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Re: writing correction

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  • nick stirk
    I think that some teachers have made valuable suggestions about error correction and writing but I wonder if it is only rearranging the deckchairs on the
    Message 1 of 13 , Jul 31, 2008
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      I think that some teachers have made valuable suggestions about error
      correction and writing but I wonder if it is only rearranging the
      deckchairs on the Titanic. Just imagine if you came to me, a driving
      instructor, wanting to learn how to drive a car and I put you into a
      horse and buggy. So old-fashioned you would say and rightly so. But
      that is exactly what the majority of writing teachers do here in China.

      I don't do it that way anymore and consequently my workload has
      decreased and my students' writing improved.

      When I was at BUPT I pioneered a computer writing class for English
      majors. I also did this at HIT and included the exam on the computer as
      well.

      So I would strongly suggest that teachers try to find a classroom where
      every student has a computer. Much more practical for the students to
      learn how to use Microsoft Word now than later. I estimate that 99% of
      all students writing is done by hand whereas once they start work for a
      company it will be 99% by computer.

      So id you have a heavy writing workload then basically its your fault
      and the students won't learn very much.

      It would be interesting to know if John Truscott has done any research
      into computer error correction and whether the studies show that
      computer error correction works better than handwritten error
      correction.

      As far as error correction is concerned perhaps another way of looking
      at it is to consider it from an input, intake and output basis. I find
      that students can be grouped into five divisions.
      1. This group immediately understands your input, take it in as intake
      and are able to output it.
      2. This group takes a couple of weeks to fully understand.
      3. This group takes several weeks of repeated teaching in different
      ways.
      4. This group adds your teaching to their memory but still make
      mistakes.
      5. This group never learn anything.

      Once a teacher realises this then it can be very liberating. As I say
      to my students, "I can only teach, but you have to learn."

      Nick
    • John Pullen
      Good idea Nick. Too bad my school was still running with horse and buggy equipment, facilities and administrative ideas. I couldn t even get a room this
      Message 2 of 13 , Aug 1 5:34 AM
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        Good idea Nick. Too bad my school was still running
        with horse and buggy equipment, facilities and
        administrative ideas. I couldn't even get a room this
        Spring with a projector or computer so that I could
        teach using movies, in fact I was told I would be
        teaching using movies and when I arrived was told all
        those rooms have been reserved.

        My writing class for English graduate students had 85
        students and the projector and computer were not even
        connected to the internet. No classrooms with
        computers were available for us as well as large
        enough rooms with blackboard space.

        I am guessing that most of the ESL teachers in Chinese
        Universities/institutions just don't have access to
        what you say was available to you.

        Maybe I should just take the fault on my back and not
        complain.

        john


        --- nick stirk <nickstirk@...> wrote:

        Just imagine if you came
        > to me, a driving instructor, wanting to learn how to
        drive a car and I put you into a horse and buggy. So
        old-fashioned you would say and rightly so. But
        > that is exactly what the majority of writing
        > teachers do here in China.
        >
        > When I was at BUPT I pioneered a computer writing
        > class for English majors. I also did this at HIT and
        included the exam on the computer as well.
        >
        > So I would strongly suggest that teachers try to
        > find a classroom where every student has a computer.
        Much more practical for the students to learn how to
        use Microsoft Word now than later.

        > So id you have a heavy writing workload then
        > basically its your fault and the students won't
        learn very much.
      • Margaret Orleans
        Nick, ... Years ago I attended a conference in Taipei where one speaker presented evidence that students did more correcting on a computer than by hand. It
        Message 3 of 13 , Aug 2 5:47 AM
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          Nick,


          > has done
          > any research
          > into computer error correction and whether the studies show
          > that
          > computer error correction works better than handwritten
          > error
          > correction.

          Years ago I attended a conference in Taipei where one speaker presented evidence that students did more correcting on a computer than by hand. It was far easier and so they made the effort.

          I'm in the U.S. on vacation, so I can't look up the source to credit it, but ever since that conference I have been trying unsuccessfully to get use of my high school's computer lab for the writing class. The drawback is that students can't use the lab outside of classtime, so they would have to do all their writing in the class period; most don't have computers at home.

          --Peg
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