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Error Correction in Language Tandems

Agree on an error-correction policy together. Here are some possibilities for a constructive approach to dealing with mistakes that happen in conversation:

  • You did not understand what your partner was trying to say and ask for clarification
  • You repeat your partner’s utterance while correcting the incorrect part (i.e. do not explicitly point out or comment on the mistake)
  • You note down errors and go over them together with your partner at the end of the session. For this, it may be useful to group mistakes of the same type and focus on one or a few error types rather than trying to correct “everything”.

Please note:

  • If you explicitly point out mistakes during the conversation and thus break the flow of the interaction, this may lead to your partner becoming insecure and losing their enthusiasm for speaking.
  • Help your partner when he or she is having difficulties; first, however, allow him or her to try and find a solution autonomously.

Also consider this summary of advice on error correction (PDF)

If you would like to receive additional help with your error-correction policy, please make an appointment for consultation with the Tandem Team.