If you’ve been learning a language for a while now you probably have noticed the importance of speaking practice.
You also may have noticed that practice alone is not enough.
What’s missing? I’ll give you a second…
Ok what do you think?
Corrections! In the teaching world we call it corrective feedback.
In other words, language learners need feedback on their language use.
Are they using the right expression? Is this the right word in this context? Is this the correct grammar?
In a formal language class, correction abounds. The teacher is there giving feedback. But we don’t spend our entire language learning lives in a classroom. Now we have so many other ways to learn through self-study, thanks to the online learning space.
And that’s great and I created this channel as a tool and resource for your self-study but we cannot overlook the additional importance of feedback.
In this lesson, I’m teaching you to ask your native English speaker friends to correct you and provide some feedback on your language use.
Alright, let’s get to it.
As someone who speaks a few different languages myself, I’ve noticed that my native speaker friends in the language I was learning at the time would not offer to correct my language mistakes. I would have to explicitly ask them to correct me.
And even then, some of my friends would feel awkward correcting me.
But since I insisted their correcting me would get me to the next level in my language acquisition, they complied :)
Let me show you how to convince your native speaker friends to give you corrective feedback.
- I was wondering if you could help me out. I’d be so grateful if you could give me feedback when you hear me say something really egregious.
- I’ve got a favor to ask. Would you be willing to give me some corrective feedback if you hear me make a mistake? It would really help me out.
- Could you let me know if I use incorrect grammar or the wrong word choice whenever you hear it. It’ll help me advance my communication skills and I would really appreciate it.
- I know you’re not an English teacher, but if you wouldn’t mind occasionally correcting my English when I make mistakes that would be super helpful.
- Sometimes I feel like I use incorrect word choice. Would it be possible if you could help me with this? It would be really helpful and much appreciated.
If they say that your English is already good enough or that they’re not an English teacher and can’t provide feedback. You might need to convince them.
Here are some ways to be a bit more persuasive if you need to.
- You have some of the best English I’ve ever heard. You’re really eloquent and well spoken. I would love to be able to speak like you someday. If you wouldn’t mind, I could really use some pointers every now and then.
- You have such a huge vocabulary. I really admire that. I’ve been reading more books and listening to more podcasts in English to build my vocab. As I’m using the vocab in sentences I feel like sometimes it’s out of context. So if it’s not too much of an imposition do you think you could give me a heads up if I’m not using the correct word in the right context?
- I love your pronunciation. Your tone of voice is really professional yet soothing. I’m working on improving my pronunciation and becoming more intelligible when I speak English. But from time to time I slip up and my accent comes out stronger with certain words. I’ve noticed this happens with words in a sentence. But by itself I can pronounce the word pretty well. I’ll be giving more business presentations this month so it’s something I want to get better at. Do you think you could correct my pronunciation if you hear something amiss?
Compliment them and show that you are doing the work. You would just need their feedback once in a while.
Make it clear that you’re not expecting them to correct you all the time because you respect their time and other commitments. And also, make sure that you’re not trying to eke out free labor from them, but more so as just friendly suggestions as a friend.
And of course, be sure to thank them for their understanding and for their time.
If they consent to this then you might set up a coffee and conversation hour once or twice a week and treat them to coffee and a treat during that time. Or you can treat them to a meal at a time and place of their choosing.
Even a non-monetary gesture, such as doing them a favor and helping them with something can be a nice way to show your appreciation. Some ideas include: dog sitting for them, helping them improve a certain skill set that you’re good at and can tutor them in, or it could be driving them somewhere they need to go.
Whatever you decide to do, be sure to at least offer them something in return. Doing something nice for them in exchange for the corrective feedback they’ll be giving you is a good way to make this a friendly and fun experience.
Practice these strategies for when you are looking to ask a native speaker friend for corrective feedback. Be sure to consider their time commitments and schedule and offer to help them in exchange for the help they’re giving you.
Being respectful of their time and not putting pressure on them to correct you all the time will make them more likely to point out your mistakes and errors in English when they arise.
Alright Advanced English learners. Hope you enjoyed this lesson. Subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already and be sure to share this lesson with someone you think would benefit from it. I’ll see you in your next lesson where we’ll continue advancing your English.
Until then, keep up the awesome work.