How EFL students can use Google to correct their “untreatable” written errors
This paper presents the findings of an experiment in which a group of 17 French post-secondary EFL learners used Google to self-correct several “untreatable” written errors. Whether or not error correction leads to improved writing has been much debated, some researchers dismissing it is as useless and others arguing that error feedback leads to more grammatical accuracy. In her response to Truscott (1996), Ferris (1999) explains that it would be unreasonable to abolish correction given the present state of knowledge, and that further research needed to focus on which types of errors were more amenable to which types of error correction. In her attempt to respond more effectively to her students’ errors, she made the distinction between “treatable” and “untreatable” ones: the former occur in “a patterned, rule-governed way” and include problems with verb tense or form, subject-verb agreement, run-ons, noun endings, articles, pronouns, while the latter include a variety of lexical errors, problems with word order and sentence structure, including missing and unnecessary words.
Substantial research on the use of search engines as a tool for L2 learners has been carried out suggesting that the web plays an important role in fostering language awareness and learner autonomy (e.g. Shei 2008a, 2008b; Conroy 2010). According to Bathia and Richie (2009: 547), “the application of Google for language learning has just begun to be tapped.” Within the framework of this study it was assumed that the students, conversant with digital technologies and using Google and the web on a regular basis, could use various search options and the search results to self-correct their errors instead of relying on their teacher to provide direct feedback.
After receiving some in-class training on how to formulate Google queries, the students were asked to use a customized Google search engine limiting searches to 28 information websites to correct up to ten “untreatable” errors occurring in two essays completed in class. The findings indicate that a majority of students successfully use material from the various snippets of texts appearing on the Google results pages to improve their writing.
Acar, A., Geluso, J. & Shiki, T. (2011). How can search engines improve your writing CALL-EJ, 12 (1): 1-10.
Ädel, A. (2010). Using corpora to teach academic writing: challenges for the direct approach. In: Campoy-Cubillo, M. C., Belles-Fortu-o B. & Gea-Valor M. L. (eds). Corpus-based Approaches to ELT. London: Continuum, 39-55.
Adler-Kassner, L., Anson, C.M. & Howard, R.M. (2008). Framing plagiarism. In: Eisner, C. and Vicinus, M. (eds.), Originality, imitation, and plagiarism: teaching writing in the digital age. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 231-247.
Bates, L., Lane, J., & Lange, E. (1993). Writing clearly: responding to ESL compositions. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.
Benson, P. (2001). Teaching and researching autonomy in language learning. Harlow: Pearson Education.
Bergh, G. (2005). Min(d)ing English language data on the web: what can Google tell us? ICAME journal, 29: 25-46.
Bhatia, T. K. & Ritchie, W. C. (2009). Second language acquisition: research and application in the information age. In: Ritchie, W.C. and Bhatia, T.K. (eds.), The new handbook of second language acquisition. Bingley: Emerald, 545-565.
Bitchener, J. (2008). Evidence in support of written corrective feedback. Journal of second language writing, 17 (2): 102-118. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2007.11.004
Bitchener, J., Young, S. & Cameron, D. (2005). The effect of different types of corrective feedback on ESL student writing. Journal of second language writing, 14: 191-205. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2005.08.001
Bloch, J. (2008). Plagiarism across cultures: is there a difference? In: Eisner, C. and Vicinus, M. (eds.), Originality, imitation, and plagiarism: teaching writing in the digital age.Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 219-231.
Bloom, L. Z. (2008). Insider writing: plagiarism-proof assignments. In: Eisner, C. & Vicinus, M. (eds.), Originality, imitation, and plagiarism: teaching writing in the digital age. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 208-219.
Boulton, A. (2009a). Data-driven learning: reasonable fears and rational reassurance. Indian journal of applied linguistics, 35(1):81-106.
Boulton, A. (2009b). Corpora for all? Learning styles and data-driven learning. In: M. Mahlberg, González-Díaz, V. & C. Smith, C. (eds.), Proceedings of the 5th Corpus Linguistics Conference. Liverpool: UCREL.
Boulton, A. (2012). What data for data-driven learning? EUROCALL 2012: Proceedings. Nottingham: The University of Nottingham.
