Errors and error correction in teaching foreign language

Essay by jmorrison296University, Bachelor's April 2004

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Learning a foreign language can be compared to ice-skating: Everyone is afraid to fall. From the point of view of a learner/student, the possibility of making a mistake is more present here than in other subjects; second language is a completely new world, with different rules, structures, devices. Equally present is the fear of making a mistake, which often holds back the student. Feelings like "I'd rather be quiet than say something stupid" are quite common, and majority of learners do not realize, that errors can actually help them; that mistakes are a developing factor in the process of learning. Being corrected in front of the whole class is certainly not the greatest desire of every student, but the situation is often made even worse by teacher's attitude. There are teachers who treat mistakes as some kind of a crime, making students more afraid and unsure than they usually are (fear as an educational device is something I am most strongly against).

Laughing at a student who made a mistake, however unbelievable and unprofessional, also occurs from time to time. On the contrary, encouraging students to make errors is something I have personally never experienced. I believe this is the most accurate attitude, and always leads to student's development if treated carefully, and can not only affect the student who made the error, the whole class can benefit from it.

" Attitudes to error correction vary not only among teachers but also among students. As for students, we not only have to consider their age but also their approach to learning. Some students are risk-takers, while others will only say something if they are sure it is correct. While being a risk-taker is generally positive as it leads to greater fluency, some students only seem to be concerned with fluency...