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Language Learners’ Errors – Approaches of Significance
نویسنده : غلامعلی عباسی - ساعت ٦:۱٢ ‎ب.ظ روز ۱۳٩۱/٦/٢۱
 

 

 At first sight , it may seem rather odd to focus on what learners get wrong rather than on what they get right. However, there are good reasons for focusing on errors. Many teachers nowadays regard student errors as evidence that progress is being made. Errors often show us that a student is experimenting with language, trying out ideas, taking risks, attempting to communicate, and making progress. Analyzing what errors have been made clarifies exactly where the learner has reached and helps set the syllabus for future language work. In dealing with errors, teachers have looked for correction techniques that, rather than simply giving learners the answer on a plate, help them to make their own correction. This may raise their own awareness about the language they are using. So it is important for the teacher to understand, and to feel deeply, that errors are inevitable and a natural part of the learning process. It is important for the teacher to transmit this attitude to learners. The learner who understands that learning involves making mistakes, errors, is more likely to make progress. Therefore, the important titles explained in details in this article are:

-                      different kinds of errors, especially certain errors which are often very important to the communication

-                      Sources of errors

-                      different steps in analyzing learner errors before inviting correction

-                      different correction techniques

-                      over-correction

 

Key words: mistakes, errors, analyzing errors, correction techniques,

 

 

 


 

Language Learners’ Errors – Approaches of Significance

 

 At first sight , it may seem rather odd to focus on what learners get wrong rather than on what they get right. However, there are good reasons for focusing on errors. Many teachers nowadays regard student errors as evidence that progress is being made. Errors often show us that a student is experimenting with language, trying out ideas, taking risks, attempting to communicate, and making progress. Analyzing what errors have been made clarifies exactly where the learner has reached and helps set the syllabus for future language work. In dealing with errors, teachers have looked for correction techniques that, rather than simply giving learners the answer on a plate, help them to make their own correction. This may raise their own awareness about the language they are using. So it is important for the teacher to understand, and to feel deeply, that errors are inevitable and a natural part of the learning process. It is important for the teacher to transmit this attitude to learners. The learner who understands that learning involves making mistakes, errors, is more likely to make progress. Therefore, the important titles explained in details in this article are:

-                      different kinds of errors, especially certain errors which are often very important to the communication

-                      Sources of errors

-                      different steps in analyzing learner errors before inviting correction

-                      different correction techniques

-                      over-correction

 

Key words: mistakes, errors, analyzing errors, correction techniques,

                   over-correction

 

 

چکیده

شاید در نگاه اول پرداختن به خطاهای یادگیرندگان بجای توجه به عملکردهای صحیح آنان عجیب به نظر آید اما دلایل قانع کننده ای برای تمرکز بر روی خطاهای یادگیرندگان وجود دارد:

امروزه برای بیشتر معلمین خطاهای دانش آموزان مدرکی است که میزان پیشرفت آنها را نشان میدهد. اغلب موارد خطاها نشان میدهند که تا چه میزان دانش آموز با زبان درگیر شده و در حال آزمون و خطاست و تا چه حد برای برقراری ارتباط تلاش کرده و پیشرفت نموده است. تجزیه خطاهایی که توسط یادگیرندگان انجام می شود دقیقاً مشخص می کند که آنها به چه مرحله ای رسیده اند و بعلاوه در تدوین برنامه درسی بعدی نیز بسیار کمک کننده است . زمانیکه دانش آموزان اشتباه می کنند بیشتر معلمین بجای اینکه پاسخ صحیح را مستقیماً به دانش آموز ارائه کنند به دنیال تکنیک های تصحیح هستند چون آگاهی یادگیرندگان را نسبت به زبانی که استفاده می کنند بالا می برد بنابراین بسیار مهم است که معلمین بدانند خطاها جزئی غیر قابل اجتناب و بخشی طبیعی از فرایند یادگیری هستند و باید این مهم را نیز به دانش آموزان منتقل کنند.     یادگیرنده ای که بداند خطا کردن جزئی از فرایند یادگیری است پیشرفت بیشتری خواهد داشت.

