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Topics - Afroza Akhter Tina

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76
English / Article of Grammar Correction
« on: March 09, 2015, 02:54:51 PM »
Grammar Correction in ESL/EFL Writing Classes May Not Be Effective

Ronald Gray
mnenomic_2000 [at] yahoo.com
Beijing Language and Culture University (Beijing, China)

Introduction
Second language writing textbooks for teachers are typically full of advice concerning techniques and activities to use in class, but they rarely tell teachers what things not to do. The purpose of this short paper is to argue that a widely used and very popular form of writing class correction feedback should be avoided. 

Most ESL/EFL writing teachers would strongly agree with the statement that teacher correction feedback is a necessary part of any writing course. Most would also concur that grammar correction is essential. This belief seems to be intuitively obvious and just plain common sense, but solid research conducted in the last 20 years has revealed it to be wrong. This paper aims to explain why, and also attempts to offer some practical recommendations on the type of feedback writing should be giving their students in place of grammar feedback.

The case for grammar correction in writing classes is based on the idea that if a teacher points out to a student a grammatical error they have made, and provides, indirectly or directly, the correct form, the student will then understand the mistake they have made, learn from it, and their ability to write accurately will improve. It is also widely felt that if teachers do not correct their students' grammatical mistakes, 'fossilization' will occur, and it will become very difficult to later eliminate these errors. Studies have shown these arguments to be incorrect.
Grammar Correction in Second Language Writing Courses Does Not Work
The research that has been conducted on grammar correction in writing classes has largely consisted of comparative studies measuring the effectiveness of different types of feedback on students writing abilities. In a famous study by Robb, Ross, and Shortreed (1986), four kinds of grammar corrections used on the surface errors of Japanese students were compared to see if they had an influence on the students' writings over time. These types were: (a) explicit correction, where errors were pointed out and correct forms offered; (b) marking mistakes with a yellow pen, without explanation; (c) a tally was kept in the margin of the number of errors per lines, and students were told to examine the line and find and correct the mistakes; (d) the use of a correction code which showed both the location and kind of errors. In all these cases, the students were told to write their essays again, making the necessary corrections. Results showed that at the end of the course, no significant differences existed between all the groups in terms of accuracy. Consequently, the authors concluded that comprehensive treatment and overt corrections of surface errors are probably not worth the trouble for teachers to make.

Additional studies have shown that neither the use of direct or indirect techniques in correcting student errors has an influence on writing ability results. Moreover, making full (every error is corrected by the teacher) or selective (only one type of error is marked at a time) grammatical corrections is also not effective. There is no evidence of a delayed effect to grammatical corrections, that is to say, an effect which later shows up. The kind of instruction used by teachers in the study did not appear to have an impact on the results. Nor was the lack of benefits of grammatical correction dependent upon the students' gender, age, proficiency level, or educational background. (For additional information on these studies, see Truscott's seminal article (1996), Krashen (2004a) and Loewen (1998). Interestingly, many of these results are also true of corrections made in first language writing classes).

The results of these studies should not be too surprising, for as John Truscott has noted:
Veteran teachers know there is little connection between correction and learning:  Often a student will repeat the same mistake over and over again, even after being  corrected many times. When this occurs, it is tempting for the teacher to say the student is not attentive or lazy; however, the pervasiveness of the phenomenon, even with successful students, argues against any such explanation. Rather the teacher should conclude that correction simply is not effective. (Truscott 1996, p. 341).                                                                                                   
Grammatical Correction in ESL/EFL Writing Classes Can Actually Be Harmful To Students' Performance and Development
Numerous studies have revealed that grammar correction to second language writing students is actually discouraging to many students, and even harmful to their writing ability (Semke 1984; Kepner 1991; Sheppard 1992; and Truscott 1996). Generally those who do not receive grammar corrections have a more positive feeling about writing than those who did, wrote more, and with more complexity, than those who did receive grammar corrections. Moreover, the time spent by students and teachers on correcting grammatical errors causes needed attention to be sidetracked from other important elements of writing, like organization and logical development of content.

