Inductive Teaching and Error Analysis

January 06, 2016
Inductive Teaching and Error Analysis

AIM uses a three-step system that scaffolds and builds the understanding of grammar in a natural way – one that reflects the way that we learned our own first language and blends this with specific strategies to accelerate the learning of second language students. Once a student begins to write extensively, the teacher takes sentences containing common errors made by students and helps them analyse these errors. What results is an in-depth understanding of how the language works.


What does ‘inductive’ mean?

  • information arrived at by student’s own reasoning (and is more likely to be retained over the long term)


  • students are often able to self-correct when they realize they’ve made a mistake
  • sometimes the mistake is simply a ‘whoops’ and they really are aware of the correct version
  • give students a choice, a chance, and time, to correct themselves.
  • students learn to ‘feel’ what sounds right through constant teacher feedback.

Error Correction

  • error correction should first take the form of a total question.
  • example – student says: “Je dois va aux toilettes.” ask student: “Est-ce qu’on dit: ‘Je dois va OU je dois aller aux toilettes’ ”?

Self-correction Cues

  • gradually take away the total question and replace with silent cueing as students become more competent in recognizing errors
  • e. silent gesture to the students ‘pense’, ‘piensa’ – students then reflect and ‘think’ about what they just said
  • by signaling the gesture to them you are ‘asking’ them to backtrack to correct the error themselves
  • use the passé gesture to indicate to students that they should have used the past tense

Correction slots/Error analysis

Take ‘time out’ of an activity and look at mistakes as a group:

  • when students are doing a speaking task in pairs or groups, monitor the students and listen in on what they’re saying
  • make a note of the mistakes that you hear; whether they are pronunciation, grammatical or lexical
  • collect a selection of their errors and then stop the activity
  • write a selection of the mistakes on the board and ask students how they might correct them.


Written error analysis

  • write a sentence on the board, either as a response to a question or in whole-class story writing, with some common grammatical or spelling errors
  • students begin to become aware that any sentence you write may contain errors, and become motivated to watch your response actively and carefully as you write, while they scan for errors.
  • once the error is found, guide whole-class discussion to ensure that the students realize that this is an error and why
  • if necessary, ask explicitly: Est-ce que quelqu’un voit une faute/erreur dans cette phrase/réponse ?
  • students find it highly motivating to search for and locate errors made by the teacher.
  • this is also a method for you to check who understands the grammar concepts and to what degree

The following are the three levels of understanding in language functioning:

Level one (knowledge of error) The student is able to simply identify that there is an error, but is not necessarily able to correct it.

Level two (knowledge of correct form) The student is able to identify that there is an error and make the correction accurately.

Level three (knowledge of form and rule) The student is able to identify that there is an error, make the correction accurately, and describe the rule that applies.

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Fun, Creativity, Cooperative Learning, Thinking Skills and Oral Proficiency Development!Critical Thinking, Second (World) Language Learning, and AIM
All comments (11)
  • Sharwin Snelson
    January 25, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    I really want to learn how to use AIM. I'm a substitute teacher waiting for a position to open up in my district. Are there any AIM certified teachers that are in my area? I live in Knoxville, Tn. Is AIM applicable to high school students, especially level 1 and 2? How often do you teach gestures? Are the plays necessary for learning?

  • Wendy
    January 27, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Sharwin, there are more and more teachers who use AIM in the US! It is absolutely applicable to High School students - many US teachers are using it with incredible success at this level. We have a Summer Institute in Florida this year, so you could be trained and ready to begin in September. Please give us a call at 1-800-668-6288 and we would be happy to answer any questions you might have! Wendy

  • Cathy Roubertie
    February 3, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Hello, I am an English teacher in France and have read a lot about AIM but would love to see it work and possibly get to know English teachers in Europe who use the method in order to exchange ideas. Are there any teachers who work with it in France? I am really eager to experiment a new teaching method! Cathy

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