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  • 1. IN A WORD TESOL Chile ewsletter President’s Message Dear Southern Cone TESOLers & Guests,TESOL Chile is pleased to host the 8thbiennial Southern Cone Conference. Itbrings together TESOL professionalsfrom Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay,Paraguay and Chile. We extend a warmwelcome to the Presidents and membersof each national TESOL association.Welcome to Chile!The primary conference goal is to In this Issuepromote the sharing of information and ● An Interview With Richard Boyumbest practices related to the conference by Thomas Bakertheme: Critical Teaching for Critical ● Web 2.0 Tools in ELT by Malba BarahonaTimes. ● Genre Matters in Academic Writing by Thomas BakerTESOL Chile is honored to have Gloria ● How Effective is Error Correction in theSalazar, Lydia Stack and Donald L2 Writing Lesson? by Juan I. CordovaFreeman. These three speakers have ● Tips on How to Effectively Communicateover a hundred years of dedicated and with Parents by David Kendall Clappdistinguished service in ELT collectively.We are also delighted to welcome thenew RELO, Richard Boyum. We lookforward to collaborating with him.We have received full and substantial Richard Boyumsupport from the Embassy of the United is the new Regional English LanguageStates. We are grateful for their very Officer (RELO) for the Office of Publicgenerous sponsorship of this event. Wealso thank Heinle for sponsoring Donald Affairs of the US Embassy in Santiago.Freeman. Of course, special thanks He serves as advisor and trainer for themust go to Universidad Alberto broader English language teaching andHurtado for providing the facilities for us. training community in Chile and the the Southern Cone countries. Prior toFinally, I hope your conference moving to Santiago, Richard was theexperience will be positive. It has taken RELO in New Delhi. He also served asa bunch of very committed people on the the Director of the State Department’sTESOL Chile Board working extremely Office of English Language Programs inhard to put this event together for you. Washington and has been the RELO in Thailand, Egypt and Brazil. Mary Jane Abrahams (continued on page 16) President 1
  • 2. Web 2.0 Tools in ELT Genre Matters in Academic Writing by Malba Barahona by Thomas BakerThe "Web 2.0" is an evolved At the University of Michigan, a genre-generation of web development and based approach is used to teachdesign that aims to facilitate academic writing (hereafter AW)communication, secure information (Swales and Feak, 1994, 2004) forsharing, interoperability, and graduate, nonnative students andcollaboration on the World Wide Web. undergraduate students (Feak, 2007).Web 2.0 has developed web-based According to Paltridge, its basiccommunities, hosted services, and premise is that language is “functionalapplications; such as social-networking ... through language we get thingssites, video-sharing sites, wikis, and done” (pg 1, 2004). Students areblogs. encouraged to engage with texts to discover functional language use at theWeb 2.0 is characterized by social whole text level. Thus, the conventionssoftware. Web 2.0 tools allow people to of a particular genre are acquired. Thisconnect, to communicate and to is considered to be crucial for studentscollaborate online. Blogs, wikis and writing in a second language (Johns,podcasts are all examples of social 1990). There are, however, few (ifsoftware. Most of our students have a any) published accounts of a genre-photolog, post on Facebook, own an MP3 based approach and a process-writingplayer and use Wikipedia for homework, approach being integrated and usedso why not use these tools in our with English Pedagogy students inEFL/ESL classes to make their learning Chile. This article presents an accountmore motivating and meaningful? of an integrated, genre-based/process- writing experience in the ChileanEach of these tools has distinctive context.features. For instance, a blog is a webpage with regular journal entries which Teaching Contextmay include links, photos & videos. A The present author is a new instructorwiki, on the other hand, is a of Academic Writing II for Englishcollaborative web space consisting of a Pedagogy students at Universidadnumber of pages that can be edited by Andrés Bello in Santiago. The studentsany user. In contrast to those tools, a are in their third year of studies,podcast is an audio and /or video file having previously taken Academicthat is broadcast via the Internet and Writing I as a prerequisite. Class sizecan be downloaded to a computer or an is approximately twenty students. TheMP3 player. course description defines the writing process approach as the guidingHowever, the defining characteristics of paradigm for the course. Thethese tools are the features they have in development of the students’ ability tocommon when applied in ELT, namely: use academic rhetoric successfully is considered an essential aim of the • Students create their own course. outputs. • Students are encouraged to work Which genre and which journal? collaboratively. Academic articles from the field of ELT • Students and/or teachers can set were the obvious choice of genre to be them up. used. The question of an appropriate • Students and/or teachers can use journal(s) to use was not as them. transparent, however. Criteria to be • Wikis, blogs and podcasts are considered were: relevance to the field used to connect learners to other of ELT, long term benefit to the communities of learners. student, uniformity of style andStudents and/or teachers can generate rhetoric, electronic access, and cost.ideas and content displayed on blogs, (continued on page 6)wikis & podcasts. (continued on page 3) 2
  • 3. Web 2.0 Tools in ELT by Malba Barahonacontinued from page 2Web 2.0 tools offer a chance to students and /or teachers not only to be repositoriesof authentic material, but also a means to generate, create and communicate content.Our students are growing up with Web 2.0 technology. It is a natural and integratedpart of their lives. The use of technology can bring the outside world into theclassroom. Therefore, the question facing teachers today is obvious: Is it possible to make use of the activities emerging through social software to create learning communities which provide students with personalized, collaborative learning experiences?This paper will present some compelling reasons why EFL teachers/students canbenefit from using web 2.0 tools; blogs, wikis, podcasts and how to use each of themin language teaching will be discussed.Can ELT Benefit from Social Software?Social software includes a wide range of different types of activities. The best knownare Internet discussion forums, social networking (Facebook, hi 5), multiplayer onlinegames, Internet messaging, weblogs, wikis and podcasting. All these tools work underthe premise of collaboration. These emerging technologies contribute to create digitalcommunities in which each participant creates knowledge and shares it.In ELT, learners are expected to be able to understand input in the target language aswell as being able to produce output. Learners require multiple opportunities topractice language at their level of English language competency.Merril Swain (2005) coined the concept of the output hypothesis that claims that theact of producing language (speaking or writing) constitutes, under