Why Doesn't Grammar Correction Work?
The first reason why writing class grammar feedback doesn't work is that it treats only the surface appearance of grammar and not with the way language develops (see Truscott 1996 for details). Secondly, learning grammar in a second language is a complex and gradual process which occurs both developmentally and hierarchically (some items are acquired before others). Compounding this is the fact that the learning of linguistic items does not occur in a linear fashion, that the learning curve for an item is full of valleys and peaks, progress and regressions.  Therefore, for grammatical correction to work, the correction must be precisely tied into the correct levels of this process. If a student is given a correction for a stage he has not yet reached, it would not be effective. In order to offer useful corrections, a teacher would need to precisely know where the student is developmentally and hierarchically in terms of their grammar level. Yet because of the complexity involved in learning grammar, this would be a virtual impossibility.

The third reason for the ineffectiveness of grammar correction involves the practicalities  associated with teachers comments and students understanding of these comments. Research has shown that corrections made by second language writing teachers are frequently arbitrary, not consistent, and greatly dependent upon the age and amount of time the teacher has with L2 students. According to Zamel (1995), teachers also commonly misread student texts and evoke abstract rules and principles in their comments. Moreover, students often find teachers remarks vague, confusing, and contradictory, and feel that teachers do not provide sufficient grammatical explanations about their writing mistakes (Cohen 1987). Finally, students generally only make a mental note of the corrections they have understood, and if they have to rewrite their papers, regularly do
not incorporate these corrections into their work (Cohen 1987).
Practical Implications For ESL/EFL Teachers
So what should a L2 writing teacher do? The quickest and most effective solution would be for writing instructors to simply stop making grammar corrections. This would of course be difficult for teachers to do because it has been shown most students strongly expect teachers to notice their writing errors and comment on them, and they become quite resentful if this does not occur. Adding to this pressure to give grammar feedback is the fact that established curriculum of many language school and university writing programs (especially overseas) is based on the value of grammar correction and if a teacher did not employ it, they would have a good chance of being considered unprofessional.

One possible solution to this problem which I have found to be useful is to give periodic short grammatical lessons at the beginning of class (the week after a big homework assignment), and I discuss one or two widespread grammatical problem (e.g. articles, prepositions) that I encountered in the students' homework. This usually has gone over
well and generally satisfied the students need for grammatical correction feedback. Krashen (2004b) recommends teachers simply inform their students of the limitations of grammar correction but I have doubts whether students would be satisfied with such an explanation.

But just because grammar feedback is problematic does not mean all feedback is ineffective. The general problem with is with the focus of S2 teacher's feedback. Studies indicate that writing teachers spend most of their busy time offering grammatical or surface level corrections in their comments. In other words, they commonly view their students' work as language instead of writing teachers, concentrating primarily on form over content. As a consequence, they address only one part of the writing process. What writing teachers need to do is give priority to MEANING and MEANING RELATED problems, to make remarks about students' texts instead of just form. Semke (1984) has demonstrated that students who received comments from teachers only on content did much better and spent more time working on their essays than those who received criticism only on grammar.

Specifically, this means that teachers should devote their time to areas like:
Organization
•   Logical development of ideas and arguments
•   Effectiveness of introduction and conclusion
Content
•   Use of description
•   Thesis statement
•   Focus
•   Use of facts and experience
•   Cogency and consistency of how and why explanations
In short, teachers need to train themselves to set aside their red pens and examine ideas and see what students are trying to say instead of simply looking for grammatical errors.

If ESL/EFL writing teachers are really concerned with improving their student's grammatical competency, they should, in lieu of offering grammar correction feedback,  constantly stress in their classes the importance of outside reading. Studies have shown that voluntary, 'light,' authentic reading (graphic novels, comics, the easy section of newspapers, popular literature) in the target language greatly helps the overall writing and grammatical skills of second language students (Krashen 2004a).

Teaching writing can be a very taxing and time-consuming process. Minimizing grammatical error feedback has the advantage of greatly simplifying teachers jobs, giving them needed time to spend on concentrating on other important elements of the writing process, while also removing a significant impediment to their students learning how to effectively write.
     
