COMPLIMENTING AND CORRECTING LEARNERS
A sincere compliment can help make learning more effective. Correction, on the other hand, can block
progress if it is not done properly. These suggestions will help the instructor handle both corrections and
1. AVOID CRITICISM. Nobody likes to be criticized, and most students want to learn; therefore, avoid
criticism in the sense of “bawling out” persons for having done something wrong. Instead, show them
how they could have done it better.
2. COMPLIMENT BEFORE YOU CORRECT. Always find something about which to compliment a
person before you correct them. It will make them more receptive to your correction. Make sure the
compliment is sincere.
3. LET THE STUDENTS CORRECT THEMSELVES. When the students are induced to correct
themselves, the factor of unpleasantness is almost entirely eliminated. First compliment, then ask the
students if they can think of anything that could have been done to make the performance better. If they
can’t think of anything, you will have to make a suggestion.
4. DON’T OVERDO CORRECTING. Good instructors exercise restraint when correcting. They know
if they correct every little thing a student doesn’t do quite right, they’ll make the person nervous, damage
his/her self-confidence and, instead of being helpful, their corrections will be harmful and annoying.
5. DON’T CORRECT IN FRONT OF OTHERS. This, the worst kind of criticism, is embarrassing
6. DON’T BE TOO QUICK TO BLAME THE STUDENT. If he/she doesn’t do something right, the
fault may lie in your methods of teaching. Be sure that you analyze your own methods before actually
correcting the student.
7. ENCOURAGE THE STUDENT. Compliments are an essential part of teaching; they encourage
learning. Use judgment and do not overdo compliments. They can be spaced to serve as a steady support
for the student’s morale.
8. BE PROMPT WITH YOUR COMPLIMENTS OR CORRECTIONS Make them immediately
following the student’s performance. Don’t do it an hour later or the next week for that matter. It is
especially important to compliment a person at the time the positive behavior is exhibited--it sends
him/her home with the feeling of success, makes him/her feel that you were of help and that working with
you is a meaningful experience.