Error Correction In An Email Program English Language Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Many EFL (acronym in full) teachers feel frustrated with students that make the same errors repeatedly, even after a multitude of corrections. These teachers are then tempted to view their students as inattentive or lazy rather than draw the conclusion that error correction is not effective (Truscott, 1996). Since just use surnames Truscott made the claim that grammar (error) [i] correction is a waste of time and could even be harmful, he and Ferris have debated whether correction is warranted in students' writings.

Ferris (1999) believes in identification over correction but states there is no "one size fits all"page numbers on quotes. Considerable thought should always be a prerequisite to any feedback provided. In her response to Truscott she claims there are flaws in his research review and argues that to not correct may frustrate students even more.

In the majority of research that both Ferris and Truscott refer to, the students were involved in a writing class. In a study involving learners of Japanese as a foreign language, Stockwell and Harrington (2003), concluded that Emails between students and Native Speakers (NS) "can lead to observable improvement in discrete measures of L2 knowledge" (p. 353). In their study the Japanese partners were instructed not to provide explicit feedback concerning any errors but did provide implicit feedback in the form of recasts (an implicit type of corrective feedback that reformulates or expands an ill-formed or incomplete utterance in an unobtrusive way: Brown, 2007, p. 388).

I contend that it is the interactional nature of Emails that aids in this process. The "Interaction Hypothesis suggests that negotiated interaction can facilitate SLA and that one reason for this could be that, during interaction, learners may receive feedback on their utterances" (Mackey, Gass & McDonough, 2000, p. 471). The majority of Emails in the program represented in this study are continuous threads, with a continuum of turns.

In this study I will explore if recasts of students' errors in a teacher-student Email program is beneficial in producing less grammatical errors over a duration of one semester (13 weeks).Noticing also plays an intricate part in the possibility of error reduction. Schmidt (1990) claims "that subliminal language learning is impossible and that intake is what learners consciously notice" (p.149). I'd talk about what an error is and how it differs from a mistake. Cook makes the distinction I think. Talk about the nature of computer-based writing a bit as it is different from other forms of writing, text-based and phone typing too.

This researcher had an existing Email program in place and had used recasts as a form of implicit error correction; however no attempt was ever made to establish if the recasts helped reduce future errors. This study is an attempt to answer something many EFL teachers ponderdo they really? Prove this assertion- do their methods produce desired results.

Research Questions (you've got two)

The focus of this study will involve grammar correction, Emails, noticing, and interactions. Specifically the study will examine: Do recasts in an interactive Email program involving a NS (teacher) and students of an EFL program result in fewer errors (targeted errors) being made in future Emails?

Perhaps a secondary question: Do bolding recasts result in fewer errors being made in future emails? [attention or noticing]



Twenty - seven2 first year, second semester, EFL students were selected (convenience sample) to participate in this experimental study. First semester students receive an English pretest school delivered?before being admitted to the university and are placed in classes according to their rankings. At the end of each semester and before the beginning of the subsequent semester, students are again categorized based on their final grade achievement from the previous semester. This procedure is instituted so students placed in groups (classes) are approximately at the same level of performance (linguistic competence in the production and comprehension of language).3 However as every EFL teacher is awareare they? Prove this assertion, there are marked differences between the top students and the lower students in most EFL classes.

All of the students are Koreans in their early twenty's attending a local university, and have received at least three years of formal English instruction in their respective high schoolshow do you know?. English classes are mandatory for two yearsthe first two? for all students of the university, therefore none of the students have elected this course nor are English majors. Each of the participants were eligiblehow so?as homework during forced participation? to participate in an Email program with their NS (native speaker) English teacher.


The students were divided into three treatment groups according to the number of Emails they sent to their instructor during the first two weeks of the semester. Errors were tabulated during this period but recasts were not focused on as error treatment. The students were ranked in descending order and placed into alternating groups: the first student was placed in Group One; the second student in Group Two; the third student in Group Three; the fourth student in Group One…until all the students were in one of the three groups. This is stratified sampling I believe and you could use that term and a refrence from F& W to show you have looked at some research books when thinking about the designThe rational was to assure that each group had the same number of active participants. This was based on a previous semester piloted Email program.

