The Role of Errors in Second Language Learning
This is the fourth in our series of mini-articles aimed at helping language learners to become aware of their own learning processes and judge what teaching approach works best for themselves. The articles are written in plain English with no jargon to make the latest findings in the field accessible to everyone without distinction.
Research shows that while parents often respond to the semantic content of what their children say ("No, that's not a doggie; it's a cow"), they very rarely respond to the grammatical status of their children's phrases. Indeed, when parents do respond to speech errors, they most often respond positively.
This shows that in natural communication, only meaning errors that hamper communication are corrected.
Nevertheless, as we saw in our previous mini-articles, this does not prevent children from acquiring a perfect command of the language in a relatively short span of time.
There are clear implications for second language teaching here. In the light of current research we can state that that teachers should only treat such errors in order not to create a negative atmosphere. They should correct only those types of errors that prevent communication, not just every single mistake the child makes.
Unfortunately, modern classrooms do not reflect this type of practice. Second language teachers have a tendency to over teach grammar devoid of context (which is NOT natural communication) as well as overcorrect students; thus creating a negative atmosphere in which some students may feel afraid of expressing themselves for fear of being corrected.
This results in the students' loss of fluency as they are usually trying to analyze rules and grammar before actually saying anything, in order to avoid being "punished" for being wrong.
Julio Foppoli is a teacher of English as a Second Language and a teacher of Spanish as a Second Language. He is the creator and owner ofan online educational website with a technological edge, specialized in the teaching of Spanish as second language via audio-conference to native speakers of English from all over the world.The website offers free listening comprehension activities with Spanish from all of the Spanish speaking world.
Article Source: Http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Julio_F…
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