Teaching Tip 13: Checking Together

How:

  1. When the students have finished doing an activity on their own, put them in pairs or small groups and tell them to check their answers together.

  2. Tell the students that if the answers are the same, they are probably correct but if they are different they need to explain/justify their choice of answer to their partner - in English! They can change their answers if they like.

Why:

  1. It's a good idea to let the students check their answers together before feeding back to the teacher because it gives them the chance to rub out/cross out any glaring errors before the teacher sees and thus avoid looking stupid in front of the class.

  2. If a student hasn't a clue about some of the answers it's reassuring to find out that their partner hasn't the foggiest either. The students realise they are not alone. They can also copy their partners answers (if their partner has some that they don't) but their partner might not be right!

  3. Peer teaching is considered a good thing in the world of EFL. Peers are equals. So in this case a students peers are a student's fellow classmates. Working together and checking work together is a form of peer teaching. This means that instead of the know-it-all (and/or) mother-tongue teacher always teaching them, the students can teach each other (by explaining grammar points, correcting pronunciation, explaining new words and phrases etc). The beauty of it is that the students are all equal to each other and are in the same boat, linguistically speaking.
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© Liz Regan 2003