Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Language teaching > Teaching method

The Treatment of Oral Errors in English Classroom

Author WuDongMi
Tutor LiuJiaRong
School Southwest China Normal
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Oral Errors English class Error Analysis Theory Learner errors Language proficiency Classrooms Traditional grammar-translation method Error Handling Error correction Individual teachers
CLC H319.3
Type Master's thesis
Year 2002
Downloads 537
Quotes 4
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Language learners’ errors were generally viewed as unwanted forms and must be avoided by any means. According to Behaviorist learning theory, the prevention of errors was more important than the identification of errors. It is not until the late 1960s, with the development of EA (Error Analysis) theory, that people began to view errors in a different way. By looking into different aspects concerned with error, this paper attempts to provide possible answers to the following questions: What causes learners to make errors? Are errors really a headache, or are they an< important part of learning itself, or a learning strategy? How and when should teachers correct learners’ errors? In China, little attention has been paid to oral error treatment, although many papers have been written on error analysis of students’ written productions. So based on real classroom experience and observations, this paper expects to show a general picture of error treatment in Chinese English classrooms and hopes to draw more attention to this issue to serve the purpose of improving English language teaching effectiveness in China.The dissertation is composed of five chapters.Chapter 1 gives a brief account of the notion ’error’ and traces the development of error treatment and the EA theory. People didn’t show great enthusiasm for EA until Corder published a series of articles in the late 1960s to shape a theoretical framework for EA. EA used to be associated exclusively with the field of foreign language teaching, but it has recently been attracting wider interests.Chapter 2 offers a description of errors from different angles. Various classificatory systems are introduced, including Corder, Dulay and Burt, Littlewood, Austin, Edge, Hammerly and James’ classifications. The interrelation between error and learner strategies, error and the question of correctness are also discussed. Furthermore, levels oferrors and diagnosis of errors are presented so that we might be able to get a better understanding of the causes of errors.Chapter 3 is devoted to the discussion of two factors that affect error treatment. Language proficiency of the instructor is believed to be responsible for error detection and error correction. Non-native teachers cannot be expected to treat errors that are beyond their language competence and that they cannot even notice. In this case, it is quite necessary to provide more chances for young teachers to go abroad to study to improve their own language proficiency. Changes in pedagogy have also influenced people’s attitudes towards error and its treatment. Teachers’ response to errors change with the teaching method they employ. Teachers using traditional grammar-translation method consider it very important to have the students get the correct answer. Any kind of distortion of grammatical rules is intolerable. In contrast, teachers who are fond of communicative approach are more likely to put fluency prior to accuracy. They will not be over-critical of language forms.Chapter 4 is a detailed explanation of the process of error treatment. Before an actual treatment of errors, the teacher has to decide whether to correct a learner’s errors. If the answer is i yes, then he has to consider who should do the correction at what time and in what way.Chapter 5 is a case study which is composed of a questionnaire for college English teachers and classroom observations. The results got from the questionnaire seem to suggest that Chinese teachers are rather liberal to learner errors and tend to put fluency prior to accuracy. But that’s only part of the story. Observations reveal the real picture that Chinese English teachers still pay too much attention to students’ formal accuracy, which confirms my hypothesis that error corrections in classroom are mainly form-focussed rather than function or content-oriented. Chinese teachers have been aware that it is more important to be able to communicate than to be correct, but in practice, they always slip into traditional methods, consciously or unconsciously. As a

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