quinta-feira, 11 de outubro de 2012

Recasting is the Key for Learning

Child: I putted the plates on the table!
Mother: You mean, I put the plates on the table.
Child: No. I putted them on all by myself.

As a teacher of English as a second language, I have had enough experiences to believe that the learners should be guided to learn how to correct their sentences by themselves. However, my peers don't share the same view as most of them believe that we should correct the learners on the spot as accuracy should be treated as a serious matter since the moment they start having the first contact with the language. They call me stubborn due to the fact that I keep insisting on recast made by the learners and not otherwise. I don't want to prove any theory or defend a point of view, my target is solely to find a better way to help them as the correction made by teachers usually turns into speech blockage. 

On my journey to teach "recast" to my learners, I have found very little data on this matter to back me up; however, every now and then, I find good articles and I read this one about self-correction which really helped me to keep believing that I am on the right path:

The self-correction of speech errors 
(McCormick, O’Neill & Siskin)

The purposes of the second year of this project are: 1) to continue to examine and describe the extent of self-correction among English-as-a-second-language (ESL) students of varying proficiency levels during recorded speaking activities; and 2) determine if the self-correction process has an immediate impact on spoken production. Despite the myriad studies on corrective feedback in second language acquisition and second language pedagogy research literature, few studies address the issue of the learner as the source of feedback. In other words, the student is providing self error correction support. This study, in contrast, will focus on the learner as a primary source of corrective feedback. Based on classroom anecdotal evidence, we believe learners are an effective source of corrective feedback if provided with opportunity, time, and support.

We have just completed data collection and working on analyses. However, we would like to share some general observations:

First, all proficiency levels have been able to identify and self-correct errors to some degree.

Second, students are able to identify and self-correct errors in the areas of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, with grammar being the area with the most frequent corrections.

In a sample of data from 16 students, students in all three levels identified and corrected both program target and non-target grammar structures. The majority of errors identified and corrected were related to noun and verb errors, and the majority of errors identified and corrected related to program target grammar structures. In addition, the data revealed that the students tended to be fairly accurate in their corrections, with level 3 at 79% accuracy, level 4 at 82% accuracy, and level 5 at 87.4% accuracy. Below are some examples of correct corrections (original > correction):

Level 3: I play and do anything with my friend > friends

Level 4: it’s nice sport > it’s a nice sport

Level 5: We always shopping food in the open market > we always shop for food in the open market
Third, viewing the self-correction process as a potential learning event space has helped us realize that what constitutes “correction” is a complex process. Data show that students follow these possible path choices:

1. Identify a correct form as correct (considering its orthographic and/or audio forms); therefore, no alternative form provided.
2.Identify a correct form as incorrect (considering its orthographic and/or audio forms).
2.1. provide a correct alternative
2.2. provide a partially correct alternative
2.3. provide an incorrect alternative
2.4. state that the student cannot provide an alternative
3. Identify an incorrect form as incorrect (considering its orthographic and/or audio forms)
3.1. provide a correct alternative
3.2. provide a partially correct alternative
3.3. provide an incorrect alternative
3.4. state that the student cannot provide an alternative
4. Not identify an incorrect form as incorrect; therefore, no alternative form provided.

The paths taken by the student produce different path effects, basically: a) exiting the path with learning to some degree or 2) exiting the path with mislearning to some degree. Path Choices 3.1 and 3.2 would indicate the transfer of knowledge components in that students have used language knowledge components to identify and correct errors. Also, the student’s path choice reflects sense making in that the students’ error-identification and correction process is an indication of their trying to engage in higher-level thinking.

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