The Language of Feedback to Error and Grammar as Lesson Content

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LANGUAGE OF FEEDBACK 1

The Language of Feedback to Errorand Grammar as Lesson Content

The Language of Feedback to Errorand Grammar as Lesson Content

For the purpose of this report, Iobserved a level 4 grammar class at INTO USF. INTO USF is acontent-based instruction syllabus and Grammar is taught inductively.An inductive approach of teaching grammar implies that learners areexpected to detect or notice patterns and figure out a ‘rule’ forthemselves before they produce the language. Brown stated, “Whileit might be appropriate at times to articulate a rule and thenproceed to instances, most of the evidence in communicative secondlanguage teaching points to the superiority of an inductive approachto rules and generalizations” (p. 105). Linguistic forms are nottaught explicitly and learners play an active role in hypothesizingand testing rules. Implicit corrective feedback would be more helpfulthan explicit feedback, since teachers focus on the learner’sability to figure out the rules and hypotheses when learninglanguage.

The lesson plan was about makingdecisions using different conditionals. The teacher first asked thestudents to name conditions under which it is hard to make decisions,who and what influences their decisions. She developed a context forstudents to create their own situations and conditions in which theywould make decisions, without giving them a rule or a statement thatthey could follow. One of the students asked about the tense asfollows

Student: Which tense to be used?

Teacher: You have to tell me Ali!

Student 1: The past.

Teacher: What do you ThinkAbdulaziz? (Another student who raised his hand and seems to know theanswer)

Student 2: It depends on thesituation, if it is in the past that means you have to use the pasttense, and when it is in the future, you have to use the futuretense.

Teacher: Yeah, that’s right.Got it Ali?!

Student 1: Yes, thanks

The teacher did not address allthe errors that the students made because they were still at the lowlevel and pointing out all grammatical mistakes could discourage thelearners. In addition, grammatical errors were quite many andcorrecting them in the process could waste a lot of time. The teacherreformulated and corrected the students’ sentence whenever thestudents made short sentences with grammatical errors. Recasting isthe process of restructuring a student’s error without implicitlyindicating that the utterance was incorrect. Recasting give studentsa chance to realize their errors in a better context. Recasting wasthe major corrective feedback strategy that the teacher used tocorrect errors made by students, except for situations in which thelearner could not realize the meaning of a word that resulted ingrammatical error. The teacher gave a metalinguistic feedback, whereshe posed questions and comments and further clarification for thestudent to recognize the error.

Student: Unless I sleep early, Ican finish my work.

Teacher: What do you think? Doesit make sense? Is it logical?

Student: No, it does not makesense.

Teacher: Let’s break it down,what does it mean “unless”. It is like “If not”. NOW, take alook at the sentence again and see if it makes sense with if not.

Student: mmmm. If I don’t sleepearly, I can finish my work. NO no no, unless I sleep early, I can’tfinish my work

The teacher corrected students’errors when possible, even when the error was not part of the contentof that day’s class.

Student: 87%

Teacher: 87 % on what?!

Student: 87 % on the time.

Teacher: Yes, 87 % on time (witha high intonation on the phrase “ON TIME”)

The teacher also delegated thecorrection job to other students, which helped them realize theincorrect usage of the utterances. This kind of peer feedback wouldbe helpful in noticing other’s errors, which will improve learners’awareness about linguistic forms when producing output and strengthenexisting linguistic knowledge.

Student 1: In the spring break, Igo to Miami even if I don’t have money

Teacher: mmm. What do you thinkRania?!

Student 2: the sentence is in thefuture. I will go to Miami even if I don’t have money

To sum up, the teacher did a goodjob in teaching grammar inductively as well as addressing andcorrecting students’ errors implicitly. There is no black and whiteways to correct student’s errors in grammar, but it all depends onthe kind of error they make and the extent to which these errorsmight hinder their language learning process or comprehensibility.Teachers should vary the kind of corrective feedback.

Reference

Brown,H.D. (2007). Principlesof language learning and teaching.Harlow: Pearson Longman.