certaincircumstances, part of the process of second language learning. This author states thatthe output has three functions in second language learning:1) The noticing/triggering function: The activity of producing the target languagemay prompt second language learners to recognize consciously some of their linguisticproblems. It may bring their attention to something they need to discover about theirsecond language (possibly directing their attention to relevant input).2) The hypothesis-testing function: Swain claims that output may sometimes be,from the learner’s perspective, a “trial run” reflecting their hypothesis of how to say (orwrite) their intent.3) The metalinguistic (reflective) function: The claim here is that using languageto reflect on language produced by others or the self, mediates second languagelearning. Tasks that involve solving linguistic problems and building/co-constructingknowledge about language would promote that language learning taking place.Web 2.0 tools facilitate learners to produce output and, most likely, learn moreeffectively. These emerging technologies are not only natural & motivating for thestudents, but also meaningful & useful to produce their own language.BLOGSBlogs are online journals that usually contain text, pictures, links and videos. Blogsallow students and teachers to have personal webs without any programmingknowledge.Ward, 2004; Johnson, 2004; Kennedy, 2003; Campbell, 2003, 2004; have exploredthe use of weblogs as useful tools for both teachers and students. Blogs have beenmainly used as: teachers’ web pages, class’ bulletin board and as a learner’s journal.Dudeney, G. & Hockly, N.(2007) suggest three possible uses of blogs in ELT:The tutor blog: set up by the teacher which typically provides a space for setting uphomework, links to extra material, exam/study tips, and summary of class work. 3
  • 4. The student blog: set by learners is usually a virtual place where students can postentries on various topics from personal information to research.The class blog: is a blog used by an entire class with which everybody postscomments on certain topics or class work.Blogs are best suited for reading and writing; they can be used as journals for writingpractice, learners can notice their own linguistic problems while they are writing orwhen reading their classmates’ comments. In addition, whatever they write is instantlyavailable for anyone to read and be commented on, a feature that promotes theexchange of ideas and collaboration.Blogs provide students with a real-world tool to practice their written English.Students are encouraged to focus on their writing by getting engaged in motivatingtasks. Blogs don’t only promote the use of the target language, but contribute to theactual learning process.WIKISWikis are editable online websites. A wiki is a website that allows its visitors to writecontent collaboratively. The users of the site can edit the content, making changes towhat has previously been written by other users. Wikis in ELT have been used ascollaborative projects in which students are encouraged to produce their own solutionsto various problems or tasks. An old collaborative writing exercise consisting of writingthe start of a story and passing it on to another student for them to add anothersentence and so on and so forth. This is an example of how wikis can be used in ELT.Wikis can be used to carry out almost any kind of collaborative project. Teachers canencourage students to work in pairs on one aspect of their own country: geography,food, landmarks, entertainment, etc. Each pair completes research about the assignedaspect and elaborate an entry creating a wiki on this topic. All topics can link from themain wiki page. Groups can read other groups’ contributions and edit as necessary.The class result is a wiki with pages on various aspects of the country. In sum, the useof wikis encourages learners to use the target language, become aware of their ownlearning process and learn from their own and their classmates’ mistakes.PODCASTSPodcasting is a form of audio broadcasting (the most popular format of a podcast is anMP3) on the Internet. Podcasts in ELT are used for improving both listening andspeaking skills. Students can listen to authentic material on the web such as: radioprogrammes, TV shows and lectures. This is especially useful in the EFL context. Onesimple task that makes students aware of the enormous amount of audio materialavailable on the web is: • Search on the web for the following podcasts, provide the URLs: a) 3 TV shows b) 3 Radio programmes c) 1 Lecture on psychology d) 1 Podcast of your personal interest. • Choose one of the podcasts you searched and answer these questions: 1. How long is the podcast? 2. Who is/are the speaker(s)? a journalist, a teacher? 3. What is it about? 4. Would you recommend it? Why or why not?Learners can listen to EFL/ESL podcasts that are made with a teaching purpose thatcontains listening comprehension exercises. These exercises contribute to languageawareness.For speaking purposes, students can create their own radio or TV shows producing &publishing their own podcasts on the web. One example is: In pairs produce a 4-minute podcast. You have to produce a walking tour of our school giving details about the schools buildings, facilities and offices. This podcast is for foreigners visiting our institution, and it will be published on our main web site. 4
  • 5. Podcasting is not only highly motivating for students, but it also provides a medium toproduce output promoting effective language learning.CONCLUSIONSocial software provides publishing in multimedia, researching and collecting tools.Blogs, wikis & podcasts allow learners to communicate, collaborate and publish in anumber of ways, in a variety of media, and these tools also help students act togetherto generate knowledge. “Social software enables people to do things with Internet technology that they clearlywant to do themselves. Social software is about personal services on the web, andconsequently it is about personalization. It is inherently social, and the gains of usingsocial software are gains that come from collaboration. “ M. Owen (2006).Today’s learners can acclimate easily to new technological equipment. Their rapid andenthusiastic adoption of IT makes them autonomous and well prepared to explore newareas of knowledge and new ways of learning.We as teachers must ask ourselves if our current classes consider these students’characteristics and needs. For these learners, the use of virtual environments foracquiring and constructing knowledge is crucial. These learning spaces should beactive, social, learner-centered and essentially interactive (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005).Social software is the answer for this generation.REFERENCESCampbell, A. P. (2003a). The experience of computer supported cooperative learning using weblogs in the university classroom: A phenomenological case study. Unpublished Med thesis, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England.____ . (2003b). Weblogs for use with ESL classes. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. IX. Retrieved March 19, 2009, from http://www.iteslj.org/Techniques/Campbell- Weblogs.html_____. (2004). Learner attitudes towards a tutor-run weblog in the EFL university classroom. Retrieved March 19, 2009, from http://www8.ocn.ne.jp/%7Eapc33/newtanuki.htmDudeney, G. & Hockly, N. (2007). How to teach English with technology. Harlow: Pearson.Geoghegan, M. & D. Klass. (2005). Podcast solutions. Berkely. Apress Company.Johnson, A. (2004). Creating a writing course utilizing class and student blogs. