The Backseat Linguist is a new blog devoted to commenting on research in second language acquisition and language education. It is written by Jeff McQuillan, a former university professor of applied linguistics and education, and now a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Educational Development in Los Angeles, California. His research is largely based on Stephen Krashen’s Comprehension Hypothesis, which states that:
“We acquire language when we understand messages, when we understand what people tell us and when we understand what we read.”
– Stephen Krashen
I found Jeff’s most recent post on Error Correction to be very interesting. The following quote sums up his post nicely:
“Other studies… have found accuracy improves significantly simply through more reading, without the extensive (and time-consuming) [Written Corrective Feedback] used here.”
– Jeff McQuillan
Teachers who are a part of the TPRS community have likely heard before that error correction does not really benefit students. In terms of language acquisition, it is better to provide them with more input than to waste time making corrections to their completed work. If you have ever tried to correct a child who is learning their first language, you will see that no matter how many times you correct their speech, they will not acquire the appropriate structure until they are ready. A child that says “I runned” may repeat “I ran” after being corrected by an adult, but the next time they want to use the structure they will still say “I runned.” It is not possible force acquisition of a structure. All we can do is provide more input and eventually the child or student will use the correct form.