References
•   Cohen, A.D. (1987). Student processing of feedback on their compositions. In A. Wenden & J. Rubin (Eds.), Learner strategies in language learning (pp. 55-69). New York: Prentice Hall.
•   Kepner, C. G. (1991). An experiment in the relationship of types of written feedback to the development of second language writing skills. Modern Language Journal, 75, 305-313.
•   Krashen, Stephen. (2004a). Applying the Comprehension Hypothesis: Some Suggestions. Retrieved August 5, 2004 from Stephen D. Krashen website: http://www.sdkrashen.com/articles/eta_paper/index.html
•   Krashen, Stephen. (2004b). Why support a delayed gratification approach to language education? The Language Teacher, 28:7, 3-7.
•   Loewen, S. (1998). Grammar correction in ESL student writing: How effective is it? Retrieved August 3, 2004 from Temple University, Schuylkill website: http://www.temple.edu/gradmag/fall98/loewen
•   Robb, T., Ross, S. & Shortreed, I. (1986). Salience of feedback on error and its effect on EFL writing quality. TESOL Quarterly, 20, 83-95.
•   Semke, H.D. (1984). Effects of the red pen. Foreign Language Annuals, 17, 195-202.
•   Sheppard, K. (1992). Two feedback types: Do they make a difference? RELC Journal, 23, 103-110.
•   Truscott, John. (1996). The case against grammar correction in L2 writing classes. Language Learning, 46:2, 327-369.
•   Zamel, V. (1985). Responding to student writing. TESOL Quarterly, 19, 79-101.

Shared by:
Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer,Dept.of English
Daffodil International University

77
English / Classroom Management
« on: March 07, 2015, 04:32:37 PM »
The following article focuses on different tips regarding effective classroom management. All the tips are very useful in terms of implementing in classroom according to the Edutopia reading; “Ten Tips for Classroom Management”, where I got the idea of developing community among the learners in my classroom and ways to maintain that relationship for the better outcome. Adaptation is always important according to the situation and the role of teacher is crucial in this regard. This can be a useful resource regarding the techniques and strategies.The file is too heavy to upload here in the forum but I can mail if anyone needs to have a look at it.

78
Faculty Forum / Importance of Project based Learning
« on: February 23, 2015, 03:31:19 PM »
The article “Maximizing the Benefits of Project work in Foreign Language Classrooms” by Alan and Stoller beautifully states that successful PBL incorporates teachers guidance and feedback on the one hand, and students autonomy and engagement on the other hand. In short we can say that a successful PBL ensures focuses on real-world subject matter that can sustain the interest of students, requires student collaboration and, at the same time, some degree of student autonomy and independence, can accommodate a purposeful and explicit focus on form and other aspects of language which is process and product oriented, with an emphasis on integrated skills and end-of project reflection at the end. The steps are also important to implement such PBL in an effective way and it can start with the question/topic that is very much real and interesting to the students to engage and motivate them following designing, time schedule, monitoring, assessing and finally evaluating. Obviously the teacher is an active and careful guide who depends on their students more and provides constructive and effective feedback time to time when needed. On the other hand, it is actually a product by the students at the end of the day which incorporates their own ideas and concerns. The proper balance of teacher’s guidance and student’s autonomy can ensure the endeavor of an effective and successful PBL. Hope to learn more from you all.

79
English / Alternative Assessment in Classroom
« on: February 12, 2015, 12:31:11 PM »
Alternative assessment is the actual reflection of the students learning which is based on their performances.This is beneficial for the learners as they would motivate themselves to design, construct and evaluate themselves for the overall goal and objectives of a course. Of course, this is something easier than the traditional assessment where teacher participates as a guide only to instruct for a task/activity and provide rubric and reveals their performances in a more meaningful way where they themselves can measure their development and growth and can grade them accordingly.Here I have attached a wonderful article regarding alternative assessment where you can find some important ideas regarding implementation of this.

80
English / Collaborative Problem Solving Skills
« on: February 07, 2015, 06:49:26 PM »
The key concept lies within the working with interests in collaborative problem solving which refers to the critical competency for college and career readiness. Students are expected to understand and develop the idea that there are more one ways to solve any kind of problems. The main challenge lies in organizing computer based assessment of CPS skills when it’s about a large assessment program where an individual is expected to match and collaborate with different types of other members representing different CPS skills and contexts. The terms collaborative problem solving, cooperative work, and group work are used interchangeably in the current education research literature to mean similar constructs.

