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How to Give Corrections that Boost Confidence

As a teacher, one job that I do every day is to correct students’ work. It sounds like a piece of cake if you think of this task as simply giving ticks and crosses. However, there is much more to it than that if the teacher or parent would like to uplift the child’s confidence through their work. Here are some tips on giving corrections that keep your child eager to keep trying:

1. Praise any correct work before focusing on mistakes
Help your child build up a sense of success by mentioning not just the negatives but also the things they’ve done well. If we only emphasise the mistakes, the child may feel that what he/she has done correctly is not important.

2. Don’t put any crosses
Crosses represent not only mistakes but also denial. When the child sees a cross, they may feel that their ability has been denied. If you spot a mistake, put a circle, a triangle or even a star to show that an amendment is needed.

3. Encourage your child to try their own corrections
Let your child know that you have faith in them to find and correct their own mistakes. Praise any success they have with this, even if they can’t correct their work accurately at this stage. You can correct the work yourself after your child has made their own attempt, but don’t forget to keep building confidence by encouraging their effort with this.

4. Treat mistakes as opportunities
Put emphasis on what the child can learn from the mistakes instead of the fact that he/she doesn’t get the right answers. Mistakes are unavoidable during the course of learning. They reveal to us how we can progress as learners. Keep focusing on the positive aspects of this and your child will be eager to challenge themselves with new things.

Just like adults, children need encouragement and approval. Treat them in the way we would like to be treated. Embrace the mistakes and turn them into golden opportunities which make us better than who we once were.