Site Search:
 

Banner

Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index Teacher Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

What good mistakes do ESL Teachers Make?

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index -> ESL Management
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Eric18



Joined: 18 May 2007
Posts: 151
Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 11:13 am    Post subject: What good mistakes do ESL Teachers Make? Reply with quote

What good mistakes do teachers make?

As an English teacher at a California university, I often try to encourage students to stretch themselves and "make good mistakes" in my class so we can make new, different, and better mistakes in the future. A good mistake, from my perspective, is a reasonable - even predictable mistake that we can learn from and move on. For example, a student confuses the spelling for the number 2 (two) with the preposition (to). Homonyms give even native speakers a headache.

On the other hand, some structural problems are deeply ingrained "good mistakes" that will take a long time and focused effort to correct and overcome. For example, if a Korean student "forgets" to use the articles "a", "an" or "the" on a paper, then I also consider that a "good mistake." We often learn best by identifying good mistakes. But to know, and not do, as the ancient sages remind us, is to not know.

But I would like to put the shoe on the other foot for this online discussion. What good mistakes have your English teachers made? Do they speak on in a monotone? Do you use too many unfamiliar words? Do they forget their students' names? What do they do that limits their effectiveness?

Consider me curious.

Eric
eric@compellingconversations.com
www.compellingconversations.com

Ask more. Know more. Share more.
Create compelling conversations.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
cancan



Joined: 18 Jul 2007
Posts: 4
Location: Thailand

PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

By force of habit, the first word i write on the board will always have a capital letter. The students often assume that the word ALWAYS has a capital letter.
e.g. Yesterday the dog ran to the park.

The kids will later write something like;
I ran to the park Yesterday.

It's not so much of a problem now that i'm aware of it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
harmony



Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 34
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

Good question that brings up an important barrier to learning (in any context) -fear of making mistakes.

To ask what good mistakes are, however, is to imply that some are bad. My basic stance is that all mistakes are opportunities for learning and, in this sense, are all "good". Telling students that mistakes are good, though, doesn't really encourage them if they continue to make them over and over again, especially if they are penalized on tests as a result of them (which is a powerful way of saying they are bad).

The three most important things about mistakes in my experience are to 1) not be afraid of them, 2) not judge yourself or others negatively because of them, and 3) become aware of them on your own.

I find these to be universal truths for teachers, learners, and all human beings in general whether they are learning a language or learning about life.

Looking specifically at teacher mistakes all of them are good in that they create opportunities for growth. No growth will occur, however, if the teacher does not become self aware of them to the point that he or she has conscious control in the moment. Lots of teachers and students alike can look at a mistake after the fact and notice it -especially if someone points it out to them. Students or teachers who are growing, however, are those who become aware of them on their own either as, or before they happen.

Thus, I feel that one aspect of learning that deserves much more attention and research is self awareness and in the moment consciousness. This is especially important for anyone learning a language because, as has been mentioned, many langauge errors are so deeply embedded in the consciousness of students. This is why I make an effort to help students become aware of their mistakes and correct them as they occur, not afterwards. This is only possible to a limited extent, however in larger classes.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Eric18



Joined: 18 May 2007
Posts: 151
Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2007 8:33 pm    Post subject: Good points, but tests and grades require evaluations Reply with quote

Harmony makes several excellent points, and I wish I were better in correcting mistakes in the moment rather than in hindsight.

How can we give tests without "punishing" mistakes and marking them wrong? We can't just give an "A" for effort to all students - at least in classes which assign grades. Suggestions? Examples? Tests and grades, the main pillars of contemporary university life, require evaluations. Right?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index -> ESL Management All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Teachers College, Columbia University: Train to Teach English Here or Abroad
SIT

This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group