Group One received bolded recasts of targeted errors; Group Two received recasts of targeted errors without the bold font; and Group Three received no feedback for the targeted errors. To satisfy ethical requirements all students were given some feedback on a selected number of errors. All feedback was in the form of recasts with no explicit comments or explanations. It was not possible to control for any help students may have initiated on their own outside of class time in production or input practice. How do you manage this threat later in analysis?All the students received formal instruction in simple past tense during week seven of the semester as part of the curriculum. Present simple tense and future tense were also part of the curriculum and therefore past tense could not be overlooked.

Targeted Errors

Four errors were selected for corrective feedback (recasts) and all groups received feedback in at least two of these errors. Two errors were chosen by the researcher to be targeted. The two errors, past tense verbs and articles, were selected as they were identified as the most frequent occurring errors in a previous study.4 The other two errors were prepositions and personal pronouns, which included personal adjectives as well.5


Students of an EFL class were invitedso this is how they were eligible above? to participate in a teacher-student Email program. Participation in the program is voluntary, however the more Emails a student sends the more 'tokens' they receive. Tokens are the sole criteria in determining their participation/ homework grade.6 students may send as many Emails as they wish but they only receive a 'token' for one Email in any 24 hour period, therefore limiting the number of Emails received from each student at any given time (motivation). This deters students from sending a 'batch' of Emails during one sitting.token idea came from where? Relate to motivation research perhaps

The primary reason for the Email program is to enable students to use what kind of English - you are focusing on typing/writing over speaking for example, so what type of English and why do you want them to have that practiceEnglish outside of the classroom, something most EFL students do not have an opportunity to do. So that each student feels comfortable within their own level of performance, no limit is placed on the length or topic selection of the Emails. The only restriction is that students must use sentences which are consistent with answers they give orally in class. Things like punctuation and capitals are not strictly enforced which also tends to lean more to oral conversational styleand the IM style too so keep oriented with typing and writing and computer-based writing/typing. The students are not usually required to write much in class as this is a conversational English class.but they have Korean teacher provided reading and writing classes each week though don't they? Emails were chosen as a mode of conversing because they are easy to administer, the teacher has some control over the direction the Emails traverse, and Emails have some commonalities with oral communication.

The students were also invited to participate in three 'special assignments' through out the semester. There were other assignments assigned as well (ie. posters) so students would not be too suspicious with these assignments. The instructions were that students were to log-in at a predetermined time and answer a question posed to them by their instructor. They had a limited amount of time (10 minutes) to complete the assignment. These special assignments were in fact the pretest and posttests used in this study. They were administered at the end of week two, week seven, and week thirteen. Again students were requested to answer in full sentences (prompts are shown on Appendix One).how to ensure full participation, or did I miss that


Inter-group as well as intra-group comparisons will be made. Students daily Emails will be compared to their pretest and posttests. Comparisons will also be made between the experimental groups and the control group. To aid in investigating the interactions between variables an ANOVA will be employed. Two inter-raters were employed to check the researcher's tabulation of errors/ occurrences for reliability (triangulation).might want to mention you'll use the SPSS software package to run all the data crap

Truscott made the claim he was talking about grammar correction not error correction, however in this paper grammar correction and error correction will be used interchangeably

2 originally there were 28 students in this class but one student never attended and therefore was never part of the study

3 the definition of performance is found in Fromkin, Rodman & Hyams, p. 555

4 Bitchener, Young & Cameron (2005) completed a study on types of errors and effects of corrective feedback

5 in the original study prepositions occurred more frequent but were not chosen for targeted errors as they were deemed too difficult for the level of this class

6 'tokens' are received for many things including: homework assignments, projects, speaking English in class, office visits…

Appendix One

Writing prompts

Good evening everyone

Please write about the five most memorable things you did in the month of AUGUST.  Write as much as possible about each of the five things. Please write in full sentences and remember you must send the email by 1140 - you have 10 minutes no more - dave

Good evening everyone

Please write about the five most memorable things you did in the month of SEPTEMBER.  Write as much as possible about each of the five things. Please write in full sentences and remember you must send the email by 910 - you have 10 minutes no more - dave

Good evening everyone

Please write about the five most memorable things you did in the month of OCTOBER.  Write as much as possible about each of the five things. Please write in full sentences and remember you must send the email by ? - you have 10 minutes no more -