Edge (1989) says that when teachers decide to correct students, they have to be sure that they are using correction positively to support learning. Probably all foreign language teachers would agree with Edge’s comment, but they would not necessarily agree on how teachers should correct errors that students make.
There is a gradual shift in the classroom practice, from the intermediate correction of every error in older methods based on behavioral theories of learning (e.g. audio-lingualism) to a more tolerant modern approach. Yet error correction remains one of the most contentious and misunderstood issues in the second and foreign language teaching profession.
Responding to students’ writing is a part of the process of writing. Raimes belives (1985) that a teacher can only judge and evaluate, not influence the piece of writing. Responding to a paper only at the end limits teachers to doing the following: a) giving the paper the grade,b) writing a comment, c) correcting errors. A teacher as a sympathetic reader and editor should provide positive approach to writing, show strengths as well as weaknesses. They should indicate to students how they are developing as writers. According to Chastain (1987) because of the importance of reacting to the content as well as the form of writing, the present discussion is separated into “responding and providing feedback.” Responding deals with content and providing feedback deals with form. As Hedge belives (1985) students need positive feedback on the way their writing is improving, and this may be received through comments at the end of a piece of writing or through a grade of some kind. Furthermore, Hedge (1985) underlines that it can be useful to involve students in the design of grading scheme and in negotiating and prioritizing criteria. This has the advantage of raising students’ awareness of what makes a good piece of writing and it prevents misunderstanding about the role and system of grading in writing lessons. Teachers may use different strategies such as replacing part of students’ work with the correct form or with a more acceptable or appropriate version, indicating an error by underlining and allowing students to self-correct, indicating an error and identifying the kind of error with a symbol, indicating that there is a certain kind of error on a line by writing in the margin but leaving students to locate it themselves.
If teachers are going to use a marking code, then it is important that students are familiar with it. It could be displayed on the wall of the classroom, or photocopied and handed to students.
According to Raimes (1985) writing is more than a language exercise , marked right and wrong. It becomes an ongoing process of discovery.
There are some techniques teachers can use when responding to student writing. The first one is a written commment. According to Raimes (1985) comments on students’ papers that take form of a paraphrase of the ideas expressed, praise, question, or suggestions are more productive than an end comment like “Only fair”, “Good” or “Needs more work”. Suggestions should be specific, giving directions that a student can follow, step by step. Questions are useful, too, if teachers want to lead the writer to consider other options without necessairly suggesting those options themselves. Questions are valuable to direct a student’s attention to unclear content or organisation or lack of details.The second one is conferencing. The writing conference is a face to face conversation between a teacher and a student.
Hedge 91998) belives that as students work on their writing in the classroom, a teacher can sit beside one and talk about writing in progress, give support with organisation of ideas, assist with the language, and extend the students’ thinking about the topic, where this is relevant with young adults or with a specialized content. Conferencing encourages students to think about writing as something that can be organized and improved and gives them an opportunity to talk about their writing and reflect on the process. Moreover, it gives teachers a chance to listen, learn, and diagnose.
According to Raimes (1985), one-to-one conferences are extremely time-consuming and, in some teaching situations, just not practical. Often, however, a conference of just a few minutes can be so productive that some teachers hold very short conferences before and after and even during class while other students are writing or working together in groups. Talking to a student about what he/she has written is often the only way to find what he/she was really trying to say. The third one is checklist. As Raimes claims ( 1985) teachers can use editing checklists and so can students. For grammatical items, checklists can be cumulative, with each new grammatical item covered in class added to the list. Checklists can contain questions about manuscript form, instructions about grammar, tasks to analyze content and organisation, or just words to jag the memory. The next technique is students’ responses to student writing
According to Raimes (1985) checklists provide guidelines for students to read and assess other students’ writing. With guidance, with clear, specific instructions on what to look for and what to do, they can be useful as readers of drafts.
What students really need, more than anything else, is to develop the ability to read their own writing and to examine it critically, to learn how to improve it, to learn how to express their meaning fluently, logically, and accurately. They need to be able to find and correct their own mistakes.” Students should know the techniques of reading closely and analyzing the writing that help them with critical reading. Moreover some techniques are designed to help students apply the same critical skills to their own written products but at the right stage in the process.Students have to know not only how to edit their own writing but when is the right time to do it. ( Raimes 1985:149)
Abu Rass, R. (2001) Integrating Reading and Writing for Effective Language Teaching. English Teaching Forum, 32
Byrne,D. (1995). Teaching Writing Skills. Longman.
Chastain, K. (1988). Developing Second Language Skills.
Davies, J. S. (2000) Creative Writing. English Teaching Forum,12
Gabrielatos, C (1998-2002) EFL Writing Product & Process. www.gabrielatos.com/EFLWriting.htm
Hamm, Adams, M&D (1992). The Collaborative Dimensions Of Learning. Norwood, NY: Ablex Publishing Company.
Harmer,J. (1989). II The Practice of Engish Language Teaching.Longman.
Hedge, T. (1989). Writing.
Komorowska, H.(.....). Metodyka Nauczania Języków Obcych. Fraszka Edukacyjna.
Leki, J. (1991) Teaching Second-Language Writing: Where We Seem to Be. Forum,4,11-13
Littlejohn, A. (1994) Writing. Cambridge University Press.
Raimes, A. (1987). Techniques in Teaching Writing.OUP.
Raimes,A. (1987) Why Write? From Purpose to Pedagogy. English Teaching Forum,4,7-8.
Rinovolucri, M. (2003) Creative Writing and Polish Perfectionism.The Teacher,12
Rowe, A. Emmens, P. (1963) English through Experience. Book II. Blond Educational.
Shoemaker, C. (1989). Write in the Middle. Arapahoe Community College.
Stieve, E. (2000) Silence Can Be Golden in a Writing Class. English Teaching Forum, 33-36
Trimmer,J. (1981). Writing with a Purpose. Houghton Mifflin Company.
Ur, P. (2000). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge:Cambridge Teacher Training and Development.