Critical Reading 1

Empowering English Teachers to Grapple with Errors in Grammar

Caroline Mei Lin Ho
mlcho [at]
Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. IX, No. 3, March 2003

Errors are devices the students use in order to learn. Students’ errors made in grammar are systematic and classifiable. However, there is a need for students to recognize the significance of errors which occur in their writing, to fully cope and understand the nature of the errors they have made.

The 3-step approach designed by Caroline Mei Lin Ho is adopted to enable identification and analysis of students’ errors. The approach offers an opportunity of exploiting the grammars students have internalized as a way of teaching the grammar of English through the examination of error type, frequency and patterns in problems which surface from students’ own work. Exploring problems in grammar in relation to students’ writing essentially reinforces the importance of studying grammar not in isolation but in its location (in use and in its creation of contextual meanings) which is ultimately more needs-oriented, problem-focused and learner-centered.

This article provides us with quite clear step-by step approach to empower teachers of English to analyze grammatical errors in students’ writing as well as the clear example of the analysis. it also focuses on not only the type and nature of errors made but also attempts to understand the violation or misappropriating of specific grammar rules on the part of the students. In addition, the example of feedback is quite clear and in the contextual communication as well. In contrast, there is no further explanation on where the teacher should give feedback to the students, where it should be done directly when the students make mistake, or in the middle, or at the end. This article also pays little attention to the students’ learning styles where it is very important for teacher to know whenever he wants to give feedback.

Asep Budiman




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