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. X. Retrieved March 19, 2009 from http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Johnson-Blogs/Kennedy, K. (2003). Writing with Web logs. TechLearning: The resource for educational technology leaders. Retrieved March 19, 2009, from http://www.techlearning.com/db_area/archives/TL/2003/02/blogs.htmlOblinger, D. & J. Oblinger. (Eds.) 2005. Educating the NetGeneration. www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/pub7101.pdfOwen, M. (2006). Social software and learning at http://www.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/opening_education/Social_Software_report.pdfSwain, Merrill. (2005). "The Output hypothesis: theory and research." In Eli Hinkel (Ed.). Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning (pp. 471- 483). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Ward, J. (2004). Keeping blogs in perspective. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, San Antonio, TX.Bio: Malba Barahona is the Director of the English Pedagogy Program at UniversidadCiencias de la Informatica (UCINF). She is a graduate of English Pedagogy, UMCE.She holds a Magíster en Lingüistica, with Mención Lengua Inglesa, from Universidad deChile. She is currently a doctoral student at the Australian National University. 5
  • 6. Genre Matters in Academic Writing by Thomas Bakercontinued from page 2Relevance to the field of ELT was considered for two reasons. First, a journal shouldbe widely read by ELT teachers in many countries. This assures the student that theconventions and rhetoric, once acquired, would meet the expectations of a majority ofthe members of the ELT community. Consequently, writing done by a student wouldbe recognized as belonging to this community. Equally important, the journal shouldpromote, in an exemplary way, a sense of pride in belonging to the ELT profession.A second criteria, long term benefit, is not easily conceptualized. A sense of belongingto the ELT profession, critical thinking, teacher research, membership in a professionalorganization, and the habit of life-long professional reading are all possible examples ofsustainable benefits. It is likely that many of these benefits will persist in directproportion to the quality of the journal that is being read.When uniformity of style and rhetoric is considered, the case for a single journal isamplified. A single journal increases the probability of student success in identifyingthe salient, recurring features of AW in context. Generalizations are proved ordisproved based on the repetitive nature (or lack thereof) of lexical and rhetoricalitems which have been previously identified. As a result, a tendency to overgeneralizewould cause little, if any, harm being done. On the contrary, it may promote theinternalization of the features of AW through noticing (Swain, 2005).The fourth criteria, electronic access, takes into account the technological world inwhich students live. Nowadays, most students have been using computers all theirlives. In fact, many would most likely find a world without computers unimiginable.Therefore, having electronic access to the journal being analysed is responsive to themultiple ways students interact with text through a digital medium (Barahona, 2009).Finally, cost has to be taken into account. It is prohibitive for a large number ofjournals that otherwise would have made the choice of a single journal extremelydifficult. Many students, especially those from a low socioeconomic background, donot have the financial resources to buy a large number of back issues of a professionaljournal. Therefore, the primary option should be a high quality journal which givesstudents free access to back issues. In sum, could one journal possibly meet all fivecriteria outlined above?English Teaching ForumThe present author was informed by the Program Coordinator of English TeachingForum, Ms. Paulette J. Estep (personal communication, June 11, 2007), that articlespublished in English Teaching Forum are seen by, “more than seventy thousandreaders in over one hundred countries”. Additionally, hard copies of new issues aredistributed free of charge to ELT teachers worldwide. Furthermore, a web site ismaintained where past issues can be downloaded free of charge. More importantly,most of the authors published in English Teaching Forum are classroom teachers.Thus, English Teaching Forum easily met all five criteria that were established for ajournal to exemplify academic writing for undergraduate English Pedagogy students.How was the journal used?The Integration of Genre & Process WritingIt was decided to use articles with similar content in the Prewriting Stage of the writingprocess to promote academic vocabulary learning in context. Thus, the topics ofreading, writing, vocabulary, and teacher research were recycled multiple times. Inaddition, the articles chosen were judged to have long term professional value to thestudents. Here are the articles that were used: “Error Correction and Feedback in the EFL Writing Classroom” “Applying Reading Research to the Development of an Integrated Lesson Plan” “SWELL: A Writing Method to Help English Language Learners” “Conditions for Teacher Research” “Two Writing Activities for Extensive Reading” “Making Sense Of Words ” ( All articles taken from: http://exchanges.state.gov/englishteaching/forum-journal.html ) 6
  • 7. The following steps were followed with each article: 1. Students read the article outside of class. 2. The students’ reaction to the article was discussed in class. 3. Students underlined citations, rhetorical phrases, lexis and signpost language. 4. The rhetorical use of the underlined language was then discussed. 5. A three-paragraph, reader response was written.Results and DiscussionThis reading, speaking, noticing, and writing cycle allowed the students multipleopportunities to actively engage with academic vocabulary in context as well as tobegin to incorporate the features of AW into their own writing. The students were ableto articulate an understanding of the features of AW as seen in the English TeachingForum as follows: 1. The first person “I” can be used. 2. “You” is never used to address the reader. 3. Introductions include Swales’ (1990) three-move “CARS” model (1. importance, 2. gap statement, 3. purpose statement) (see Table 1). 4. Contractions are not used. 5. Modals are used to soften claims (hedges) and mark degrees of certainty. 6. Citations are a prominent feature and positively affect the writer’s credibility. 7. Conclusions are short, precise and restate the aims of the article (see Table 1). 8. Passive voice is a prominent feature. 9. Formal vocabulary is used. 10. Noun phrases (nominalization) often replace verbs. 11. Phrasal verbs are rarely used. 12. A rich variety of rhetorical phrases are used to achieve cohesion and coherence. 13. Sentence length, word order, and word choice affect the writer’s “voice”. 14. Impersonal language is seen as objective and unbiased. 