A really important skill for ESL teachers is error correction. There is a fine balance needed to maintain lesson flow and develop students' confidence. It is easy to tip this balance, and the results are disastrous for your students. Over-correction will result in students losing confidence and then always speaking hesitantly, often “stuttering” and always looking to the teacher for confirmation.
Under-correction will result in students developing bad habits and not learning proper grammar, forms, usage; eventually decreasing communicative ability.
The first step is learning whether to correct or not. A key to developing this skill is to understand the difference between ‘errors’ and ‘mistakes’ .A mistake is a slip up: you know the correct thing to say, but by accident said the wrong thing. Often mistakes result in fun statements and students can get a kick out of them. Mistakes are not critical to correct. If you identify that it was a simple mistake, let it go. I