A composition returned to a student covered in red ink is very demotivating so here are some ways to make correction more positive.

Photo of a sheet of paper with mark-up, e.g.: red corrections.

Source: Andriy Popov, Alamy Stock Photo

Motivate, don’t discourage

  • Peer correction – in pairs students read through each others’ compositions and correct orally and discuss what might be a better version = helps students notice errors and analyze them, but this activity depends on mutual trust between students
  • Do not mark anything incorrect on the students’ compositions – just praise everything good – a nice piece of vocabulary, appropriate grammatical structure, imaginative idea, etc.
  • Use different colours – not just red!
  • Correct only one type of error per composition and tell students that you will be doing so before they write. For example, just correct the tenses or articles.