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How to deal with the errors students make in their study?

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Joined: 07 Dec 2008
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:49 am    Post subject: How to deal with the errors students make in their study? Reply with quote

I am a high school teacher.In my teaching,I find an interesting thing and it have puzzled me for a long time.Generally speaking,there are some teaching important points and difficult points in every lesson.As a teacher,I will emphasis again and again and I also give them a lot of exercises to make sure they can master them.It seems that they indeed understand in the class but next time they make the same mistakes again. Sometimes although the same items have been tested many times,they can't make right choice.I often ask myself it is my fault or it is that my students don't study hard.Can you give me some help?
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Joined: 03 Feb 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I am only a student-teacher, so I might not help you all that much, however, I have seen this phenomenon in both my practicum. My students just donít seem to process information. Indeed, we go over a notion several times, and yet, they always make the same mistakes. In fact, during my last practicum this past fall, this was really an issue for both me and my teacher. My theory is that students lack of confidence and interest in learning a second language, and this is not the teacherís fault. Also, Iíve read that to learn something new, we must hear it 20 times, if you think about it, 20 times is a lot. I also believe that students want to relate to French when speaking and writing, and that is why so many mistakes are found.
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Sally Olsen

Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 1322
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It probably helps if they learn the correct way to say and write things the first time up to the twentieth time (I thought it was eight times which seems easier). But they don't usually hear it correctly all the time and it seems that what they hear that is easier is learned more quickly and is harder to change.

We had one student in our class do some research on this. He taped students at the beginning of the class and transcribed all the tapes, marking the errors. Then he did the same at the end of the class - one semester of about 16 weeks give or take. When he showed the original transcripts to the students, they denied making those mistakes and thought he had misheard. In fact, some were quite angry with him. They recognized that they were errors. They didn't recognize their present errors when they reheard the interviews.

How many of you have children and have heard some of these same mistakes as the children learn about the language. Most usually learn over time that you don't say, "I goed to the store."

Some people have investigated this under the title "Fossilization" and some people don't believe that there is such a thing.

It does seem to help to have people find their own mistakes though and I guess the rest is giving good examples and being patient. I can't seem to help myself correcting people but I think it is probably a waste of time in the end and might not be good for the relationship. Most people expect it because I am a teacher and some "say" they are glad for the correction. I doubt it.

If they can communicate, I usually try to curb my correction. I just ask for clarification if they can't with the old, "Did you mean ....?"
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Joined: 13 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that the mistakes made by the sttudents are a phonomenon of "Fossilization" ,and it is neither the teacher's fault nor the students'. So, don't be annoyed by that, just go ahead.
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Joined: 05 May 2012
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 2:30 pm    Post subject: Dealing with Student language mistakes Reply with quote

Hi, Sally and Julia,
I have been teaching K-12 Chinese and Korean students for about five years as their ESL teacher. I have also experienced teaching a concept, and having students perform well on the test only to see them revert to the incorrect way afterward. I believe with beginners it is enough of a challenge to encourage them to simply speak. For them, I do limited grammar teaching and limited correction in their speaking. I do correct their writing (more, but still in a limited manner) as I believe it is less upsetting on paper for them to see where they need to improve. As students move into the intermediate range, I find they are more able to comprehend grammar structures in both writing and speaking; therefore, I do a bit more carefully chosen and well-focused grammar lessons and more correction of written work at this level. I have noticed that as they move up the proficiency scale, fossilization does occur. Thus, the intermediate level seems to be a crucial point for learning and assimilating grammar.

Last edited by [email protected] on Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:28 pm; edited 2 times in total
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[email protected]

Joined: 05 May 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A further note on this subject: As I have been reading H.D. Brown's (2007) Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy, I came across Brown's "Figure 19.9. A model for treatment of classroom speech errors ." I like how he takes the teacher through the process of analyzing a student error which the instructor uses to decide on the value of correcting the ELL. In the book, it is a flow chart type of organizer that is as follows:
1. Type: lexical, phonological, grammatical, discourse, pragmatic, sociocultural
2. Source: L1, L2, teacher-induced, other Ss, outside L2 input, A/V/print/electronic media
3. Linguistic Complexity: intricate and involved or easy to explain or deal with
4. Local or Global
5. Mistake or Error
6. Learner's Affective State: language ego fragility, anxiety, confidence, receptiveness
7. Learner's Linguistic Stage: emergent, presystematic, systematic, or postsystematic
8. Pedagogical Focus: immediate task goals, lesson objectives, course goals and purposes
9. Communicative Context: conversational flow factors, individual, group, or whole-class work, S-S or S-T exchange
10.Teacher Style: direct or indirect, interventionist, laissez-faire
(p 349)
I think as TESOL's, we typically mentally analyze most of these factors
continually and in the blink of an eye as we are working with our students. However, these considerations are interesting to ponder, and it's helpful to see in print what we actually do intuitively. Then, perhaps we can make adjustments that will help our students.
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