We are teachers, but we are also managers, referees, entertainers, psychologists, and…baggage handlers. No, not the kind that loses your luggage or sends it to the opposite ends of the Earth. We deal with the emotional baggage our students carry with them every day. Some may be Louis Vuitton bags, some may be ratty grocery store bags, but most are somewhere in between. This baggage is what can stand in the way of a student learning and enjoying the process of learning; of taking risks in the classroom; of taking on and meeting challenges.
One of the situations when we can find ourselves tripping over these bags is when it is time to correct student speaking errors. Those fragile adolescent egos don’t react well to anything they see as criticism, and they very easily pile those bags into high walls. Too much correction, the student gets frustrated, gives up, and tunes you out. Not enough correction and you’ve done this student a disservice. They may be unprepared for the next level of Spanish, or find out later that they really don’t know what they should and don’t have the skills that they thought they had. So what do you do?