Academic journal article European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, The

Iranian EFL Learners' Attitudes toward Correction of Oral Errors

Academic journal article European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, The

Iranian EFL Learners' Attitudes toward Correction of Oral Errors

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

As many language educators and researchers (e.g., Edge, 1989; Hendrickson, 1987 as cited in Katayama 2007) maintain, making errors is a necessary and natural process of language learning. Inevitably, learner errors and feedback to errors have been of great interest to language teachers and researchers. And in this regard EFL learner's attitude toward the error correction is of outmost importance and it can facilitate the language learning process.

It is important to understand that learners have different preferences, that is to say styles in the way they like to be corrected. Some students favor a focus on form, while others do not. Teaching methods differ as well. Some teachers tend to correct all the errors while some tend to be tolerant and still some others do not correct at all (Riazi and Riasti, 2007; Noora, 2006). According to the relevant literature on teachers' and students' preferences and attitudes towards error correction, many studies show that while teachers and students share such common views as the importance of error correction and the types of errors that require correcting, there exist considerable differences as to the techniques of error correction (Lee, 2005; Wang, 2010).

While there are considerable number of studies that focus on the issue of error correction and error analysis, relatively few studies have been carried out related to EFL learner's attitude toward error correction methods during the class time (i.e. especially in Iran context). But it is believed that in order to have a successful learning and teaching process it is necessary to consider EFL learners' perceptions. The role of correction in language teaching has been an issue for quite some time and opinions vary as to whether correction is effective or not. For the time being, people rarely consider the learners' perception on oral error correction. And that is why it is necessary to do research associated with their opinion about oral error correction.

1.1. Related review of literature

On the related literature of error and error correction, it becomes clear that learning and teaching process is significantly bound with the way teachers and learners react toward the errors and how they try to correct them. Before correcting errors language teachers need to consider the cause of errors. As it has been suggested, errors may occur in three types of cases (Chastain 1988). First, some errors occur because learners are not aware of the rules. Second, some errors creep into student's language because they do not attach any great importance to linguistic accuracy. Third, some errors result from temporary overload on the student's cognitive processes due to fatigue, embarrassment, illness, and so on. Correction in the first case will be beneficial, if the teacher can make the error and way of correcting it, clear to the students. Correction in the second case will be counterproductive, unless the teacher can convince the students to change their attitude toward accuracy. Correction in the third case cannot prevent future errors because they do not result from inadequate knowledge. The overload of the cognitive processes probably indicates that the student needs to have more communication practice than correction.

According to Spillner (1991), Errors are information. In contrastive linguistics, they are thought to be caused by unconscious transfer of mother tongue structures to the system of the target language and give information about both systems. In the interlanguage hypothesis of second language acquisition, errors are indicative of the different intermediate learning levels and are useful pedagogical feedback. In both cases error analysis is an essential methodological tool for diagnosis and evaluation of the language acquisition process. Errors, too, give information in psychoanalysis (e.g., the Freudian slip), in language universal research, and in other fields of linguistics, such as linguistic change. …

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