15. Unsupported claims negatively affect the writer’s credibility. Table 1: Excerpts From Student Writing Introduction: (Student R.C.) Conclusion: (Student F.C.) 1. Importance - It is distressing that “15- To conclude, using these three year-old Chilean students have poor techniques; motivation, collaboration reading skills in their L1” (Baker, 22), and and content, would help to promote harmonious fedback. Teachers and therefore in L2, since “the lack of literacy learners should become aware of and and poor reading ability prevents use these three techniques. Since both individuals from participating in society” teacher and student are determined to (August and Shanahan, 2006a, qtd. in act in a specific manner, the people in Baker, 2008). 2. Gap - Nevertheless, it charge of teaching must focus their can be argued that poor quality in writing attention on how error correction is done is a consequence of insufficient fulfillment in order to change students’ writing perspective. There are many techniques of students’ expectations towards error for giving feedback using proper correction. 3. Purpose - Hence, in this strategies; the three mentioned could be essay, three ways to bolster students’ a beginning to promote a positive error confidence in writing will be discussed. correction environment.CONCLUSIONThe aim of this article was to share an integrated, genre-based/writing-processapproach to the teaching of Academic Writing in the Chilean context. The students’ability to articulate and use the conventions of Academic Writing suggests that it is aviable approach and thus merits further research. Nevertheless, the present resultsshould be taken with caution due to the small number of participants involved.ReferencesREFERENCESBarahona, M. (2009). Web 2.0 tools in ELT. TESOL Chile Newsletter. Vol. 1, Issue 6.Feak, Christine. (2007). Teaching lower level academic writing using a graduated text approach. Retrieved April 4, 2009 from http://turkey.usembassy.gov/uploads/images/UhQpvRWzpMoCabcANaHJKg/FeakTeachingLowerLevel.pdfJohns, Ann. (1990). L1 composition theories: implications for developing theories of L2 composition. In B. Kroll (ed.) Second language writing research: insights for the classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Paltridge, Brian. (2004). Approaches to teaching second language writing. Retrieved 7
  • 8. April 4, 2009 from http://www.elicos.edu.au/index.cgi?E=hcatfuncs&PT=sl&X=getdoc&Lev1=pub_c05_07&Lev2=c04_paltrSwain, Merrill. (2005). "The output hypothesis: Theory and research." In Hinkel (ed.) Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Swales, John. (1990). Genre analysis. English in academic and research settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Swales, John and Christine Feak. (2004). Academic writing for graduate students: Essential tasks and skills (2nd ed.). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Bio: Thomas Baker is a CELTA-qualified EFL teacher, teacher-trainer, and writer with 8years experience in Chile. He has published articles in English Teaching Forum, ESLMagazine, Essential Teacher, and the IH Journal of Education and Development. Hehas given conference presentations & workshops in Chile, Argentina and Peru. Hepreviously taught 5 years at Colegio del Verbo Divino before moving to UniversidadAndrés Bello in Santiago, where he currently teaches Academic Writing. He can bereached by email at: profesorbaker@gmail.com . How Effective Is Error Correction in the L2 Writing Lesson? by Juan Ignacio Córdova (3rd year English Pedagogy student, Univ. Andrés Bello)Introduction George Hillocks and Professor James Williams.Why should students in L2 classrooms On the other hand, proficient Englishlearn to write properly? After all, many Teachers such as Dana Ferris believepeople have made successful careers that “evidence is fairly compelling thatwithout mastering this skill. However, teacher feedback does indeed influencenowadays, this is a very infrequent student writers: They value andthing to happen. In today’s competitive appreciate it, attend to it, and utilize itworld, writing properly and using the to write revisions and make progress incorrect grammatical structures is most their writing” (Ferris, 2003). Otherlikely to provide enormous advantages teachers such as Ana Maria Mora andfor students who are capable of Maria Ines Asis support Danna Ferris’learning how to write well. “Yet view.education transforms lives and societiesand the ability to read, and write, and As can be seen, there is no consensusbeing numerate gives adults and on this matter. Therefore, the presentchildren a huge advantage over those author will examine the evidence inwho are not so fortunate” (Harmer, order to better understand this2007). That is why it is so important to controversy. More specifically, researchteach students to write well. Not least will be conducted to establish howimportant is the kind of feedback effective error correction is in the L2provided by teachers and instructors to writing lesson.their students. MethodsIs error correction an effectivemethod to improve students In order to obtain results about thewriting? effectiveness of error correction in L2 lessons, it was decided to use bothOn the one hand, there are several ELT qualitative and quantitative research.experts, such as Dr. John Truscott, who Qualitative research involves the use ofbelieve that grammar correction is questions where respondents can giveineffective and should be abandoned. their opinions. It is subjective.This controversial statement rests on Quantitative research is collecting,the following assumptions: “(a) analyzing and interpreting data aboutSubstantial research shows it to be what people do. It involves measurableineffective and none shows it to be / observable facts, and therefore, morehelpful in any interesting sense; (b) for objective than qualitative research. Onboth theoretical and practical reasons, the other hand, qualitative research isone can expect it to be ineffective; and more effective than quantitative(c) it has harmful effects” (Truscott, research for investigators who desire to1996, p.1). Some important supporters obtain an in-depth understanding aboutof Dr. Truscott’s view are Professor human behavior. 8
  • 9. Hence, by using both methods, it can Results and Discussionbe expected that this research paper A. Student Survey Resultswill provide a better rounded picture of During an Academic Writing II test,the controversy surrounding error students were asked by the teacher tocorrection. In this way, the researcher provide an opinion about Dr. Johncan expect to increase the credibility of Truscott’s point of view with regards tothe results obtained. These two error correction. This question serveddifferent types of information are not two purposes: To asses the students’mutually exclusive but complementary, understanding of Truscott’s article “Thecreating new lines of thinking by the Case Against Grammar Correction in L2emergence of contradictions and or Writing Classes” and, later on, beconsistencies. considered as a question to obtain the surveys’ results with regards to theAdditionally, triangulation was used. By students’ opinions about errorgathering data from multiple sources, correction.the findings will be more reliable. Toput it differently, by using mixed Overall, there were a total of 13methods and multiple sources, students who agreed with Dr. Truscott.obtaining similar results (convergence) This number represents 36.1%. Theremakes it less likely that