How and why this crazy idea occurred to me I don’t know, but it was probably the sheer frustration of hearing the same student errors repeated again and again.
So I decided to sing.
That’s right… when my favourite student eliminated the pronoun I suddenly decided to sing in a mock opera voice… “You have eliminated the pronoun again… this is an error… please put the pronoun back in.”
I have an awful voice (all the better for this novel ESL error correction technique) and the effect was immediate. The student looked at me in horror and immediately put his hands over his ears. He was in some kind of TEFL nightmare. After performing the same error correcting trick a few times, the student developed such a mortal fear of my singing that he was soon inserting the pronoun.
Just to clarify the methodology of the ESL correction trick… you must give them the explanation in song. Singing a random song – while punishing – doesn’t quite have that surreal, brainwashing edge.