Konstantinos on the language teaching and learning procedure. It

Konstantinos Kalemis



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This research paper, focus on the relationship between the error feedback and its implications on the language teaching and learning procedure. It is a result of an interview, which took place in the Malakasa Refugee Camp on the 30th of November 2017. Through a list of questions made to a bilingual adult (bilingual in Farsi and English), we try to investigate the types of error feedback, its implications for classroom teaching in Afghanistan, the effects of error feedback in the second language (English), the repetition and the clarification request as types of corrective feedback. And finally what are the positive and the corrective feedback in language teaching. A key issue of interest was how teachers correct students’ writing and speaking in the second language. The role played by corrective feedback in language acquisition is highly controversial. 


According to Kirikgoz, language learning is a skill in which errors constitute a major aspect. As a result, all correction methods of these mistakes do have a great importance. The reasons, the questions and their answers why teachers should correct errors and how they should do it, it was a long time debate.  Teachers usually revealed positive changes in the L2 learning environments of the school, of their ideas to learn and the students’ skills and abilities to learn. Of course, anyone can learn as many languages he wants, but in this case we do not speak for a bilingual student but rather a multi-language speaking individual. Main difference exists for the reason the language is learned; if it is for social need, for demands of communication, etc. In any case, the achievement of bilingualism cannot override a central fact of language acquisition, that the main stimuli always remain the school’s experience. It is quite easy to understand why: the entrance of the child to school community creates the need to communicate with a large number of new people, in many and different situations, in many new topics and types. During our interview, one that came clear was that besides the event that as teachers we do have an important role in L2 didactic approach is the student who has the main role in this regard. And the key element to do so is the error feedback. This feedback varies a lot as all students have different ways to understand and adopt the corrections. During the conquest of native language (L1) usually there is abundance and variety of imported as well as lack of time pressure for assimilation. The same may be true with the non-native language (L2), to people who live in an environment dominated by L2, such as children of migrants and/or refugees while their presence in kindergarten or at school.


Literature Review

The importance of the «error» and the role of the teacher

The language is a system of principles which the student must recreate, through a process of engagement in linguistic activity. Looking at, I don’t consider that to be undesirable element of learning activity, nor as a sign of failure of student, or instructor’s method, but as a normal consequence of a path that leads to the gradual and methodical creation of a language code. Mistakes help the teacher to form a clear idea, not only for the extent language structures conquest and the effectiveness of his teaching, but also on the learning path, evolution, the gaps , the efforts and the strategies developed by the students during the learning of the language.

Therefore, errors should not be treated as negative phenomena (i.e. as evidence of failure of the instructor’s students), but as positive signs that point to move in the right direction.  

According to Collins English Dictionary, an error is something you have done which is considered to be incorrect or wrong, or which should not have been done. Already by this definition arise a number of issues that make it evident that, despite the absolute ethical attitude that we take in relation to language mistakes, things are not so clear. Firstly, the norm by definition means a versus other linguistic varieties that exists on one State. In this sense, could be classed as errors deviations from the norm that shows any variety or dialect. Then, the norm is a standard language format that has been crystallized through the processes of code in grammars and dictionaries of a language. However, even this standardization presents variation, since what is included in the manuals these are topic of objectives and standards that they set. Relativity, however, that becomes apparent to the moment you asks in relation to the parameters that define the linguistic mistake but also by what we as native speakers judge as errors in our everyday lives, often set as absolute. The reason is that the norm, as invested with the authority of rule and the validity of the template appears as the only correct linguistic form. That is why it is common sense that the dictionaries and grammars record the correct use of language. It is understood well that such distinctions create absolute and absolute attitudes in relation to the language: on the one hand, stigmatize social ones that are not the same as to the use of the official language; on the other hand, causing cleaning movements since the deviations from the norm are getting extended character, moves that usually accompanied by ideological smear of risk annihilation or alteration of that language. Of course, what was said could cause dilemmas when they relate to language teaching? Because this topic is presented even a dimension , in so far as for the linguist-which aims to describe and interpret the language-there are no value judgments ; While for the educational-called to teach the norm , which anyway is essential factor of social cohesion-the language wrong ought to fix it . But the point is to understand that a large number of language errors are mobilized by the same mechanisms of the language system, a finding that might even lead to an alternative way of teaching approach to errors, but also to attenuate the absolute value attitudes toward this. The mistake in the traditional teacher centered teaching model was considered declaratory of school failure and inhibitor of learning, which coincided with the failure of the student to meet the requirements of the school. According to the traditional pedagogy, influenced by behavioral perceptions, wrong was just a negative assessment mainly to the pupil.

