2The role of error Outcomes: distinguishing different types of mistakes: errors vs. slipsunderstanding factors in learner errors and reasons underlying different mistakescategorising types of mistakesdiscussing some of the issues involved in error correction
3MAKING MISTAKES IS A NATURAL AND POSITIVE PART OF LEARNING A SECOND LANGUAGE
4Did your teachers put a strong emphasis on correcting mistakes, or did they make you feel that it was acceptable to make mistakes?How did this make you feel – in either of these situations?
5Slips vs. ErrorsSlips:Ss know the correct form, and make the slip due to carelessness, tiredness, distraction, inattentiveness, etc. Ss can usually correct these kinds of mistakes themselvesErrors:Ss make a genuine mistake because don’t actually know the correct form. The error is made due to factors such as trying to produce something which has not been fully learnt or learnt incorrectly, interference from L1, mistaken beliefs about the L2 rules. Ss are not usually able to self-correct errorsNB! L1 – first language or mother tongueL2 – target language or a second or foreign language
6Slips vs. ErrorsWhich one can be considered ‘developmental’, i.e. Ss make mistakes because their learning of the item is as yet incomplete?Which type can Ss usually correct by themselves?
7Why L2 learners make errors Factors in learner errors:InterferenceDevelopmental errorMislearningFossilisation
8The nature of typical mistakes Age groupsLevelsBackgroundLearning styles………..
9Mistake categories Grammar Register Lexis Pronunciation Misunderstanding what they hearSpelling…….
10Mistake categories Grammar – mixing up tenses Register- using formal language in informal contextLexis – confusion over words with similar meaningsPronunciation – confusing sounds of L1 & L2Misunderstanding what they hear – caused by difficulties in distinguishing sounds, words, word boundaries in connected speechSpelling – writing words which have similar sounds but are spelt differently
11Making mistakes is a natural part of language learning. Mistakes play an important role in indicating to teachers the stage learners are atMistakes show needs for further teaching or studyMistakes help teachers to advise learners on what to do to improve
12Why do we make mistakes?Interlanguage – A stage in learning in which Ss mix elements of L1 structure, rules or pronunciation with L2 when they use L2. This is constantly changing as learners progress in L2 (By me a dog, I no come)Mother-tongue interference – Applying the rules of L1 to L2 (The news are good)Carelessness – Not paying attention (I’ll be in a minute, I am just wearing my coat. (I am just putting my coat on)NB! This could be also due to tiredness or interlanguage
13Why do we make mistakes?Translation - Converting from L1. This cause is very close to Mother-tongue interference category (e.g. using ‘please’ when you give someone something)Over-generalisation/over-application – assuming a rule applies in all cases and over-using it (How many childs have you got?)Tiredness – Feeling tired (e.g. missing out words, using simpler forms). Ss can correct these when promptedAnxiety – Feeling nervous (e.g. disjointed sentences)
14The dos and don’ts of error correction Tell Ss what they got right as well as what was wrongPraise is very important for motivation and developing self-confidenceDon’tJudge Ss by the errors they makeErrors are inevitable and integral part of learning, so there are no point in deciding that learners are “good” or “bad”Correct all mistakes during a fluency activityIf you do this you will interrupt the flow of activity. Only correct them if the error causes miscommunicationEncourage Ss to correct themselvesThis is a good habit – the more they can do this the less dependent on the teacher they will be and will help them to analyse and understand betterDiscourage Ss from correcting each otherSs can learn a lot from each other. Ss are often able to explain things to each other in a way they understand better then when T explains
15The dos and don’ts of error correction Correct all learners in the same waySs may be at different levels, have different learning styles and work at different paces. Ts need to consider when Ss would benefit from correction and when notDoCreate a classroom atmosphere where Ss feel free to ask for helpThis helps self-confidence and encourages Ss to try things out for themselvesSee errors as usefulTs can learn about their Ss through the kinds of errors they make. Errors can provide feedback on the T’s work, and may help her to plan or adjust activities in future lessonsAnticipate the errors that might occur when planning a lessonA good T tries to predict the types of errors a particular activity may throw up and then work out strategies for dealing with them. (e.g. pre-teaching the vocabulary)