I try to add some variety when I do error correction with my class. The quiz format, with the class split into teams and competing for points, works very well in adding a little extra motivation and team work.

My example is with an advanced class and we’re reviewing spoken errors from the previous lesson. The quiz is split into three parts to show three different techniques. I used Powerpoint to make the quiz and projected it onto the board so that I could annotate the answers. However, the quiz could easily be done on paper as a worksheet or written straight on the board.


Part one

The class is split into teams of three and each team has to give themselves a name. Anything within reason is acceptable and I write them on the right side of the board with space below each name to keep track of points. I give each team a sheet of paper and they write their team name at the top. Each team nominates someone to write, which will rotate each round.  I introduce the quiz and the first round.

page1This part is straight forward. Students discuss each question in their teams and write down their guesses for each missing word. Every correct word is one point. This round is intended to be an easy introduction to the quiz. Later questions will require a lot more discussion and debate so this round should help teams get used to working together and will also build up their confidence in each other if they begin the game by immediately agreeing and scoring some easy points. This round is a perfect place to include questions which cover simple errors your class keeps making.

  • Listen to music
  • Have a party
  • Go to work / go to the bank / go home
  • If I could live anywhere on Earth I would live in Tokyo

page2This round can include anything you’d expect in a gap fill but should be personalised for the class and focused on the errors they tend to make.

Part two

The next part is titled ‘Right or wrong’ and it’s more open ended and a step up in difficultly. In this round the teams have to decide if the sentence is correct or not. If it isn’t then they need to make a correction. I have five sentences and only one of them is correct. The other four sentences only have one error. In this round you get one point for guessing right or wrong and another for correcting the sentence.

page3This round encourages a little more debate within each team. It’s a little more demanding but it rewards students for noticing errors even if they don’t know exactly how to fix them. I want students to be more aware of their own errors and the errors other students make.

This is the halfway point in the quiz so it’s time to give out some points. The teams pass their answer sheets clockwise to the next team and we go through the answers. The feedback should be straightforward, like the questions, but elicit answers and alternatives as you go. I have used animations so that the answers are revealed one by one.

page4page5The teams mark them as we go and I write the scores on the board.

Part 3

This is the most difficult round and the one we’ve been building to. In this round there are five sentences and each one has multiple errors. Students are told they will be awarded one point for improving the sentence and two if they correct it entirely. This round has a lot of room for a variety of correct answers for each sentence so students will need extra time to write their answers.

page6Students write a full sentence for each answer. Once they’ve all finished their five sentences they pass their answer sheets anti-clockwise. Before we start to mark them I remind students of the mark scheme: One point if the sentence is an improvement and two points if the sentence is correct. Now students have to review the answers they have in front of them from another team and try to predict what score out of ten they will get. This introduces an extra layer of discussion and review of the language as well as getting students to think back to their own answers and reflect on them. Correct predictions will be awarded two points (one point if they’re close).

We go through the sentences in detail and I elicit as many correct alternatives as the students have produced. To write a fully correct sentence is very difficult but because we’re awarding one point for any improvement in each sentence students will be encouraged that they have made a contribution, even if they didn’t get everything right.

Final points are put on the board, including bonus points for predictions, and we applaud our winners. Collect the answer sheets so you can review which questions caused the most difficulties.

Quizzes in general can be used with any age and at any level, although if you intend for students to discuss their answers without reverting to L1 I would use the version I’ve outlined with intermediate level students and above. As I said earlier Powerpoint isn’t required. However you are welcome to download my quiz and use it as a template. If you’re interested in other correction games I check out my post on Wits and Wagers.

I use Powerpoint quite a lot to make games and presentations and while I’d be happy to write a guide about how I use it, there are much better resources available elsewhere. You can find excellent guides and tutorials on Powerpoint at Teknologic that are specific to English language teaching.

Thanks for reading!

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