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  1. #1
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    Question Error Correction

    Do you think error correction is important for those at the beginner level?

    I think it's important. I don't go for the notion that "things will fix themselves" as the student progresses. This is an idea that seems to be floating around out there from time to time, and I disagree with it.

    Does anyone have any comments on this? Do you agree? Disagree? Is your viewpoint somewhere in the middle? If so, please explain.

    Also, any Internet articles on this topic that you know of and can post would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

    PROESL out.


  2. #2
    Lady Hawk is offline Member
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    Default Re: Error Correction

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    Do you think error correction is important for those at the beginner level?

    I think it's important. I don't go for the notion that "things will fix themselves" as the student progresses. This is an idea that seems to be floating around out there from time to time, and I disagree with it.

    Does anyone have any comments on this? Do you agree? Disagree? Is your viewpoint somewhere in the middle? If so, please explain.

    Also, any Internet articles on this topic that you know of and can post would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

    PROESL out.


    I completely agree with you. As a high school English teacher, I am amazed at the basic errors students continue to make. One particular spelling error that I continue to see even on the internet is "dose" rather than "does". Also, students who are weak in grammar (to which our educational system does not value) have a difficult time in learning foreign languages. The basic structures of language is much like an algebraic equation. Since language builds upon itself, I think we do the student an injustice by not correcting errors as they occur.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Error Correction

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Hawk View Post
    I completely agree with you. As a high school English teacher, I am amazed at the basic errors students continue to make. One particular spelling error that I continue to see even on the internet is "dose" rather than "does". Also, students who are weak in grammar (to which our educational system does not value) have a difficult time in learning foreign languages. The basic structures of language is much like an algebraic equation. Since language builds upon itself, I think we do the student an injustice by not correcting errors as they occur.
    Yes, it can have consequences later on for ESL speakers who find themselves in situations where their writing really counts. It could be for any number of reasons, but I feel that grammatical accuracy is not given appropriate attention in many ESL programs. And there are many types of ESL programs, ranging from free classes offered by nonprofits to very expensive English language schools whose "main" function is, at times, to provide I20s - student visas.

    As for your experience as a high school teacher, I can imagine what you mean, as I've seen native speaker writing that is less than satisfactory.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Error Correction

    Correction of mistakes is a must, but it also depends on the purpose of the activity. If students have just been presented with the target language, then the initial opportunities for practice focus on accuracy. After all, students need to accurately produce the language.

    However, elsewhere in the lesson, students need free(r) activities which allow them to experiment and personalize the material. It's often intrusive for the teacher to interrupt a discussion or role play, and so correction should be saved for after the activity.

    Lastly, all mistakes are not created equal. Some language production may be above the level of the student, and so errors will appear. Correction here may not be desirable, because the problems remain above his productive level. The student won't understand the whys and hows of the problem, and at best will be limited to the most basic level of understanding, certainly not remembering or applying (as suggested in Bloom's Taxonomy).

    I would also be cautious on correcting mistakes not related to the target language during the initial stages of the presentation/practice. As students are focused on the new language, small slips usually appear.

    I wrote a few articles, which you can find here. These go into a lot more detail.

    Correction & Feedback | Heads Up English | ESL Lessons

    Chris Cotter
    Free flashcards at The Flashcard Hub.
    Just print and teach materials at Heads Up English.

  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Error Correction

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    Do you think error correction is important for those at the beginner level?

    I think it's important. I don't go for the notion that "things will fix themselves" as the student progresses. This is an idea that seems to be floating around out there from time to time, and I disagree with it.

    Does anyone have any comments on this? Do you agree? Disagree? Is your viewpoint somewhere in the middle? If so, please explain.

    Also, any Internet articles on this topic that you know of and can post would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

    PROESL out.

    There are various second language acquisition (SLA) theorists and practitioners who believe that L2 can be learnt like L1 - Krashen, with his Monitor Theory, is a good example.
    I believe that learners do better with error correction than without. But children learning an L2 can often do so in the playground. I'm sure there is some form of critical period such that the older we are when we begin learning, the more instruction we need - and that includes correction.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Error Correction

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I'm sure there is some form of critical period such that the older we are when we begin learning, the more instruction we need - and that includes correction.
    This is from an article a few weeks ago on langauge acquisition. The information isn't really so new, and is but one idea. But it made mainstream news:

    Unraveling how children become bilingual so easily - Yahoo! News

    Chris Cotter
    Free flashcards at The Flashcard Hub.
    Just print and teach materials at Heads Up English.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Error Correction

    I totally agree - error correction is very important - making mistakes is another way of learning - at times only through making mistakes can we learn.



    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    Do you think error correction is important for those at the beginner level?

    I think it's important. I don't go for the notion that "things will fix themselves" as the student progresses. This is an idea that seems to be floating around out there from time to time, and I disagree with it.

    Does anyone have any comments on this? Do you agree? Disagree? Is your viewpoint somewhere in the middle? If so, please explain.

    Also, any Internet articles on this topic that you know of and can post would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

    PROESL out.


  8. #8
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    Smile Re: Error Correction

    Quote Originally Posted by Heads Up English View Post
    Correction of mistakes is a must, but it also depends on the purpose of the activity. If students have just been presented with the target language, then the initial opportunities for practice focus on accuracy. After all, students need to accurately produce the language.

    However, elsewhere in the lesson, students need free(r) activities which allow them to experiment and personalize the material. It's often intrusive for the teacher to interrupt a discussion or role play, and so correction should be saved for after the activity.

    Lastly, all mistakes are not created equal. Some language production may be above the level of the student, and so errors will appear. Correction here may not be desirable, because the problems remain above his productive level. The student won't understand the whys and hows of the problem, and at best will be limited to the most basic level of understanding, certainly not remembering or applying (as suggested in Bloom's Taxonomy).

    I would also be cautious on correcting mistakes not related to the target language during the initial stages of the presentation/practice. As students are focused on the new language, small slips usually appear.

    I wrote a few articles, which you can find here. These go into a lot more detail.

    Correction & Feedback | Heads Up English | ESL Lessons

    Chris Cotter
    Free flashcards at The Flashcard Hub.
    Just print and teach materials at Heads Up English.
    Thanks for the reply. I think you've made some good points.

    I'll take a look at the articles and links.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Error Correction

    Quote Originally Posted by emacdwilliams View Post
    I totally agree - error correction is very important - making mistakes is another way of learning - at times only through making mistakes can we learn.
    Yes, I sometimes use mistakes as a starting point for some lessons, if it's appropriate for the situation, of course.



  10. #10
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    Smile Re: Error Correction

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    There are various second language acquisition (SLA) theorists and practitioners who believe that L2 can be learnt like L1 - Krashen, with his Monitor Theory, is a good example.
    I believe that learners do better with error correction than without. But children learning an L2 can often do so in the playground. I'm sure there is some form of critical period such that the older we are when we begin learning, the more instruction we need - and that includes correction.
    I agree.

    I think that Krashen's ideas make sense, but only to a point. I do believe that explicit and formal instruction must be part of the language learning and teaching experience in order to arrive at the desired result: fluency and accuracy combined

    In my opinion the critical period for children is about 12 or 13. After these ages, I think it becomes very difficult to learn with "natural way" exclusively. There are adults who seem to learn very well without ever having learned in a formal setting. However, there are still some things that one simply cannot learn without explicit instruction. A very good student can read, observe, and listen for less frequently used, but still important to learn, grammar forms, but I think this sort of student is rare. I doubt, for example, that the future perfect can easily be "acquired" by any student. This goes for the present subjunctive, as well, which occurs frequently enough in the news, formal announcements, and in business.

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