Research Paper: Grammar Correction Best Practices

Pages: 10 (3384 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Communication - Language  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] For example, Spanish speakers will typically put the adjective describing the item after the noun it references whereas the opposite is usually done in English. In other words, a person speaking in English would say "red car" whereas a Spanish speaker would say "coche rojo" (car red). However, it can get much more subtle and complex than that. For example, someone speaking English should not say "I saw a damage on the car." Instead, they would say "I saw damage on the car," as the article is not proper in syntax of what is being said. However, to say "a little damage" is actually not incorrect even though the adjective in between is the only real difference between the correct sentence and the prior mentioned wrong sentence (Chodowrow). The jump from one language to another can be greatly protracted and complicated when moving from a symbol-based language to one that is English-like, with the latter meaning languages that use the same letters as English but perhaps in a different form and fashion. Obvious examples would include Spanish, Italian and French. However, there are some languages in the center that resemble English but have special characters, whether it is several or many. Spanish has a handful but Eastern European and former Soviet bloc countries have letters and characters that bear some resemblance to English text but are obviously a lot different nonetheless (Suzuki).

The learner mindsets are more prolific when dealing with ESL leaners should be taken into account when deciphering how to teach and guide them. The beliefs of the learner have a strong correlation to strategy use, learner anxiety, proficiency and so forth. However, some beliefs are unrealistic and counterproductive and those must be countered and tempered as well. One major part of teaching someone a new language is to get them acclimated to the expected and proper form of the language through the use of repetition and structure. This approach is commonly called form-focused introduction (FFI) and involves the "division of language according to lexis, structure, notations or functions, which are selected and sequenced for students to learn in a uniform and incremental way." A nuance when speaking of this subject of how ESL learners focus on learning and improving is the manner in which error correction is approached. Rather than dispute that an error is needed, some ESL learners will instead focus on the type of error-correction approach is needed or proper to fix the problem. In terms of best practices, a wide-based approach that addresses what is generally acceptable and what is not will allow for learners to choose their own solution. As long as they know what solutions are acceptable and which ones are not, they should not be forced into one pattern over another. After all, there is more than one way to say the same thought even if the precise words are similar to identical. For example, saying "I saw a red car" is grammatically correct as is "I saw a car that was red in color." The two sentences are saying the same precise thing but with two entirely different structures. A gifted teacher would incorporate the different solutions as part of the learning while pointing out that there are multiple ways to say and express something correctly but there are many more invalid ways to do the same (Loewen) (Van Beuningen, and De Jong, and Kuiken). This is also something that English as a First Language (EFL) teacher should take into account but he age levels and demographics of the EFL and ESL learners are usually entirely different as EFL people are usually young children while ESL leaders run the gamut from young to old.

Something that was stated earlier is that methodology in teaching and learning grammar and its associated errors is vital in terms of efficacy and progress. The aforementioned debate about the form and timing of corrections to obvious errors by teachers or facilitators is still a subject of vivid debate but this debate has been raging for quite a while. As far back as the 1960, researchers were toiling with the proper methods and what to avoid in terms of hot to teach and correct grammar. Obviously, not much has changed since then. One research suggesting that has cropped up is delineating and demarcating "errors" and "mistakes" as they are not the same thing. An error, at least in the eyes Caroline Ho, are erratic errors that are not systemic and entrenched in nature while the latter, those being mistakes, are symptoms of a lack of understanding of the fact that a grammar snippet is wrong and why it is wrong. Use in the "damage" example above, that is a clear-cut case of a systemic problem because any fluent English speaker should know that the word "damage" should never be immediately preceded by "a." Similarly, any fluent English speaker should know that words that begin with consonants and are preceded by an article should have "a" rather than "an" and vowel-started words should be the opposite. If a person is mixing those two up pervasively throughout the paper, that is a systemic problem and would be a "mistake." Someone that slips up once and is otherwise correct on a long manuscript obviously just made a random error and actually knows better than to do that. It could be that they changed a word while forgetting to fix the rest of the sentence or something along those lines. As such, it is not remotely a best practice for a teacher to micromanage a student who clearly just made an isolated error. However, if they make the mistake over and over again, then this is a sign that some remedial follow-up is called for (Ho).

If there are some takeaways to glean from the literature review contained above, they would be as follows. First, repetition and proper structure are the major catalyst for someone learning a new language or improving the depth and breadth of a current one. A cookie-cutter approach of any sort is less than wise but straying away from core concepts and best practices is also something a teaching professional should do. Next, there is something to be said to being gentle and less nitpicky about every little error but there are limits to this statement including the type/manifestation of the errors in question as well as the perceptions and mindset of the learner. Third, while disregarding the mindset and opinion of the learner in favor of a scorched earth response is not the best idea but allowing the proverbial inmates to run the asylum is not a good idea either. After all, it cannot and should not be denied that people form perceptions about the quality and depth of one's speech ability and vocabulary. Obviously, intelligence and language ability are not directly linked but this does not stop people from drawing such a line in their own mind. This is obviously not fair or proper in many cases including just about all ESL learners. However, learners have to be made to understand that English is unlike every other language on the planet in at least one major way and the proper conventions and tactics need to be brought in the frame and used properly.

While going against the grain of learner expectations and perceptions can cause issues, there is a higher price to be paid when people do not speak and write English at a high level when they live in a country that speaks it pervasively and the United States is far from being the only country that this holds true for. Indeed, English is the most spoken language around the world. This does not change the fact that India and China individually have more than a billion people each and yet they do not speak English as their first language but English is certainly one of the more dominant languages that about. Also, to just tar and feather ESL learners as poor speakers is ignorant and flatly untrue. Many native Americans (people born in the United States, not Indians…notice the lack of capitalization on "native") speak and/or write English in a sloppy and dispassionate fashion. The perceptions and reactions that this speech garners from others and the effects that it can have on the people that might be mocked or labeled as poor speakers is palpable. Learning to write and speak properly is an important life skill that should be deemed to exceed just about any other important topic such as civics, money management, good hygiene and other life habits seen as essential for a smoother and higher-quality life. However, trying to regulate and corral people that are not speaking English well can lead to blowback and resistance from the people being corrected. Further, people hanging around with others that engage in poor speech can see those bad habits foisted on themselves.

Conclusion

There is some truth to the fact that keyboard warriors abound in the United States and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Grammar Correction Best Practices.  (2014, July 31).  Retrieved April 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/grammar-correction-best-practices/9836529

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"Grammar Correction Best Practices."  31 July 2014.  Web.  19 April 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/grammar-correction-best-practices/9836529>.

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"Grammar Correction Best Practices."  Essaytown.com.  July 31, 2014.  Accessed April 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/grammar-correction-best-practices/9836529.