the results are were 19 students who disagreed withdue to bias. Thus, triangulation leads him. This number represents 52.7 %.to stronger conclusions. There were 3 students who showed mixed emotions about Dr. Truscott’sIn the present research, three sources view. This number represents 8.3%.were employed. Firstly, thirty-five third- There was one student who did notyear students from Universidad Andrés answer the survey. This numberBello were asked on an Academic represents 2.7%.Writing II test about their opinions inregards to Dr. Truscott’s view about On the one hand, the most commonerror correction. Prior to taking the reason provided by students whotest, students were required to read agreed with Dr. Truscott’s view wasTruscott’s article “The Case Against their own personal excruciatingGrammar Correction in The L2 Classes”. experience in relation to errorThey were asked the question: “Do you correction. Therefore, this segment ofagree or disagree with Dr. Truscott? students can be categorized as “victimsRefer to your personal experience in of the harmful effects of erroryour answer”. correction” (my quotation marks).Secondly, a video of Barry Cusack’s On the other hand, the most commonIATEFL 2009 workshop entitled, reason provided by students who“Extensive Writing: How to mark it” disagreed with Dr. Truscott’s view waswas analyzed by the Academic Writing that error correction had been helpfulII students. The aim in doing this was for them. Therefore, this segment ofto corroborate his view about error students can be categorized as “peoplecorrection in the L2 language lessons. who improved their writing skills thanks to error correction” (my quotationsThirdly, two teachers from Universidad marks).Andrés Bello were interviewed. Eachteacher had to answer a set of nine (9) Therefore, based on these results, itquestions. One of the teachers is an can be stated that the majority of theexpert on error correction. The other, is students who took part in this surveya language teacher. The idea was to get did not agree with Dr. Truscott’s viewboth points of view and contrast them. on the matter of error correction. Consequently, it can be declared thatIn summary, the information of this this outcome supports Dana Ferris’ viewresearch paper was gathered from on the subject concerning errorthree different sources. These were: a correction, since most students havesurvey of thirty-five students from the faith in this method and trust it to beAcademic Writing II course at beneficial for them in regards to theirUniversidad Andrés Bello, Barry writing skills. However, the presentCusack’s video, “Extensive Writing: result should be taken with caution,How to mark it”, and two teachers’ since the number of students involvedinterviews. in the survey was very small (35 students). 9
  • 10. Author’s Analysis Following that, he refers to a handoutAccording to the survey’s result, most in which the spectators can seestudents disagree with Doctor examples of students’ writing and theirTruscott’s opinion about error mistakes. He cited Lucy Fazio as hiscorrection. For the present author this source. In this handout, he presents awas quite surprising, since students composition written by one of hiswho took part in the survey had pupils. In it, a wide variety of mistakesrecently been asked to study John can be found. Teachers are asked toTruscott’s article “The Case Against read the composition and share ideasGrammar Correction in L2 Writing on what they would do with it. OnceClasses. Therefore, one might think they finish reviewing the composition,that their opinion on the matter could Cusack states that there are basicallybe biased, since no article supporting only five (5) things that can be doneerror correction was read by the with students’ extensive writingstudents prior to rendering their assignments: Comment, amend,opinion. One of the questions on this reformulate, explain, and indicate. Intest was to support or refute John regards to the comments, CusackTruscott’s opinion about error claims that it is always important tocorrection based solely on the students’ make written observations about ourpersonal experience. students’ writing whether they are positive or negatives remarks. We canB. Video Analysis also amend the students’ work. That means that we can fix or correct theIn the Academic Writing II course, students’ mistakes. We can alsotaught by Thomas Baker, students were reformulate sentences and ideas.presented with a video called“Extensive Writing: How to mark it”. Sometimes, students make mistakesThis video corresponds to a lecture with the word order of sentences. Thatgiven by Barry Cusack in April 2009 at is why we can reformulate, in somethe International Association of cases, their writing. Also, a fullTeachers of English as a Foreign explanation on the margin can beLanguage annual conference in Cardiff, provided to the students so they knowWales, UK. In this video Professor in more depth the nature of theirCusack shares the procedures he uses mistakes. Last but not least, teachersto correct his students’ writing. can indicate the students’ mistakes by putting a symbol which states whatAt the beginning of the lecture, kind of mistake they have made.Professor Cusack makes a few jokes asa way to break the ice. Then, he states In addition, he states that teachersthe topic of his lecture: Extensive should analyze the kind of mistakeswriting and how to mark it. He explains their students make. Some mistakes,that what he will share with the according to Cusack, can be classifiedspectators is exactly what he has been as findable mistakes. When trying todoing in order to teach his students classify which mistakes are findable,how to write, but he admits that it is teachers should consider thestill a work in progress. Therefore, background of their students, since itchanges and improvements are likely to affects their ability to find and correctbe made by him in the future, and he certain mistakes. This kind of mistakeencourages spectators to contribute to can be pointed out by the teacher andthe development of this teaching the students can correct it later on byprocess. themselves. Spelling, sentence boundaries, and howlers, which areThen he explains that, at the moment, basic grammar mistakes, arehe is preparing 16-year-old students for considered to be findable mistakes,IGCSE English as a second language which are basic errors that can beexam, in which composition writing is of simply and swiftly put right.extreme importance. Hence, hiscomments are likely to help the present In regards to mistakes which can not beauthor to arrive at an answer about the found by the students, teachers shoulduse of error correction in the English L2 avoid asking them to correct them bywriting lessons. Later on during his themselves without their supervisionlecture, Cusack states that most of the and further explanation. Engagement istime students do not read the teachers’ also a key factor for teachers tocorrections on their written papers. consider when they intend to improveThat is why the kind of feedback their pupils’ writing skills. Studentsteachers provide is fundamental for the should become involved with theirimprovement of the students’ writing. teachers’ feedback in order to improve. 10