Bowker, Y. (1998). Using specialized monolingual native-language corpora as a translation resource: a pilot study. Meta, 4: 631-651. http://dx.doi.org/10.7202/002134ar
Chambers, A., Conacher J. & Littlemore J. (eds.) (2004). ICT and language learning: integrating pedagogy and practice. Birmingham: University of Birmingham Press.
Chandler, J. (2003). The efficacy of various kinds of error feedback for improvement in the accuracy and fluency of student writing. Journal of second language writing, 12(3): 267-296. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1060-3743(03)00038-9
Cheng, W., Warren, M., & Xun-feng, X. (2003). The language learner as language researcher: putting corpus linguistics on the timetable. System, 31: 173-186. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0346-251X(03)00019-8
Chen, Y. H. (2004). The use of corpora in the vocabulary classroom. The internet TESL journal, 10(9): n. pag.
Chen, Y. H., & Baker, P. (2010). Lexical bundles in L1 and L2 academic writing. Language learning and technology, 14(2): 30-49.
Chinnery, G. M. (2008). You've got some GALL: Google-assisted language learning. Language learning and technology 12(1): 3-11.
Clerehan, R., Kett, G. and Gedge, R. (2003). Web-based tools and instruction for developing it students' written communication skills. In: Exploring Educational Technologies Conference Proceedings. Monash University. Retrieved from http://www.monash.edu.au/groups/flt/eet/full_papers/clerehan.pdf. Last accessed 25/09/2014.
Conroy, M. (2010). Internet tools for language learning: university students taking control of their writing. Australasian Journal of educational technology, 26(6): 861-882.
Donahue, C. (2008). When copying is not copying: plagiarism and French composition scholarship. In: Eisner, C. and Vicinus, M. (eds), Originality, imitation, and plagiarism: teaching writing in the digital age. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 90-103.
Ellis, R. (1994). The study of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Emerson, L. (2008). Plagiarism, a Turnitin trial, and an experience of cultural disorientation. In: Eisner, C. and Vicinus, M. (eds.), Originality, imitation, and plagiarism: teaching writing in the digital age. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 183-195.
Ferris, D. R. (2004). The "grammar correction" debate in L2 writing: where are, and where do we go from here? (and what do we do in the mean time...?). Journal of second language writing, 13 (1):49-62. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2004.04.005
Ferris, D. R. and Roberts, B. (2001). Error feedback in L2 writing classes: how explicit does it need to be? Journal of second language writing, 10(3): 161-184. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1060-3743(01)00039-X
Ferris, D. R. (1999). The case for grammar correction in L2 writing classes: a response to Truscott (1996). Journal of second language writing, 8(1): 1-11. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1060-3743(99)80110-6
Fletcher, W. H. (2004). Making the web more useful as a source for linguistic corpora. In: Connor, U. and Upton, T. (eds.), Applied corpus linguistics: A multidimensional perspective. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 191-205.
Gaskell, D. & Cobb, T. (2004). Can learners use concordance feedback for writing errors? System, 32(3): 301-319. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2004.04.001
Grossberg, M. (2008). History and the disciplining of plagiarism. In: Eisner, C. and Vicinus, M. (eds.), Originality, imitation, and plagiarism: teaching writing in the digital age. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 159-173.
Guo, S. & Zhang, G. (2007). Building a customised Google-based collocation collector to enhance language learning. British journal of educational technology, 38(4): 747-750. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2006.00667.x
Hafner, C. A. & Candlin, C. N. (2007). Corpus tools as an affordance to learning in professional legal education. Journal of English for academic purposes, 6(4): 303-318. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2007.09.005
Hendrickson, J. M. (1978). Error correction in foreign language teaching: recent theory, research, and practice. The modern language journal, 62(8): 387- 398.
Holec, H. (ed.) (1988). Autonomy and self-directed learning: present fields of application. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.
Holec. H. (1980). Learner training: meeting needs in self-directed learning. In: Altman, H. B. & James, C. V. (eds.). Foreign language learning: meeting individual needs. Oxford: Pergamon, 30-45.
