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Response to error in L2 writing: Where are we (teachers) and where do we go from here…? By: Mazin Yousif Big Day In 2014

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Presentation on theme: "Response to error in L2 writing: Where are we (teachers) and where do we go from here…? By: Mazin Yousif Big Day In 2014"— Presentation transcript:

1 Response to error in L2 writing: Where are we (teachers) and where do we go from here…? By: Mazin Yousif Big Day In 2014

2 Discussion 1: Discuss the following in pairs or groups When teaching writing, do you see yourself as a language teacher or as a writing instructor? When giving feedback, how do you see your role: a teacher, target reader, assessor, evaluator or editor? Does your feedback tend to be comprehensive (i.e. covering all errors) or selective and prioritized (i.e. main issues)? Why? Which issues do you focus on when providing feedback: grammar and mechanics or meaning? Why? Do you tend to give single- or multiple-draft feedback? Why? Do you think that your feedback strategies encourage or discourage your students ?

3 Activity 1: Identify the errors in the sentences In recent years the children is spending more time in home playing computer games. is important to work in group. Work in groups will make themselves successfull in the future. There is no doubt that this behavior affects their health, children have social problems, education system has to support them.

4 A rt Agr I n recent years the children is spending more time at home playing computer games. (coded) It groups i s important to work in group. (correction) W ork in groups will make themselves successfull in the future. (underlined) T here is no doubt that this behavior affects their health, children have social problems, education system has to support them. (try to use linking words to connect the ideas well – marginal commentary)

5 Discussion 2: What competencies do L2 student writers need to have to write successfully? How do L2 students’ writing needs differ from those of L1 counterparts? If differences exist, what implications do they have for teacher feedback strategies? What areas do L2 students prefer their feedback to focus on?

6 Outline Needs and differences Errors to target Arguments against Confusing terminology Teacher written feedback: strategies & factors Response to errors: issues & strategies Activity

7 What do L2 students need? Grammatical competence: Grammar, vocabulary & language system Discourse competence: Genre & its rhetorical aspects & conventions Sociolinguistic competence: Appropriate use of language in different contexts

8 Potential L1 & L2 student writer differences Individual: (e.g.) age, language aptitude, gender, motivation & attitude, learning style & preferences Language: The burden of learning to write and learning English Developmental aspect of language learning Lack of linguistic resources to convey ideas

9 L1 & L2 writing feedback preferences L1 students: Content–focused (i.e. improvement in the overall quality) BUT L2 students: Language–focused (i.e. linguistic accuracy of paramount importance) ESL teachers: composition slaves, error hunters, language editors WHY Lack the intuitive ability to handle grammatical accuracy and vocabulary

10 Which errors to target in feedback? Genre–specific (e.g. narrative texts) Comprehensibility: interfere with clarity of meaning Frequent: Consistently made by the individual student Student–identified: Would like the teacher to focus on SO Writing: Communicative as well as linguistic competence.

11 Arguments against provision of feedback Truscott (1996): Feedback is ineffective and harmful ‘It has no place in writing courses and should be abandoned’ (p.328) BUT WHY 1. Interlanguage development: a gradual process and not a sudden discovery (based on the Krashen’s Natural Order Hypothesis) 2. Learner aptitude: Ready to acquire a grammatical structure and the role of ZPD 3. Pseudo-learning: Knowledge learned may disappear & no long-term benefits (based on acquisition VS learning)

12 Confusing terminology Error VS Mistake: Error: A systematic inaccuracy indicating a gap in learners’ interlanguage system. Mistake: An unsystematic inaccuracy (e.g. slips, memory failures). Treatable VS Untreatable errors: Treatable: Rule–governed and easy to respond and treat (e.g. subject– verb agreement). Untreatable: Beyond students’ knowledge and difficult to treat (e.g. word choice).

13 Confusing terminology Local VS Global errors: Local: Do not impede communication (grammatical and non– grammatical). Global: Interfere with comprehensibility and result in communication breakdown. Learning VS Acquisition Learning: Processes of learning. Acquisition: Ultimate goal of the ‘learning’ process (i.e. multi- competent).

14 Confusing terminology Substantive VS Perfunctory noticing Substantive: In-depth process of WF resulting in uptake (bridging the knowledge gap and internalisation takes place). Perfunctory: Inability to process WF. Declarative VS Procedural knowledge: Declarative: understand what, but cannot do it. Procedural: notice the gap, understand what and know how to do it.

15 Teacher written feedback strategies Type: Direct VS Indirect Focus: Focused (comprehensive) VS Unfocused (selective) Explicitness Coded VS Uncoded

16 I n recent years the children is spending more time in at home playing computer games. (Indirect) It groups i s important to work in group. (Direct) W ork in groups will make them becoming more successful and interacting with each other. (Focused) E veryone agree that computers is usefull and should be use in studet. (Unfocused) T T T his gave me a lot of hard time since I am a child. (Coded) E veryone have been a liar. (Uncoded)

17 Direct WF Direct WF: provision of correction. Crossing unnecessary words, inserting missing words and direct reformulation. Advantages: Appropriate for ‘treatable errors’, effective for short-term learning, promoting “Perfunctory Noticing”, low proficiency level. Disadvantages: One–shot treatment, less engaging, unidirectional, lack of knowledge of the nature of errors, promoting “Substantive Noticing” time and energy-consuming practice, reliance on corrections, short–term benefits.

18 Indirect WF Indirect WF: No provision of correction Circling, labeling, underlining, highlighting, marking it in the text with or without a rule Advantages: Guided–learning problem solving activity, engaging, developing transferable self–editing strategies, fostering student autonomy, appropriate for high proficiency level, long-term benefits. Disadvantages: Appropriate for treatable errors, a challenge for less proficient learners

19 Focused & unfocused WF Focused WF: Selective Targeting specific error types or patters, a discrete number of error categories (e.g. prepositions & articles), students’ most frequent error patterns. Unfocused WF: Comprehensive Correcting all error types

20 Coded & uncoded WF Coded WF: Labeling the error Providing a code for error categories (e.g. T for tense) Uncoded WF: Identifying the error without labeling Underlining, circling, making a marginal comment without the use of codes

21 Factors influencing choice of WF Several factors come into play: 1. Type of error (i.e. treatable or non-treatable) 2. Impact and frequency of error 3. Individual factors: proficiency level, language aptitude & attitude, goals and preferences in relation to the type, focus and use of code 4. Contextual factors: Micro & Macro contexts Micro: Type of writing task & its communicative purpose, learning purposes (obtaining qualification or making improvements in grammatical accuracy), teacher–student trusting relationship, time of the day, physical setting. Macro: Learners’ educational backgrounds, exposure to knowledge and instruction of target language.

22 Response to student error: Strategies 1. Goals: Knowledge of forms and structure, focus on communicative competence, type, amount and relevance of instruction, converting declarative (know about it) to procedural (know how to do it) knowledge, multiple drafts. 2. Timing: Intermediate drafts (focus on form and content), but final draft (more emphasis on error). Pedagogical gains: charting of types/numbers of errors, developing proofreading and editing strategies, correcting and analysing own errors. 3. Amount, type and degree of explicitness: focused VS unfocused / direct VS indirect / coded VS uncoded. 4. Ongoing support: strategy training (e.g. editing and self–editing strategies, error log) & constant in–class grammar instruction.

23 Response to student error: Strategies 5. Peer feedback and collaborative revision (student–student). 6. One-to-one discussion in class. 7. Metalingiustic explanation: one-to-one and/or group. 8. Marginal comments. 9. Endnotes: Things we did well / Things we need to focus on.

24 Guiding principles for response to student writing Some guiding principles: 1. Time the intervention (which draft?) 2. Be selective and prioritise issues 3. Contextualise and individualise the response 4. Provide constructive feedback (highlighting strengths and weaknesses) 5. Choose clarity over brevity (clear comments) 6. Strike a balance between providing clear, helpful and individualised feedback and appropriating the student’s text

25 Where to start and what to look for? 1. Developing task assessment criteria Developing rubrics that reflect course aims and objectives and teacher’s expectations (e.g. task response, coherence & cohesion, grammar & mechanics and lexical resources). 2. Knowing students’ strengths and weaknesses Addressing individual needs by discussing them with the student. 3. Prioritising issues on various drafts Identifying problematic errors and which should be addressed. Using a judicious combination of teacher written feedback, peer feedback, teacher–student conference and self–evaluation through various drafts.

