Error Correction in Language Classrooms: Balancing Research and Realities

October 29, 2018
Room 9207
The Graduate Center
4:30 – 5:30pm

Presenter: Lourdes Ortega

Workshop description:

Correcting grammar errors in speaking or writing is thought to be part of every language teacher’s job, a professional duty that many language teachers excel in and that most language students expect. There are however many complexities that teachers wonder about, encompassing affective concerns (Will it demotivate some of my students?), time management (How can it become less time consuming?), doubts about effectiveness (How do I know that it is making a difference in my students’ accuracy?), proficiency differences (Should I correct errors in the same ways regardless of my students’ language level?), and educational goals and philosophies of teaching (How should I reconcile correcting for accuracy with teaching for communication? How do I manage language accuracy efforts like error correction in the context of teaching other important dimensions of a foreign language, like culture, literature, or writing?). I discuss some best practices for correcting language students’ errors; balancing research findings with the realities of foreign language education.

Lourdes Ortega is a Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University and a Visiting Fellow at the Advanced Research Collaborative, CUNY Graduate Center. Her main area of expertise is in second language acquisition, and she is committed to investigating what it means to become a bilingual or multilingual language user later in life in ways that can encourage connections between research and teaching and promote social justice. Before moving to the USA in 1993, she taught Spanish as a foreign language at the Cervantes Institute in Athens, Greece, and English as a second language in Hawaii and Georgia. She has published widely and her books include Understanding Second Language Acquisition (2009, translated into Mandarin in 2016), and Technology-mediated TBLT (with Marta González-Lloret, John Benjamins, 2014). She just finished The Cambridge Handbook of Bilingualism (co-edited with Annick De Houwer, 2019, Cambridge University Press).