  • 11. To engage students with error teachers’ background and qualifications.correction, Cusack provides a lesson Questions five through seven aim toplan in which a series of activities are scrutinize the previous experience thepresented to involve students in the teachers have had in regards towriting and error correction process. In teaching writing. Also, one of themit, students: receive an error sheet with (question seven) focuses on theten (10) sentences from ten teachers’ personal experience withcompositions which contain one writing. Question eight, which is thefindable mistake each, are asked to find most important one on the list, directlythree mistakes, have to state what aims to discover the opinions thesekind of mistakes there are and what teachers have about abandoning errorthey should be corrected to. At the end correction. Question nine providesof this process, teachers return the these two teachers the chance to addstudents’ compositions and, in pairs, any information they might considerstudents try to find the rest of the relevant to this matter.mistakes in the error sheet. Studentswho are more proficient in writing are On the one hand, A.C., is a languagelikely to help their fellow pupils. Finally, teacher at UNAB. On the other, R.F. is aCusack states that by the end of his grammar teacher at the samelessons, students are likely to: become university and an expert on the matterself critical, realize the kind of mistakes of error correction. The purpose ofthey make, and start checking their these two interviews was to contrastwork in a productive way. the conceptions these two teachers have about error correction.Author’s Analysis A. C.’s opinion about errorBefore watching the video “Extensive correctionWriting: How to mark it” viewers caninfer, just by looking at the title, that A.C. has a degree in education fromBarry Cusack is in favor of error Pontificia Universidad Catolica. She is acorrection. It is believed by the present high school English teacher, and sheauthor that watching this video has been teaching for eight years. A.Ccontributed a great deal in coming to an has taught at Santa Catalina and at theanswer in regards to the question of Redland School. Also, she has taught atthis research paper: How effective is UNAB and at Universidad Albertoerror correction in L2 writing lessons? It Hurtado. Therefore, it can be statedcan be stated that, according to that she has experience teaching bothProfessor Barry Cusack, error correction adolescent and adult students.in the L2 writing lessons can be quite Currently, she is teaching languageeffective if the proper feedback is courses at UNAB to first, second, andprovided by the teachers to their third year students in the Englishstudents. Also, if teachers are able to Pedagogy program.involve their students with the writingprocess, and are capable of explaining A.C. considers that the best way toto their students the important role teach writing to students is by givingteachers’ feedback plays in this them models, textbooks, and structuresprocedure, students are likely to: which provide examples of how to writebecome self critical, realize the kind of properly. When it comes to errormistakes they make, and start checking correction, A.C. uses a rubric whichtheir work in a productive way. assesses students’ writing by focusingTherefore, it can be stated that, on the following aspects: writing toaccording to Professor Barry Cusack, length, following the model which waserror correction can be quite effective in provided, overall coherence, languagethe L2 writing lessons. use, vocabulary, and use of linking words.C. Teacher Interviews Besides teaching, A.C. has writtenIn order to provide a more accurate papers for conferences and papers onresult about how effective error citizen participation in environmentalcorrection is in the L2 writing classes, laws. While A.C was being interviewed,the present author decided to interview she admitted that she never really gavetwo teachers of English from a serious academic thought about theUniversidad Andrés Bello (hereafter possibility of abandoning errorUNAB). The questions used in these correction due to its possible harmfulinterviews can be subdivided in four effects. However, she graciouslycategories. Questions one through four agreed to provide her opinions on theaim to provide information about the matter nonetheless. 11
  • 12. According to her, error correction in the objective is to provide students withL2 classes should not be abandoned, communicative skills, error correctionsince it helps students of a second should definitely be abandoned, sincelanguage to learn from their mistakes the students’ major goal is to improveand gain awareness of them. She also the way they communicate with others.added that teaching English writing in Hence, error correction might beChile is a great contribution for this ineffective and it may get in the way ofcountry’s students since, unlike improving students’ fluency in thestudents from English-speaking English language.countries, most Chilean students havenot learned in early stages how to be On the other hand, R.F. believes thatorganized and concise when it comes to students who are on their way towriting. In conclusion, it can be stated becoming teachers or experts in athat A.C. is against the idea of certain language ought to be corrected,abandoning error correction. and error correction should not be abandoned. The only way theseR. F.’s opinion about error students will master a certain languagecorrection is through exhaustive correction of their mistakes. According to her, errors areR.F. has a Master’s degree in Linguistics corrected at this level in order to raiseand, at the time of the interview, was awareness about mistakes.three months away from obtaining herP.H.D in Linguistics. She has been R.F. also added that it is extremelyteaching English for twenty three years, important for teachers of English toand has taught all levels, from the most contemplate the hierarchy of theelementary to the most advanced ones. mistakes made by their students.R.F. taught Spanish grammar at the Teachers should try to leave no roomUniversity of Rochester in New York and for higher-level, structural mistakes toEnglish grammar at Gabriela Mistral happen. If they do happen, teachersUniversity in Santiago, Chile. Currently, should not correct them. Instead,she is teaching English grammar at students should only receive a briefUNAB and at Pontificia Universidad explanation from their teachers aboutCatolica in Santiago, Chile. the way they should use a certain structure.R. F. believes it is fundamental toconsider the students’ level of English Author’s analysisbefore determining the methodology to It was no surprise to hear that both A.be used to teach writing to them. She C. and R.F. considered that errorprefers to teach elementary students correction should not be completelythrough structures, while advanced abandoned and that it can be beneficialstudents should be taught by for the improvement of their students’considering a variety of elements such writing skills. However, R. F. stated thatas: argumentative, descriptive, in some cases, such as communicativenarrative, structure, style, and the way courses where the students’ mainthey address the reader. All these objective is to improve theirsubjects are of great significance for communicative skills, error correctionmore advanced students. could be abandoned. It could potentially harm the flow of the lessons.R.F. considers that in order