Sunday, April 26, 2015

Noticing and Explicit Correction: a Grammar Checker for ESL Learners


Learning English as a Second Language isn't just about practice, as many teachers and students believe. Accurate and effective use of the grammatical forms and sentence structures of English requires extensive focused attention on form and meaning (Schmidt, 1990). Explicit corrective feedback helps in that regard. It leads the learner to notice how his or her expression of an idea is different from the usual way a native speaker might express the same idea, helping the learner notice the regularities of the target language. Giving focused attention to both the error and the correction with a clear explanation brings the linguistic structure under conscious control and prepares it for automation.

Consider the golfer who sends his golf ball into the woods instead of onto the green. No amount of
practice will help if he continues to practice his mistakes. Correction from a golf-pro can help the golfer bring aspects of his swing under greater conscious control during practice so that a correct swing will become second-nature over time.

In the same way, the Virtual Writing Tutor online grammar checker helps learners notice what they are doing wrong, why it is wrong, and how to correct it in the future. Over time it can help learners gain greater control over the grammar, spelling, punctuation, word order and word choice of English by providing explicit feedback to enhance noticing.

The Virtual Writing Tutor goes one step further. The system also provides links to remedial practice activities in its members area MOOC to further assist the learner in recognizing and correcting similar mistakes in a series of graded practice activities. With use, students who use the Virtual Writing Tutor online grammar checker will become more accurate and confident at ESL writing over time.

That’s the theory, anyway.

Schmidt, R. (1990).The role of consciousness in second language learning. Applied Linguistics, 11,129-158.

Grammar Checker Forum

Grammar Checker Forum The Virtual Writing Tutor has added a community forum to its free grammar checker . Post your text, tell the community...