Unlike the old theories of pedagogy, which were teacher-centered and recognize students ‘ mistakes as failure and as missing elements of the teaching process , the new moves in a learner-centered pedagogy framework considering mistakes as an opportunity for progress and inevitable part of learning.

The traditional views of elements that hamper as error learning and require immediate eradication tactics comes to overturn mainly the constructivist approach. Constructivism based on cognitive and social processes of learning, with the cognitive dimension is based on the Piaget and the social dimension be standardized in the socio-cultural theory of Vygotsky. These theories led to a redefinition of the General error in language teaching and in particular to new didactical approaches to correction of the reading comprehension of students. The location of the error in modern approaches to teaching stems from the nature and function of error in the evolution of science. Therefore, the error is one of the driving forces of statements intended to induce learning by adaptation. Here the mistake has the character of necessity.

The teacher is responsible for the selection of suitable teaching situations and organisation was designed in a way to motivate the student to act on his own initiative to discover knowledge. Essentially, the error management by the teacher is done indirectly, i.e. handling is entrusted to the same student. Error in modern theories of language teaching these learning theories exercised influence and error approach in language teaching. Around the mid-1960 ‘s in the area especially the learning of a second or foreign language is observed a shift from teacher-centered international research into more learner centered approaches , which is reflected on the systematic recording and interpretation of errors by learning through the theory of parsing Errors (Error Analysis ) introduced by Corder in 1967.

In the context of this theory the students ‘ errors are an indication of how learning the language and strategies applied themselves in order to decode. At the same time, the revision of the traditional way of teaching occurred by Noam Chomsky, who questioned the theoretical background of constructivism and the behavioral view of error. Chomsky’s theory was based and the communicative approach giving emphasis on language use in real communicative situations and in selecting the appropriate linguistic form in connection with such communications . Under this approach clearly distinguish between grammatical and communication error. The communication error is defined as the use of a proper, from grammar and structure point of view, the proposal, which does not correspond to the data of a particular environment and the corresponding communication conditions. The teaching of grammar not taught in separate parts of the courses, but aims to strengthen the communication capacities of the students. The error in the communicative approach is considered: (a)  function of effectiveness and appropriateness of a linguistic formality in relation to the data of the respective circumstance and (b) a physiological phenomenon that characterizes the language development of young people and teaching is approached through a pedagogical perspective that takes into account the age of the student and the degree of occupation of the language by itself , without being a burden on mentally .

The Method

In order to finalize our paper, we had an interview of an bilingual adult who is at the moment an official translator in Malakasa Refugee Camp; he had accepted that our interview will be recorded for academic purposes only and all his personal details will be safe. Upon his request, a copy of the paper will be provided to him at any time. The interview took place in the Refugee Education Coordinators’ office. At the beginning, I spend time to clarify to him the role of his involvement, a short description on the language learning theories so far, the academic background he had achieved so far, the didactic approaches used as well as some personal information about his age, his country of origin, his studies and his experience so far in social interfere.

Our paper is limited due to the time limit, the restrictions applied in the Refugee Camp and that we were granted to just one person interview; as a result we cannot generalize the results of the study.


__By the way, do you remember an example of positive feedback from your school years/


__Yes, I remember once in the physics lab; I had to prepare an experiment with electricity from batteries showing the closed circuit; I had made an nice design on the board showing all the details before I show the experiment.

__My teacher then said to me that this is great work. The same time the school principal came to see us and after my teacher he said that he liked a lot the detailed design I made on the board, the detailed work with the circuit I had in front of me. He also had said that this made him understand that I had did a lot of work on it. In this point, I think that the words of my teacher were just a praise but the positive feedback came from the School Principal.

My teacher then was asking “I don’t understand that, can you please explain,”; at this point I understand that he was trying to assist me making better my work, eliminating from my part any mistakes I may had done.

__Ok, you know that this is called “clarification request”.  And if your teachers were repeating and focusing on your errors, just to draw your attention, then we speak for “repetition”.

__Ok that was very common during our Farsi language lessons; the teacher insisted in the proper word writing as well as the correct pronunciation.


Modern didactic approaches recognize the cognitive and emotional parameters involved in the learning process and the corresponding responsibilities arising for the entire education system concerning integrated pollution socio-cognitive development of students. The error, as an integral element of learning plays a crucial role in the whole learning process; can become an insurmountable barrier or a vehicle for knowledge. The role that will be played largely shapes the teacher through the general didactic attitude. Besides the learning benefits, dealing with student’s error and enables management and educational to reflected on his own performance. Given the opportunity to move away from simplistic beliefs in the past constituted an obstacle even to thinking about attempting to improve. The utilization of error may be a focal point of success.



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