26 How to construct clear & helpful feedback? 1. Be a reader, not an error hunter 2. Summarise specific suggestions for improvement 3. Add legible marginal comments as well as examples 4. Explain any rhetorical or grammatical terminology 5. Provide clear comments and engaging questions (avoid indirect requests) 6. Pair questions, comments with explicit suggestions 7. Use words or phrases instead of codes or symbols if need be 8. Design and adapt a standard feedback form

27 ESL writing error categories Error typeFrequencyPercent of total Sentence structure Word choice Verb tense Noun endings Verb form Punctuation Articles Word form Spelling Run–on sentences Pronouns Subject–verb agreement Fragments (Chaney, 1999)

28 Beyond response to error: What else can teachers do? What can be done with a text? Analysing vocabulary Acquiring vocabulary through extensive reading Analysing rhetorical aspects and moves Examining syntactic structures Teaching grammar constantly

29 Take home message L2 writing feedback: 1. Learning to write and writing to learn 2. A protracted process 3. Not a one shot treatment — Multiple drafts essential (edit–submit cycle) 4. A form of two-way communication between teacher and student 5. Not a one form treatment (a variety of forms recommended) 6. Student– and text–focused

30 Take home message 7. Self-editing strategies–oriented 8. Timely fit & manageable 9. A problem solving task 10. Done with and not to the student in class 11. Eclectic in relation to the focus

31 Holding students to be accountable How can students be held accountable? 1. Monitor and track own progress (e.g. error log) 2. Revise and submit sheet 3. Develop self–editing skills 4. Discuss their individual needs and issues with the teacher

32 Activity 2: How would you respond to the errors in these texts? Factual recount: A disastrous journey This happen a few years ago in Spain. The first part part fine. We use our new satnav for the first time take us right for the door of our friend house. Three days we continue our jouney we started but after a while we relise we drive west towards another city. I was sure we are going in the wrong direct, my husband want to do what the satnav saying. We stopped. we checked the map, we turned around. We wasted nearly 2 hour going for the wrong direct. Possible main issues: Tense Lack of text organisers (e.g. and, when, but) Spelling

33 Factual report: My beautiful one–bedroom flat in Budapest A flat is nic and beatifll. It is perfect in city of Budapest. It is cose flat. It has one large bedroom, spacial living room with balcony, modern kitchen, and bathroom. There is specticular view of Danube from windows. Living room has big table and large smart TV. Flat has wouden flors. Possible main issues: Spelling Articles

34 Discussion essay: Living without TV The issue of whether or not students should wear school uniforms are very important for consider. we need for consider the reasons why students should wear uniforms. school uniforms makes life easy. if you wear uniforms, people do not know you come from a wealthy or poor family. There are some reason why students should not wear uniforms. wearing uniforms are boring. students want to decide like adults. Possible main issues: Lack of text organisers (e.g. firstly, secondly, on the other hand) No supporting ideas and examples to support main arguments Capitalization

35 Student 1: One day Kate found spider in back yard and decided to take it. She loved spider and knew it was dangerous. So it was her turn to show and tell, Kate got up and opened box to show everybody spider. Spider jumped of box on floor, everybody in class started to scream and ran around room madly. Student 2: Last week Kate was seeing a spider in the back yard and decided to take it. She was knowing it is dangerous. When it her turn to show and tell, Kate stands up and opens the box to show everybody about her spider. Suddenly the spider jumpes out of the box on the floor, and everybody in class is screaming and running like crazy. Possible main issues: Student 1: Articles and text organisers Student 2: Tense

36 Selected references Birtchener, J. & Ferris, D. (2012). Written corrective feedback in second language acquisition and writing. New York: Routledge. Chaney, S. (1999). The effect of error types on error correction and revision. California: California State University Press. Ferrirs, D. (2003). Response to student writing: Implications for second language students. New York & London: Lawrence Erlbaun Associates. Ferris, D. (2011). Treatment of error in second language writing (2 nd ed.). Michigan: The University of Michigan Press. Hyland, K. & Hyland, F. (2006). Feedback on second language students’ writing. Language Teaching, 39, 83–101. Lee, I. (2011). Working smarter, not working harder: Revisiting teacher feedback in the L2 writing classroom. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 67, 377–399. Storch, N. (2010). Critical feedback on written corrective feedback research. International Journal of English Studies, 10, 29–46.


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