Making Mistakes & Error Correction

19 Oct

Simon Thomas answers the question “What causes ESL students to make speaking and writing errors? “ quite comprehensively in a recent blog post at

He looks at the differences between “mistakes” (lack of knowledge or understanding) and “slips” (performance errors) – which I think is a distinction originally made by Pit Corder in his 1981 book “Error Analysis and Interlanguage“.  Simon goes on to look at possible causes and possible solutions to learner errors.

Since I started typing this – Simon’s just published a further three posts extending and developing the topic (though I haven’t had a chance to read them all yet!):

If you’re a glutton for the error correction punishment, then why  not also look at Alex Case’s 2008 checklist of how to arrive at “A Well Balanced Use of Error Correction” from the Using English site?
Or get some great ideas from Colin Barnett’s onestopenglish article on Conversational Feedback and Effective Error Correction?
Or look at Scott Thornbury’s musings on the nature and source of mistakes (a brief look at the interference debate) in “E is for Error“?
There’s also an ELTChat summary by Michelle Worgan (containing some nice links to methodology articles and materials) on “How do you deal with fossilized errors and help students improve their accuracy?” which is worth reading.

6 Responses to “Making Mistakes & Error Correction”

  1. Brad Patterson Thursday 20 October 2011 at 06:00 #

    Wonderful collection of resources, and an interesting subject indeed. Cheers, Brad

    • David Petrie Thursday 20 October 2011 at 11:12 #

      Thanks Brad!
      one of those where other people did all the hard work!

  2. Benjamin Thursday 15 December 2011 at 20:56 #

    When I think about mistakes versus errors, I think of Chomsky’s distinction between competence and performance. Although there may be a pedagogical advantage of distinguishing the two (if it’s even possible), it still is all about the performance.


  1. Making Mistakes & Error Correction | English Teaching Daily - Wednesday 19 October 2011

    […] Making Mistakes & Error Correction […]

  2. The Best Resources On ESL/EFL/ELL Error Correction | Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day… - Saturday 26 November 2011

    […] Making Mistakes & Error Correction is from TEFL Geek. […]

  3. Mistakes and error correction | - Friday 20 January 2012

    […] October, 2011 by Simon Thomas Further to my recent, short series of posts, David Petrie has found some more online discussions about making mistakes, error correction and what to do about fossilised….Share this post:Bookmark on DeliciousDigg this postRecommend on FacebookGoogle Buzz-up this […]

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