Welcome to the RM Blog. The purpose of this blog is to create a forum for an active conversation among graduate students, educators, researchers and anyone else involved in language, literacy and technology education. It is hoped that individuals who have an interest in these subjects will engage with each other to further contribute to these areas of discussion and offer personal and professional insights.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

To Correct or Not to Correct?– The Big Grammar Question

A group of us were recently having a discussion about the benefit of grammar corrections, often a topic of continued interest to ESL writing instructors. We deal with this everyday in the classroom (not to mention outside of the classroom as many of us spend countless hours on this task). Common questions that always come up are: What kind of feedback should I give? How much feedback is necessary and how often? I question the extent to which this type of correction does help my students. As writing teachers, many of us do point out errors using some type of number or coding system, and many of also provide margin and end comments to get students to focus on meaning and content. I think if many of us did not do this, we would feel as though we are not doing our jobs and that our students are not learning. However, some of the research in this area shows that grammar correction is not highly beneficial and more emphasis should be on improving content and meaning which in turn results in improved grammar. Other studies that show grammar feedback improves the accuracy of student writing are inconclusive. If you have thoughts on this issue, let us know. Can we make better use of those hours in the upper-level writing classes? How do we get students at that level to improve their grammar? And what is the best kind of feedback?