Corrections have been something I have thought about lately. There is this part of me that wonders how much good it really does in terms of language acquisition. In my experience so far, I think that mostly it does little to nothing. The people that it may help are the 4%ers. So what does that mean for us? What do we do with errors, either in class or on tests. Should we kill ourselves over grading.
Well, this may be a little radical, but I am starting to think that the purpose of tests are to let teachers know what has been acquired and what has not been acquired. In other words, tests are for the teacher, not the student. Tests let us know which CI to focus on more. What a different way of looking at it.
This is good news for us as teachers. Even being a TPRS teacher, I still feel weighed down by grading. And I am a minimalist. I do not take papers home or work from home. Also, my testing is online and mostly graded by a computer. You may be thinking, how can this be or wow you must stink at your job? Well, that may be, but I am keeping myself afloat in this overwhelming profession.
You see, if we know that constant error correction does not do much, that means that we do not have to grade that much. It also means that we can relax when we hear our kids speak with terrible grammar. It just means that they need more interesting CI, that’s all. We don’t need to get upset. We just need to listen to our students and adjust our teaching accordingly.
I am find more and more that language class is meant to be the beginning of language learning or a springboard. It provides them with experience in the language so that when they leave they are ready to handle more advanced input. Without the language class, everything would be white noise and it would be much more difficult to acquire a language. The language class is not meant to make them perfect in L2. It is what helps the students to get their foot in the door.