Re: writing correction
- 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
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
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
4. This group adds your teaching to their memory but still make
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."
- 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
--- nick stirk <nickstirk@...> wrote:
Just imagine if you came
> to me, a driving instructor, wanting to learn how todrive 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 writingincluded the exam on the computer as well.
> 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
>Much more practical for the students to learn how to
> So I would strongly suggest that teachers try to
> find a classroom where every student has a computer.
use Microsoft Word now than later.
> So id you have a heavy writing workload thenlearn very much.
> basically its your fault and the students won't
> has doneYears 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.
> any research
> into computer error correction and whether the studies show
> computer error correction works better than handwritten
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.