Mistake or Error?• A distinction made by Jeremy Harmer in A Practical Guide to English Language Teaching categorizes incorrect English from students: A mistake occurs when students know the correct language but incorrectly retrieve it from memory. An error occurs when students have incorrectly learned or don’t yet know the correct language. English words ‘borrowed’ by other languages are the most common source of mis-learned English. Whether the utterance in question falls into one or the other category above, will determine to what extent we will correct, if at all.
Why do Ss make errors?• L1 interference• Overgeneralisation of rules from L2• Distraction or overload of processing capacity• Cross association• Teacher or material induced• Pre-systematic / systematic errors
• He lost the bus, so he was late (Pre-Int)• He catched the bus (Elementary)• If I will work tomorrow, I will not come to school (Pre-Int)
• The most frequent request from students to teachers is for their English to be constantly corrected. The majority of complaints about TESOL/TEFL teachers concern correction - usually the lack of it. Correction is arguably the principal role of teachers in the classroom. Errors left uncorrected can easily lead to complete breakdown in communication on a daily basis and when left unchecked, can lead to permanent errors which later become irreversible. What do students learn in class if not corrected? As a rule, a lack of correction does not leave the student with a good impression of a teacher’s competency or professionalism.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Correction• Students want it • Stressful – can raise• It feels like part of the affective filter ‘teacher’s job’ • Can interrupt flow of• If you don’t correct, ideas (fluency) Ss assume they are • Is not proven to not making mistakes actually help in the• Lack of exposure language acquisition creates a need for process classroom correction • Doesn’t reflect natural L1 acquisition
What do you correct more?• Grammar• Lexis• Pronunciation• Style• Appropriacy• Word order
Ways of Correcting• Self-correction• Peer correction• Teacher correctionOf these the most effective in foreign language skills acquisitionis self-correction. When learners realize and correct their ownmistakes, they are more effectively internalizing the language.The next most desirable and effective form is peer correction.When learners are able to recognize and correct their mistakescollectively, they actually help each other to develop Englishlanguage skills with less interference of their respectiveAffective Filters. (Krashen–Terrell, 1983) Finally, there iscorrection of errors by the teacher. An effective means, butone that should be last and the least frequently used form ofEnglish or other foreign language correction.
Ways of Correcting• REFORMULATION: Repeat correctly what the S has said, with no specific focus on correction• CLARIFICATION REQUEST: Ask S to repeat what they have said• ORAL ELICITATION: Repeat the correct part of the utterance and prompt S to reformulate• EXPLICIT CORRECTION: Tell S that the utterance was incorrect and provide the correct form• PEER / SELF CORRECTION: Tell S that the utterance was incorrect and ask for the correct form• METALINGUISTIC FEEDBACK: Give a hint as to why the utterance was incorrect• ECHOING / REPITITION: Repeat the error, with questioning intonation, to highlight it• ELICITATION THROUGH GESTURE / SIGNPOSTING: Use a simple facial expression or hand movement to show the S is wrong
• PACS – On OHT / board / paper – Individual / group – Immediately after activity / end of lesson / next lesson
Some problems…• Your 1:1 S says that they want you to correct everything they get wrong.• In a group, one S always jumps in to correct their peers in open-class activities.• When you put errors on the board for correction after an activity, the S who made the error is never the one who corrects it.• You have a class with one S who makes a lot more pronunciation errors than the others.• A student resents being corrected (by peer and/or T)• A student will not accept correction from peers without verification from the T.• The same student constantly makes the same mistake.
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