to correct According to R.F., in the specific caseher students’ writing, it is essential to where the focus of a course isconsider the purpose of the course they communicative, a less rigorous form ofare studying. If it is a communicative error correction is justified in order tocourse, too many corrections ruin the promote communication, the objectivecommunication between students and of the course.teachers. In this case, she does notcorrect every single mistake on the Conclusionstudents’ writing. If she is teaching “One of the things that puzzle manyacademic writing, she is more severe teachers is why students go on makingand concerned about the error the same mistakes even when thosecorrection. Prescriptive and descriptive mistakes have been repeatedly pointedapproaches are used to correct out to them” (Harmer, 2007). That isstudents’ mistakes. exactly the point of controversy. According to Dr. Truscott, errorThesis, articles, and papers on correction in the L2 classes is a wasteacademic writing have been written by of time, and according to Dr. Ferris it isher. On the one hand, R.F. considers the only way to improve students’that in courses in which the main writing. Based on the results obtained 12
  • 13. in this research, it can be stated that most students of Academic Writing II courseagree with Dana Ferris, since they openly disagreed with John Truscott’s view on thematter.In regards to Barry Cusack’s workshop video, it can also be stated that he believesthat only through error correction students can improve the way they write. Like manyteachers of English he believes that “learning is fundamentally a process that involvesthe making of mistakes” (Brown, 2007). That is why it should be kept in mind that“mistakes, misjudgments, miscalculations, and erroneous assumptions form animportant aspect of learning virtually any skill or acquiring information” (Brown, 2007).As a result of the teachers’ interviews, it can be stated that both teachers agreed thaterror correction should not be completely abandoned. However, R. F. claimed that insome cases, specifically in communicative courses, where the students’ main objectiveis to improve communicative skills, error correction could be less vigorous. Therationale given for this assertion is that error correction could adversely affect thecommunicative flow of the lessons.In brief, the results obtained by this research showed convergence. Multiple sources;including teachers, teacher-trainers, and students; subjected to both qualitative andquantitative research methodology, arrived at the same outcome, namely, errorcorrection should not be abandoned. Thus, a correspondingly high degree ofconfidence can be ascribed to the results.As a minimum, it has been proven that error correction is highly regarded by teachersand students alike. Students want and expect it while teachers believe in it and areprepared to provide it. As long as the kind of feedback provided by teachers isthoroughly studied and planned prior to using it, students will have access to valuablecomments that can positively promote the way they make use of English in its writtenform.In conclusion, teachers who teach writing in an L2 are encouraged to carefully analyzeand constantly aim to improve the kind of feedback they provide their students with.Consequently, students would most likely become more engaged with the errorcorrection process. Only in this way can error correction truly become an effective toolin the L2 writing lesson.ReferencesBrown, H. D. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. White Plains: Longman, 2007.Cusack, Barry. “Extensive Writing: How to mark it.” Video workshop presented at the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language conference, Cardiff, Wales, UK. April 2009. http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2009/sessions/62/extensive-writing-how-mark-it-0Ferris, Dana. Response to Students Writing: Implications for Second-LanguagStudents. New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003.Harmer, Jeremy. How to Teach Writing. Harlow: Longman, 2004._____ The practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Longman, 2007.Truscott, John. “The Case Against Grammar Correction in L2 Writing Classes.” Language Learning 46 (1996): 327-369. TESOL CHILE’s mission is to strengthen the effective teaching and learning of English as a Foreign Language in the nation of Chile while respecting individuals’ language and cultural backgrounds. To this end, TESOL CHILE, as a national professional association, supports and seeks to inspire those involved in English language teaching, teacher education, administration and management, curricula and materials design, and research; provides leadership and direction through the dissemination and exchange of information and resources; encourages access to and standards for English language instruction, professional preparation, and employment; and supports the initiatives of its international parent organization, TESOL, Inc. 13
  • 14. Tips on How to Effectively Communicate with Parents by David Kendall Clapp Universidad Santo Tomás (UST) Viña del Mar CampusNowadays, it is essential for teachers to gaining parental support if a problem arises.communicate with parents. According toHarmer, “…students´ experiences in their Document all problems. Detailed,families have a profound influence on anecdotal records of chronic behaviortheir attitudes to learning and to should be kept. Doing so would enableauthority.” (2001, p. 126). However, it teachers to relate problems to parents in aoften happens that teachers fail to fair, unbiased manner.communicate with parents in a timelymatter. Consequently, teachers may Be prompt. Teachers are advised to actbecome anxious when communicating immediately when there is a problem.with parents. Experts agree that waiting would only make the problem become more difficultThis anxiety is understandable. Instead of to resolve (Harmer, 2001, p. 129; Ur,contacting parents the moment a problem 1995) Therefore, at the first sign of aarises in school, teachers wait until the problem, parents should be contacted.disruptions are out of hand and the schoolcan no longer handle the student. A good There are many ways to do this. Forrule to remember is: Don´t wait until instance , a letter could be sent home, aparent-teacher conference time to phone call made, or a face to facecommunicate problems. Parents should be conference arranged. To wait until parent-called the moment the student is having teacher conferences or report card time istrouble behaving. not recommended.In this paper, some guidelines for year- How to Communicate Assertivelylong parent-teacher communication will with Parentsbe discussed. In addition, assertivecommunication with parents will be If a teacher is having difficulty with aaddressed. Finally, some suggestions for student and need to speak with a parent,dealing with extreme cases will be everything possible should be done tooffered. reach that parent. Teachers should not hesitate to call a parent at work. If theGuidelines mother can not be reached, call the father or primary caregiver. Though it may beCommunicate your expectations to difficult, do not stop trying until a parentparents. In order for them to support the has been contacted and their supportteacher, parents must know the behaviors received. Remember, the child isexpected from the children. To do this, a ultimately the parent’s responsibility andletter outlining your Classroom you, the educator, deserve parentalDiscipline Plan could be sent home the support.first day of school. The letter should besigned by the parents as well as the child. Before calling or meeting with a parentThis can be seen as a kind of binding whose child is having a serious behaviorcontract. problem, plan the conversation ahead of time. Write down the four followingPositively reinforce students. Since points to include in the discussion:parents are accustomed to receiving onlybad news from school, it is important for 1. Goals for the phone call or conference:teachers to show that they have a positive Know exactly what is wanted fromattitude toward their children and parents before speaking to them: Forteaching. This could be done by sending example, “Mrs. Contreras, I need yourhome positive notes early in the school cooperation in regard to your son´s/year. It would increase the chances for daughter´s fighting in school”. 14
