Monday, 24 October 2016

Feedback must always be present

To begin with: what do we speak about when we refer to FEEDBACK?  It is the information that is given to the learner about his/her performance of a learning task, usually with the objective of improving this performance.
Feedback has two distinguishable components: assessment and correction. In the former the learner is simply informed about how well or badly he has performed. In the latter some specific information is provided on aspects of the learner's performance through explanation.  It is possible to give assessment without correcting but it is virtually impossible to comment on what is right or wrong in what a learner has done without conveying some kind of assessment.

Now let's speak about an important difference that we have to consider when we are looking at our learners performance and it is whether they are making a mistake or an error. What's the difference between these two concepts?  Mistakes refer to a performance error that is a "slip" of the pen,  it is a failure to utilize a known system correctly.  [It can be self corrected] However,  errors are noticeable deviations from the grammar of an adult native speaker, they reflect the competence of the learner. [It cannot be self corrected]. When a teacher is providing feedback on mistakes the purpose is to help and promote learning, and that "getting it wrong" is not bad but rather a way into "getting it right".

As teachers, what do we do when instead of making a mistake we see that a learner has made an error? What are the different categories to describe an error? Which are the sources of errors?

I will be answering all these questions on my next post! :)