How to provide effective feedback part 2

August 11, 2015


In my previous post regarding effective feedback I introduced the definition of feedback as well as the six types of effective feedback.

  1. Elicitation
  2. Repetition
  3. Recast
  4. Explicit correction
  5. Clarification request
  6. Meta-linguistic feedback

I also explained in a bit more detail how the first three of these types of feedback can work in your lesson. In this post I want to discuss the next three.

Explicit Correction

When a teacher corrects a student, mentioning the mistake and correcting it immediately.

This type of feedback is common among teachers and is not a bad choice in any way, but do note that little action is required from the student. One way to make this type of feedback more effective is by asking the same question again, making sure the student is able to answer the question on their own.

For example:

Student: I see a great movie yesterday

Teacher: Great! But you shouldn’t say “see”, it is “saw”. Could you try again?

Student: I saw a great movie yesterday

In this specific example, even more detailed questions can be asked like: “Can you also explain why?” to make sure a student is not just copying.

Clarification request

When a teacher asks for a clarification, without correcting or mentioning the mistake.

This type of feedback works best when the teacher is sure that the student can actually answer the question on their own. It is very frustrating for a student if he or she is required to answer a question they honestly don’t know, but pushing the student a little to try harder is not a bad thing.

For example:

Student: I see a great movie yesterday

Teacher: That’s almost correct, could you try again?

Student: I saw a great movie yesterday

Meta linguistic

When a teacher mentions the grammatical rule that should be applied.

During a workshop I recently hosted I asked the participants which type of feedback was least used by by teachers who don’t teach a language. It was this meta linguistic feedback, which makes sense. To be able to mention the correct grammatical rules and correct these, a teacher has to be very confident in their own abilities. Unfortunately a lot of teachers are, quite often unfairly,  insecure of their own capabilities in using a foreign language  which is why they refrain from using this type of feedback. As it actually helps students to develop their knowledge of the language, applying this type of feedback every now and then would be a good idea.

For example:

Student: I see a great movie yesterday

Teacher: Remember, it’s past tense, not present tense.

Student: I saw a great movie yesterday

Is this CLIL?

This question was asked during the same workshop mentioned earlier and I found this to be an intriguing question. I think you can answer that question with both yes and no. Let me explain.

Why this is not CLIL

Providing feedback and helping students to learn from their mistakes and successes is a skill every teacher should develop and practice. Not just teachers who teach using the CLIL methodology. These six types of feedback can therefore be applied to non-CLIL lessons as well.

Why this is CLIL

Language is a vital part of a CLIL lesson and language mistakes will make up for a vast amount of corrections during the lessons, not just the English ones. That is why it is important that every CLIL teacher knows how to use  the basics of giving effective feedback and how to apply it.


Although providing feedback is not a CLIL-only skill, I think the language aspect makes this topic important to every CLIL teacher. Let me know how you apply feedback to your lesson!


If you want to read more about feedback, you can find information regarding this topic in the following articles:

Research on Error Correction and Implications for Classroom Teaching, May 1998

A Classroom Research Study on Oral Error Correction, June 2010

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