Part of your job as a teacher is to give your students the kind
of feedback that will help them learn and grow. Of course, you
want to do this in a way that encourages them to continue trying,
and certainly not to hurt their feelings. As you probably already
know, some students are more sensitive than others, so giving
constructive criticism can be a tricky thing. Here are some ways
to correct a student without hurting their feelings.
The most important thing you want to remember when giving out correction is
to keep your words and attitude positive. You want the student
to gain from your correction and learn form it. Being negative
may only serve to bring down the student's self-esteem and give
him a feeling of hopelessness. You might try saying, "Johnny,
you made good effort here, but I think if you try …, it will work
better next time." This way the child knows that you see the effort
he made, and you are telling him that it can be even better than
it already is.
Know When to Deliver Correction
Never ever embarrass a student in front of the class. When a student walks
into your classroom, you are responsible for that child, and you
want to build a trust in your students. If you pinpoint mistakes
and make corrections in front of the entire class, especially
with negative comments, you will be forcing a student to distrust
you. Pull a child aside during lunch break or at the end of the
day to discuss what he or she needs to correct.
Know Your Students
It is important that you know your students and their personalities as best
you can. The way in which you deliver correction will probably
need to be different for different students. Some students are
more sensitive than others. Students who really try to make an
effort will take correction to heart, whereas students who are
not that ambitious may rub off correction and not care so much
how you deliver it. Either way, you need to know which students
are more sensitive than others.
Don't Use Correction as Punishment
In order for correction to be effective, it has to be used for the right reasons.
Correction is not a form of punishment. Punishment is discipline.
Correction is pointing out a way to change what was wrong and
make it better next time. Don't chastise a student for doing something
incorrect. Instead, as mentioned above, make it a positive experience
for the student; something she can apply the next time she tries
a similar action or activity. Save punishment for disruptive students,
but not merely for correction.
Correcting a student will work best when you can provide examples of the right
thing to do. For instance, if you give an assignment on the benefits
of good eating habits, and a student puts down French fries are
healthy because they are made from potatoes just telling him that
is wrong does no good. You have to explain that French fries are
fried in grease, which makes them unhealthy. Give your students
reasoning for your correction to help clarify what they did wrong.
This will help give them the motivation they need to make changes
in the future.
Correct the Work Not the Child
Keep in mind that correcting a student's work or behavior is not you correcting
the student. It is important that your student understands you
are correcting his work, not who he is. Let your student know
that you still like him, and he is a good student, but that you
see a way he can improve on his work in the future.