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April 28, 2009

Teaching and Correcting Form in an All-Class Setting

Negative Evidence and Positive Evidence

Students need to be shown what is not correct as well as what is correct. Following are explanations and examples of explicit teaching of language forms, and also methods for explicit correction in an active class, not a one-to-one teacher-student dialog, setting.

At the beginning of each lesson, put the target sentence on the blackboard, perhaps using different colored chalk to draw attention to one part of the sentence if it is to be the focus of the lesson (there might or should be a Japanese translation written, too). If there is information to be taught (patterns to be noticed by the students), attempt to first elicit the information from the students by asking questions rather than just telling them directly. Write on the blackboard- I like dogs. He likes dogs. Then say- T- ‘Can anyone see something different about these two sentences?’). Illustrate parallel examples (refer to something the students already know. I like dogs in the previous example. See Lesson Building Key #4.); refer to meanings in Japanese language; find something concrete the students already know (on the blackboard- I like blue. Kenta likeS blue. (Kenta was chosen because he has a blue pen case on his desk.) (see Lesson Building Key #1).

At the end of each lesson or a pattern-focused activity, write on the blackboard one or some of the common mistakes you’ve heard/seen during the lesson, and explicitly point these out as incorrect (though not why). Then ask for a student to volunteer the correct form for writing on the blackboard (perhaps redundant if the pattern from the beginning of the class is still posted.) Or ask a student to express the differences in the two forms (native language is OK). Or ask a student to explain why the incorrect pattern is wrong. Using these strategies will help students gain a recognition of the pattern without you telling them explicitly.

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