your own corrections. Again you will need to consider how you can best make these corrections clear to the students. How can you make the student realise which bits you have corrected?

One very simple way, which will work on all computers, is simply to correct the text using capital letters. There is of course a small problem with this in so much as you are no longer able to show the distinction between capital and small letters (problematic when correcting mistakes like *french); correcting puncatuation is also problematic. However, it is a simple and quick system.

More complex systems can be developed, but they all tend to have their own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some examples:

method advantages disadvantages
Using Microsoft Word’s Track Changes (Jäljitä muutokset) feature to record the corrections you make. Can be a very clear system of recording the changes without requiring much effort. However, some versions of Word display these changes in a considerably less clear way. Compatibility problems. Different versions of Word do it differently, and there is always the possibility that the student’s computer will not be able to display the changes.
Indicating all sections of text with mistakes, using, for example, brackets; and then writing a corrected version of that section, which could be indicated with, for example, square brackets. Works on all computers, shows all mistakes and corrections clearly. Time-consuming, both for the teacher and also the student (not immediately easy to understand).
Simply returning a corrected version of the essay. Easy to do, works on all computers. Students cannot see what you have corrected, less potential for learning.
Using capital letters to correct mistakes. Easy to understand, works on all computers, quick and easy to do. Cannot differentiate between capital and small letters in your corrections. Not very good for correcting punctuation.
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