Teaching is an art. It demands a lot of expertise and patience while checking notebooks. Errors are integral parts of learning process. Do not create error threatening environment; at the same time sensitize your learners gradually to write accurately and fluently. “In order to achieve an effective error correction method, it is very important for teachers to have a clear understanding of the nature of errors. As Corder (1967, cited in Cook, 1995: 22)”

Notebooks: reflection of a student’s personality

Generally when we take a student’s notebook for correction, student’s personality reflects in the notebook.  A wise student’s different subject notebooks appear in a good condition. He maintains a standard format. We find each and every minute detail on the notebook i.e. properly covered notebooks with primary information, properly maintained index, title of different lessons, complete class work and home work, neat and clean handwriting, less spelling mistakes, and quality contents. We can judge student’s personality partially if not completely by going through his notebooks.

Teacher’s prime job

Teacher’s prime job is to ensure quality teaching in the classroom. Student’s notebook is one the best means to observe effect of our teaching. To write keys points, spelling, key terms and question answer in a notebook is to ensure an effective way of  understanding the concept. It is an evidence of learning because student revises his learning time to time for fulfilling different academic purposes.

Big Challenge for a teacher

Completing a class work and homework are big challenge for academically weak students. Writing works involve a lot of seating and patience. Teacher develops right attitude for maintaining notebooks properly among students from day 1st. Generally teacher faces a big challenge from academically weak students, since these students show least interest in study; they do not complete their notebook on time. Good teacher adopts different techniques for ensuring that students not only complete the notebook on time but also submit it for checking.

Classroom strategies for checking notebooks

Self correction / Peer correction: – Give students a chance, and time, to correct themselves, Students can also correct notebooks of one another. Peer correction often helps to create a positive class atmosphere as students realize teacher is not the only source of error correction and they can learn a lot from one another.

Correction must be done by concerned teacher 

Wise teacher ensures timely correction of notebooks. Generally we are accountable of student’s learning. Smart teachers correct students’ notebook by developing their own check. A good teacher ensures proper notebook completion from each one in the class.

Pending work will be checked by teacher taking over (left teacher)

Generally it is observed that a concerned subject teacher have left the school job in between the academic session. So, it is our prime duty to check left over notebooks by previous teacher.

Ensure answer must be relevant to the question/ don’t leave scope for ambiguous/meaningless   answer

Wise teacher ensures that the students have written quality answer. We develop habit of writing meaningful, contextual and relevant answer.

Major error/correction —ask to re- do the work after teacher’s check

Teacher ensures that student has re-written the wrong spelling and meaningless answer once again to avoid confusion before the examination.

Spelling errors to be written correctly

Teacher instills a good habit among his students right from the beginning to re-write miss-spelt word. He encourages his students to avoid bad habit of overwriting because it shows student’s inability.

Underline the incorrect and tick or a double placed under the error

A wise teacher usually sensitizes his students for different mistakes on the notebook. He underlines the incorrect answer and tick or marks a double line under the error.  Good teachers do not underline all the mistakes at a time. It may be disheartening and discouraging moment for a student. They may feel bad and form a negative attitude towards learning and towards doing hard work. Nurture the individual’ nature of committing mistakes and evaluates the causes behind present situation. It will take time but improvement will be there.

Indicate the type of errors; Missing word, incorrect construction, ambiguous answer 

Generally a teacher indicates different types of error mentioned in the table with relevant symbols to avoid confusion

SPSpelling Error
>Word Missing
UA new sentence is unnecessary, connect your ideas
WFWord Formation
  • English/Hindi:-Minute observation of Spelling and capitalization/punctuation and form/grammar/diction/sentence-structure
  • Notebook system of theme correcting
He tried in vain to convince the balance of the students.He tried in vain to convince the rest of the students.
My brother and myself consider this is my best photograph.My brother and I consider this my best photograph.

When a student realizes just what is his weakness, his study for examination as well as his regular work assumes his definiteness that keeps him floundering around. He knows exactly where he must apply his best effort. (Stith Thomson, Jastor)

Notebooks Correction techniques varies in different concerned subject

Quality notebook correction depends on concerned teachers’ expertise and skill. Mathematics teacher adopts a different method to correct students’ notebook i.e. formulas, application of formulas, different process, theorem etc has been written precisely on the notebooks. Concerned Science and Social Science teacher guides his students to write different topics neatly and cleanly to avoid confusion. Teacher encourages following things to do:-

  • Geometrical Work/Map Work/Drawing/Diagrams:- Neatly drawn diagrams , Clear and legible labeling , Simple , plain and fully informative diagrams, Use a sharp pencil  for geometrical work,  map work and diagrams

Write encouraging remarks/be particular about the specific comment 

Teacher’s positive remarks on the notebook effectively make a great appeal and sense in the student’s mind. Teacher makes his learners sensible. He writes rational, relevant and concrete remark on student’s notebook. Teacher should write detail comments to sensitize the students. Writing details comments/remarks do not help until we do proper follow up as a reminder. When we do regular follow up; student thinks that my teacher still remembers my mistakes.

  • Suggest ways and means to improve writing habit/questions/spelling/grammatical correction/handwriting
  • Kindergarten and Primary Teachers are encouraged to give stickers, stars, and smiley faces as reward for students
  • Handwriting should be improved in due course of time/provide help to your student
  • Give emphasis on neatness of work and maintenance of the notebooks
  • Praise the quality of the work not the individual
  • Please indicate what is good about the worke. Good/Fair/Excellent/ meaningful question/handwriting/good content

Help long absentee in completing pending work

Teachers’ main concern is to ensure learning. We should help students, who were absent from the class for various reason.

  • Incomplete work must be rechecked after completion (even if a student is absent for 1-2-3 days, or student is weak/not interested to write   teacher must ensure completion of notebook and checking of  the notebook, otherwise it will be counted as teacher’s fault  )
  • Permit students of long absence to photocopy notes (after discussion with the HODS)
  • Late submission after deadline is to be checked with written reminder

Respecting an individual’s dignity is equally respecting our own dignity.

We are teacher. We are motivator and facilitator. We facilitate learning in the classroom. We ensure quality education in our surrounding. A good teacher creates learner friendly environment and shows faith in the capacity of each individual. It may be possible that 8-10 percent students in a classroom do not show interest in learning. We admit it in our professional life. A good teacher provides every possible support for his learners to ensure learning; no matter what are possible difficulties before us. Teacher should avoid very harsh and discouraging verbal and written comment for a student. Respecting an individual’s dignity is equally respecting our own dignity.

They may not complete their notebooks timely, may have filthy handwriting, and may commit several spelling mistakes but at the utmost inner core, he wants to change his present inabilities. He is searching a right human being and we can be the right person for molding him into an integrated human being. We remind students’ mistakes and we do follow up for expected correction but we will not put a stamp on a student’s personality that he cannot improve. I firmly believe that teacher consistent efforts with a human heart can bring massive change in a student’s life. Let! Be the first to become a game changer!

 Rajeev Ranjan

Indian Educationist                                                                                                        

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