One of the more important roles of the conversation session is to give the student the opportunity to practice creating language in the presence of a native speaker who can give immediate feedback. There are instances in which the person serving as the conversation partner is a fellow student, is younger than the person studying the language, or comes from a culture where it is considered rude to correct someone trying to speak a foreign language. It is imperative that the conversation partner set aside these mitigating factors and make certain that students understand that they have made an error and what is the correct word, phrase, or structure.
Correction techniques vary and each conversation partner needs to come up with a system that works and is comfortable for the individual. Correcting a student can be as easy as making a hand gesture and saying the correct word and then making the student repeat it. This method allows the session to continue in the target language with no break into English. Sometimes the error is such that a brief explanation in English is required such as “you said ‘kitchen’ but you mean ‘chicken’” before making the student repeat “chicken” and continuing the conversation.
Remember that the job of the conversation partner is to correct oral errors. Students want to practice and want to be corrected. Letting an error pass does no one any favors.