Here problems are identified first and the tasks are developed accordingly. It is mixture of collaboration: “coordinated, synchronous activity that is the result of a continued attempt to construct and maintain a shared conception of a problem” (Roschelle, &Teasley, 1995, p. 70); and problem solving: “cognitive processing directed at achieving a goal when no solution method is obvious to the problem solver” (Mayer, & Wittrock, 1996). According to Griffin, Care, and McGaw (2012), it focuses each other’s point of view regarding some particular problem and concern. It helps to establish others’ responses in a group in terms of contributing knowledge, experience and expertise in a constructive way with constructive feedback and results. In Program for International Student Assessment PISA 2015, CPS competency is defined as the ability to identify and involve in a particular problem solving process with the collaborative effort along with the help of the agent for establishing an effective solution. The competency depends on how well the individual collaborates with agents (either a human or a computer) during the process which includes shared understanding, taking effective actions to resolve the problem, and also establishing and maintaining group organization.

The learner’s role is significant here which includes:
a.   They should be aware of the specific kind of activities needed to identify and solve the problem.
b.   They should be clear in understanding their roles as one of the group members and even as an individual along with the agent’s role focusing on the reflection regarding the valuable concerns of conflicts and obstacles.

81
Faculty Forum / Collaborative Problem Solving Skills
« on: February 07, 2015, 06:48:35 PM »
The key concept lies within the working with interests in collaborative problem solving which refers to the critical competency for college and career readiness. Students are expected to understand and develop the idea that there are more one ways to solve any kind of problems. The main challenge lies in organizing computer based assessment of CPS skills when it’s about a large assessment program where an individual is expected to match and collaborate with different types of other members representing different CPS skills and contexts. The terms collaborative problem solving, cooperative work, and group work are used interchangeably in the current education research literature to mean similar constructs.

Here problems are identified first and the tasks are developed accordingly. It is mixture of collaboration: “coordinated, synchronous activity that is the result of a continued attempt to construct and maintain a shared conception of a problem” (Roschelle, &Teasley, 1995, p. 70); and problem solving: “cognitive processing directed at achieving a goal when no solution method is obvious to the problem solver” (Mayer, & Wittrock, 1996). According to Griffin, Care, and McGaw (2012), it focuses each other’s point of view regarding some particular problem and concern. It helps to establish others’ responses in a group in terms of contributing knowledge, experience and expertise in a constructive way with constructive feedback and results. In Program for International Student Assessment PISA 2015, CPS competency is defined as the ability to identify and involve in a particular problem solving process with the collaborative effort along with the help of the agent for establishing an effective solution. The competency depends on how well the individual collaborates with agents (either a human or a computer) during the process which includes shared understanding, taking effective actions to resolve the problem, and also establishing and maintaining group organization.

The learner’s role is significant here which includes:
a.   They should be aware of the specific kind of activities needed to identify and solve the problem.
b.   They should be clear in understanding their roles as one of the group members and even as an individual along with the agent’s role focusing on the reflection regarding the valuable concerns of conflicts and obstacles.

82
English / Features of an Effective Teacher
« on: February 04, 2015, 10:42:26 AM »
In the book, Language Teaching Awareness, Fanselow points out the aim of exploration that is “seeing…teaching differently” (1988:114). The main theme of the book is ‘exploration of teaching’ which tries to identify some important techniques of language teaching along with some of the important features of an effective teacher. These are:
a.   Simply gaining awareness of teaching beliefs and practices
b.   Seeing nonjudgmental description as preferable to prescriptions of how teaching ‘should’ be done
c.   The need to pay attention to language and behavior
d.   Emphasis on going beyond usual ways of understanding teaching, especially that of problem solving(i.e., identifying and overcoming a problem area in one’s teaching)
e.   Interest in having teachers considers ‘connecting questions’, that is, questions connecting who they are as people with who they are as teachers.
f.   To highlight the importance of involving teachers in processes through which they can make more informed decisions. Bailey (1990) discusses the process of keeping a teaching journal. Wallace (1998) elaborates on doing action research. Gaies and Bowers (1990) present a process of clinical supervision.
g.   To start with “a beginner’s mind” (Suzuki 1970), that is to start with an open mind as a fresher always.