به همین جهت عناوین زیر به تفضیل در این مقاله شرح داده می شوند :

? انواع مختلف خطاها ، خصوصاً انواع خاصی که مربوط به فرایند ارتباط برقرار کردن هستند

?  منشا خطاها

? تجزیه خطاها قبل از تصحیح آنها

? تکنیکهای تصحیح خطاها

? تصحیح بیش از حد

کلمات کلیدی : اشتباهات ، خطاها ، تجزیه خطاها ، تکنیکهای تصحیح ، تصحیح بیش از حد

 

  

Introduction

Language is complex phenomenon, and language learning a correspondingly complex activity. Many factors contribute towards the success or failure of the individual language learner. One of the most important, however is probably the confidence the learner has in his ability to succeed in the task. Teachers frequently undermine this confidence by emphasizing the difficulties the student faces. Probably even more important, however, in undermining the learners’ confidence, is the teacher’s over-zealous correction of mistakes. Inevitably it will appear unnatural and few students will succeed. Most students learning a foreign language, except the very young, bring with them the idea that the new language will behave like their own mother tongue. Interference of this kind will mean that structural mistakes are inevitable. It is necessary that teachers transmit to students the idea that mistakes are an essential part of the learning process, and definitely not something to be feared (James, 1998; Lewis, 2007).

     All students make mistakes at various stages of their language learning. It is part of the natural process they are going through and occurs for a number of reasons. In the first place, the students’ own language may get in the way. This is most obviously the case with ‘false friends’ – those words which sound or look the same but mean something different. False friends are more common where the learner’s language shares a common heritage with English (i.e. Romance languages).

     Grammatical considerations matter too: Japanese students frequently have trouble with article usage, Germans have to get used to positioning the verb correctly, Arabic students have to deal with a completely different written system etc. (James, 1998).

     Interference from the students’ own language is not the only reason for making mistakes. There is a category which a number of people call ‘developmental’ errors. These are the result of conscious or subconscious processing which frequently overgeneralises a rule, as, for example, when a student, having learnt to say things like ‘I have to go’, then starts saying ‘I must to go , not realizing that the use of ‘to’ is not permitted with ‘must’.  

     Some mistakes are deep-seated and need constant attention (ask experienced teachers about the third-person singular of the present simple!). While these are examples of ‘errors’, others seem to be more like ‘slips’ made while students are simultaneously processing information and they are therefore easier to correct quickly.

     Whatever the reason for ‘getting it wrong’, it is vital for the teacher to realize that all students make mistakes as a natural and useful way of learning. By working out when and why things have gone wrong, they learn more about the language they are studying (Hokkanen, 2001; Schneider, 1998).

 

Different kinds of errors

     Errors are, to a large extent, systematic and universal and, to a certain extent, predictable. Of course , not all errors are universal. Some errors are common only to learners who share the same mother tongue or whose mother tongues manifest the same linguistic property. For example, speakers of Bantu languages in southern Africa frequently use the preposition "at" to refer to direction as well as location, producing errors such as:

We went at Johannesburg last week (Ellis, 1997).

     We can divide errors into three broad categories: "slips" (that is mistakes which students can correct themselves once the error has been pointed out to them), "errors" (mistakes which they cannot correct themselves-and which therefore need

explanation), and "attempts" ( that is when a student tries to say something but does not yet know the correct way of saying it (Harmer 2001, p.99).

     Teachers often worry about when to correct but an equally, if not more important question is what to correct. Traditionally, language teachers have concentrated on certain types of mistake – poor pronunciation. wrong choice of vocabulary, and, most importantly of all, structural errors. While these are important, there are other kinds of mistake which may, on occasion, be more important.

     The kinds of mistake listed above are usually ‘obvious’, and, as such, rarely destroy communication. With the increasing emphasis on communicative language teaching, however, certain other mistakes which are often very important to the communication, need to be considered. Here are some of the most important: