Tag Archives: Tesol

Peer error correction using Schoology

In my last post I wrote about how students were writing more in the classroom using blogs and the learning management system (LMS) Schoology. By using the add discussion option within Schoology, I created a space for students to write and reflect on what they, and others, had written.

In this blog I would like to share how I have started showing students how to spot and highlight their peers mistakes and how I have adapted this to work on an LMS like Schoology.

Before asking students to look for mistakes in their partners work, they really need to know that they are not there to correct the mistakes, but simply to highlight the errors.

The first task was to have a lesson where students were given some writing with different kinds of spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes, which can be found in many coursebooks such as Headway or New English File from pre-intermediate levels upwards. Before touching the computers, students had to underline any errors and show what type of error it was by using a key, e.g. Spelling mistake = Sp  “I’m enjoing the party.”

Using the computers for error correction is a little harder. You’re not able to underline, highlight, or circle errors, so I had to think of a way that students could work around this.

I set up a discussion called ‘Correcting mistakes’ and, after adapting examples from the same coursebook, showed students how it should look using this new system:

Sp = Spelling – e.g. I’m <enjoing><Sp> the party.

WW = wrong word – e.g. They went <in><WW> Italy on holiday.

WO = word order – e.g. I have <two brothers younger.><WO>

Gr = grammar – e.g. She’s got some new <reds><Gr> shoes.

T = tense – e.g. He <arrive><T> yesterday.

P = Punctuation – e.g. They <arent><P> coming.

^ = word missing – e.g. She’s <^> doctor.

From here I set the task for students to highlight the mistakes in six sentences, making it clear they should not correct them.

One great thing about the add discussion resource is that you can set it up so members have to post before revealing other peoples responses. By doing this I was able to type in the correct answers, so that when students had finished they could compare their answers.

Since doing this with my class, students are used to highlighting their peers mistakes. At the start of any writing class on the computers I will first get them to work in pairs and use the key to correct writing from the previous lesson. They seem to enjoy spotting mistakes and appreciate their classmates input. Once they have finished highlighting mistakes they will then have to correct their own work.

This type of activity has saved me a lot of time as a teacher. Students all expect a certain amount of individual focus, but in a large class it is impossible to devote this time by correcting every piece of writing they do. Another thing is that it has also made my classroom much more learner focused. I have made it a permanent, twice a week, fixture with the class and would definitely recommend that any teacher give this a go, whether using Schoology or another LMS.



Filed under EduTech, ESL, Teaching English, Tech

Timing in the Classroom

This blog is for me to reflect on my teaching, as any learner would, and recently I became more aware of how important timing is in the classroom.

The lesson in mind was a 60 minute speaking lesson, but I felt my timing let me down so much that the students had little time to actually do much speaking.

Time management makes for good classroom management and in my next classes I want to improve my timing. Here I will examine what went wrong and what could have been done differently to make the class more successful.

For this class I think I let some activities take longer than they should have. I let a 5 minute activity run on for 15 minutes. Something that should have been brief ended up costing a quarter of the lesson.

One thing I usually do is break my lesson up into different parts. As a new teacher I like to note down how long each part should take. In a lesson I will have 5, 10, and 15 minute activities. I would rarely do one for 20 minutes. I realistically think about how long something should take including the time it will take to set up and complete. Moving forward I will be more strict with my time frames. I will think about where I should be by a certain time and not let things drag on for longer than necessary.

Another thing I did for the class was to try include everything that I had on my plan. I spent too long on explaining something that the students already had a lot of knowledge about. In this instance I should have prepared concept checking questions that would have helped check students understanding quickly to be able to move onto the next task more effectively. I should also know where to drop certain tasks that I feel are not as important as others. For example, a speaking lesson should have had more speaking in it then say writing.

After searching for more information about timing in the classroom I came across Scott Thornbury’s blog, T is for Time. I would definitely recommend this to anybody else who might think they need to improve their timing a little. I especially like the ideas around developing classroom routines so that students get into a rhythm of knowing what will come next, and also setting homework activities for things that take up a lot of time in class such as reading.

For now I will continue to improve and reflect on my timing. I will be strict with the times of activities, not let shorter activities eat into the time of longer ones and know when to drop activities when things are not going quite as planned.

Thanks for reading,


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Filed under ESL, Teaching English