83
Faculty Forum / Features of an Effective Teacher
« on: February 04, 2015, 10:41:38 AM »
In the book, Language Teaching Awareness, Fanselow points out the aim of exploration that is “seeing…teaching differently” (1988:114). The main theme of the book is ‘exploration of teaching’ which tries to identify some important techniques of language teaching along with some of the important features of an effective teacher. These are:
a.   Simply gaining awareness of teaching beliefs and practices
b.   Seeing nonjudgmental description as preferable to prescriptions of how teaching ‘should’ be done
c.   The need to pay attention to language and behavior
d.   Emphasis on going beyond usual ways of understanding teaching, especially that of problem solving(i.e., identifying and overcoming a problem area in one’s teaching)
e.   Interest in having teachers considers ‘connecting questions’, that is, questions connecting who they are as people with who they are as teachers.
f.   To highlight the importance of involving teachers in processes through which they can make more informed decisions. Bailey (1990) discusses the process of keeping a teaching journal. Wallace (1998) elaborates on doing action research. Gaies and Bowers (1990) present a process of clinical supervision.
g.   To start with “a beginner’s mind” (Suzuki 1970), that is to start with an open mind as a fresher always.

84
Faculty Forum / Using authentic materials
« on: January 31, 2015, 06:48:02 PM »
Using authentic material is very important to enhance language learning in terms of having the real exposure of the target language. Charlene Polio in his article Using Authentic Materials in The Beginning Language Classroom states that, it is really important to have the real life exposure in terms of learning. It further mentions about the different types of authentic materials as children’s books and translated materials depending on the learner’s ability and level. Ferit Kilickaya in the article Authentic Materials and Cultural Content in EFL Classrooms' defines authentic material as ‘the exposure to real language and its use in its own community'. In addition, Harmer (1991), cited in Matsuta (n.d., para. 1) defines authentic texts as materials that are meant to design and use for the native speakers only; they are not designed for language students. Moreover Jordan (1997, p. 113) concerns these texts as not to be used for language teaching purposes.
There are issues regarding the use of authentic materials in a language teaching class. There can be some problems as the students may miss the vocabulary, structure and pattern of the target language and they can be fully motivated to use the language only in their real life. However, most of the teachers around the world agree on the issue that these are very helpful for learning a foreign language but the concern should be on the appropriate timing and how these can be used in a language classroom. Here I am attaching Charlene Polio’s article for your further concern.

85
English / Using authentic materials
« on: January 31, 2015, 06:42:33 PM »
Using authentic material is very important to enhance language learning in terms of having the real exposure of the target language. Charlene Polio in his article Using Authentic Materials in The Beginning Language Classroom states that, it is really important to have the real life exposure in terms of learning. It further mentions about the different types of authentic materials as children’s books and translated materials depending on the learner’s ability and level. Ferit Kilickaya in the article Authentic Materials and Cultural Content in EFL Classrooms' defines authentic material as ‘the exposure to real language and its use in its own community'. In addition, Harmer (1991), cited in Matsuta (n.d., para. 1) defines authentic texts as materials that are meant to design and use for the native speakers only; they are not designed for language students. Moreover Jordan (1997, p. 113) concerns these texts as not to be used for language teaching purposes.
There are issues regarding the use of authentic materials in a language teaching class. There can be some problems as the students may miss the vocabulary, structure and pattern of the target language and they can be fully motivated to use the language only in their real life. However, most of the teachers around the world agree on the issue that these are very helpful for learning a foreign language but the concern should be on the appropriate timing and how these can be used in a language classroom. Here I am attaching Charlene Polio’s article for your further concern.

86
English / Double Consciousness in Achebe
« on: January 30, 2015, 03:50:09 PM »

The notion of ‘double consciousness’ which is a characteristic of the post-colonial writers, explains the great attraction, which is concerned to show the fluid and unstable nature of personal and gender identity, contradictory currents of signification. The crowning glory of Achebe’s novels is undoubtedly his use of the language and aphorism of oral culture. What sets him apart from other African writers is the fact that he is by far, more successful than others in flawlessly translating the working of African psyche from one medium to another, from an indigenous oral tradition to an alien form of European origin without obliterating the freshness and vigor of the former. Achebe’s narrative technique is different in Things Fall Apart where he employs ‘double consciousness’ which is perhaps inevitable when writing about a society that did not itself know writing, or using English to describe an Ibo speaking world. Jan Mohamed’s implication is that modern western educated readers know more than the traditional Umofians and so can judge them accordingly which is not limited to the characters rather characterizes the narrative as a whole.

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