  • 15. 2. Objectives: Teachers should know become hostile toward the teacher. Inexactly what they need parents to do to those cases it is best to seekachieve that goal: For example, “Mrs. administrative support before takingContreras, I need you to discipline your action. Together, a teacher and theson/ daughter whenever I send home a principal can develop a plan for gainingnote saying that the child has been the parents’ support.disruptive in school.” Of course, thisimplies a prior, explicit, mutually-agreed An effective way to deal withupon understanding between parent, uncooperative parents is to providechild, and teacher before implementing. consequences for the student that willThis is to be understood in general terms, make it as inconvenient for the parents asas any inconsistency between parent, possible. For example: “Mr. Reyes, youchild or teacher would probably be have a choice. Either you discipline yourcounterproductive. son when he misbehaves in school, or I will be forced to call you at work every3. Rationale: The following rationale is single time he breaks a rule.” Theoften used in conversations regarding important thing to remember is that onebehavior: “Mrs. Contreras, it is in your must be willing to follow through withchild´s best interest that we work together the consequence and use it consistentlyto eliminate this undesirable behavior. until the parent agrees to give theirThe parents are the most important people support.in your child´s life. You have moreinfluence over him or her than I ever will. In conclusion, the recommendationsYour influence is vital in helping your which have been discussed can helpchild. S/he needs to know we are working teachers to more effectively communicatetogether, and that we will do all we can to with parents. Novice teachers should findhelp your child improve his/her these guidelines especially helpful. Inbehavior.” addition, experienced teachers may also find these guidelines to be of use, if only4. Consequences: State the logical to validate what they have already learnedconsequences if the problem remains from their own experience when dealingunsolved. “ Mrs. Contreras, if your with parents. Therefore, the exampleschild´s fighting problem persists, s/he will discussed herein by no means are to bebe suspended from school.” considered the end to all means; to attempt to do so would be outside theIf Parents absolutely refuse to scope of this paper. Nevertheless,Support the Teacher considering the significance of the benefits for students and their families, itA few uncooperative parents who is hoped that this paper has in some wayabsolutely refuse to help teachers encouraged teachers and parents alike todiscipline their children may be reflect on how to further foster betterencountered. Some parents may even communication between both.ReferencesHarmer. Jeremy. (2001). The practice of English language teaching (3rd ed.). Harlow Longman.Ur, Penny. (1995). A course in language teaching: Practice and theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Bio: David Kendall Clapp holds a BS degree from the University of Southern Mississippiin the USA. He is a teacher, in-service trainer, and writer with six and one half yearsteaching experience in Chile. He currently works as a full time academic in Englishpedagogy for Universidad Santo Tomás at the Viña del Mar campus. 15
  • 16. An Interview with Richard Boyum interviewed by Thomas Bakercontinued from page 1TB: What is a Regional EnglishLanguage Officer?RB: A RELO is a State Department RB: Well, I’d first of all like to getForeign Service Officer specialized in the acquainted with the English teachingteaching of English as a foreign language. environment in all its different formsOur Division is part of the Bureau of here, and then bring some of ourEducational and Cultural Affairs and resources to contribute to Englishlocated in the Office of Academic language teaching and training as desiredPrograms. As RELOs, we support and or requested.promote the teaching of English and thetraining of English teachers. For TB: Could you tell a bit about yourinstance, we might work with a ministry background?of education to offer training courses forEnglish teachers, or coordinate with a RB: Like many Foreign Service Officers,university on teacher training curriculum I have a "checkered" career. My firstdevelopment. We also place visiting teaching experience abroad was as aAmerican professors at selected Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal. Later,universities, or identify Chilean English after I got my MA, I worked for Ohioteaching professionals to go on training University in Saudi Arabia. When Iprograms to the United States. joined the State Department I got assigned to Egypt, Brazil, Thailand, IndiaTB: Can you give some examples of the and now Chile.kinds of programs you have? I am an active member of "Teachers ofRB: One of our most useful resources is English to Speakers of Other Languages"the English Language Fellow program, (TESOL), and have served on the TESOLwhich places an American professor Board of Directors.specialized in English language trainingat a university to work with future TB: I understand you have received ateachers of English. We have four couple of special Awards. In 2005 youEnglish Language Fellows in Chile this received The James E. Alatis Award fromyear. TESOL, for outstanding contribution to the field. You also received a specialAnother program is the Winter Institute award from the King of Thailand.for Teachers of English (WITE). It is aone-week English immersion program RB: Yes, in 2004 I was honored to havewith intensive training and cultural the King of Thailand present me with aactivities for teachers. special award for contributions to Thai Education through a Distance LearningA program for students from age 14 to 16 project the RELO office conducted.is the ACCESS program that offersscholarships to underprivileged youth topursue extracurricular English languagestudy, to better prepare them for the post-secondary school world of employment oruniversity entrance exams. The programis available in Antofagasta, Santiago andConcepción. Chile is the first country inLatin America to have this program.TB: What are the objectives for your Richard Boyum receives an award from the King of Thailand in ovember, 2004.work in Chile? Welcome to Chile! 16