Hyland, F. (2003). Focusing on form: Student engagement with teacher feedback. System, 31(2): 217-230. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0346-251X(03)00021-6
Jarvis, H. (2004). Investigating the classroom applications of computers on EFL courses at higher education institutions in the UK. Journal of English for academic purposes, 3(2): 111-137. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2003.08.002
Johansson, S. (2009). Some thoughts on corpora and second-language acquisition. In: Aijmer, K. (ed.). Corpora and language teaching. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 33-44. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/scl.33.05joh
Johns, T. (1988). Whence and whither classroom concordancing? In: Bongaerts, P., De Haan, P., Lobbe, S. & Wekker, H. (eds.), Computer applications in language learning. Dordrecht: Foris, 9-27.
Johns, T. (1990). From printout to handout: grammar and vocabulary teaching in the context of data-driven learning. CALL Austria, 10: 14-34.
Johns, T., Lee H. C. and Wang L. (2008). Integrating corpus-based CALL programs in teaching English through children's literature. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 2: 483 -506 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09588220802448006
Johnson, A. (2004). Creating a writing course utilizing class and student blogs. The internet TESL journal 10(8).
Kennedy, C. & Miceli, T. (2001). An evaluation of intermediate students' approaches to corpus investigation. Language Learning and Technology, 5: 77-90.
Kennedy, C. & Miceli, T. (2010). Corpus-assisted creative writing: introducing intermediate Italian learners to a corpus as a reference resource. Language learning and technology, 14(1): 28-44.
Kenworthy, R. C. (2004). Developing writing skills in a foreign language via the internet. The internet TESL journal, 10(10).
Kepner, C. G. (1991). An experiment in the relationship of types of written feedback to the development of second language writing skills. The modern language journal, 75(3): 305-313. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.1991.tb05359.x
Kilgariff, A. (2001). Web as corpus. In: Rayson, A., Wilson, T., McEnery, A., Hardie & Khoja, S. (eds.), Proceedings of the corpus linguistics 2001 conference. Lancaster: UCREL, 342-344.
Krajka, J. (2000). Using the internet in ESL writing instruction. The Internet TESL Journal, 6(11).
Lavid, J. (2007). Contrastive patterns of mental transitivity in English and Spanish: a student-centred corpus-based study. In: Hidalgo, E. Quereda, L. & Santana J. (eds.). Corpora in the foreign language classroom. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 237-252.
Liu, D. & Jiang, P. (2009). Using a corpus-based lexicogrammatical approach to grammar instruction in EFL and ESL contexts. The Modern Language Journal, 93: 61- 78. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2009.00828.x
Ma, B. K. C. (1994). Learning strategies in ESP classroom concordancing: an initial investigation into data-driven learning. In Flowerdew, J. & Tong, A. (eds.). Entering Texts. Hong Kong: Language Centre, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 197-214.
Mansor, N. (2007). Collaborative learning via email discussion: strategies for ESL writing classroom. The Internet TESL Journal, 13(3).
McCarthy, M. (2008). Accessing and interpreting corpus information in the teacher education context. Language Teaching, 41(4): 563–574. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0261444808005247
Miceli, T. & Kennedy, C. (2002). An Apprenticeship with the CWIC Corpus: a tool for learner writers in Italian. In: Kennedy, C. (ed.) Proceedings of Workshop Innovations in Italian Teaching. Brisbane: Griffith University, 83-94.
Milton, J. (2006). Resource-rich web-based feedback: helping learners become independent writers. In: Hyland, K. and Hyland, F. (eds.), Feedback in second language writing. New York: Cambridge University Press, 123-139. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139524742.009
Murray, L. J. (2008). Plagiarism and copyright infringement: the cost of confusion. In: Eisner, C. & Vicinus, M. (eds.), Originality, imitation, and plagiarism: teaching writing in the digital age. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 173-183.
O'Keeffe, A., McCarthy, M. & Carter, R. (2007). From corpus to classroom: language use and language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511497650
O'Sullivan, Í. & Chambers, A. (2006). Learners' writing skills in French: corpus consultation and learner evaluation. Journal of Second Language Writing, 15: 49-68. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2006.01.002
Palfrey, J., & Gasser, U. (2008). Born digital. Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives. New York: Basic Books.
Renouf, A. (2003). WebCorp: providing a renewable data source for corpus linguists. Language and computers, 48: 39-58.
Robb, T. (2003a). Google as a quick ʻn dirty corpus tool. TESL-EJ, 7(2).
Robb, T. (2003b). Google as a corpus tool? ETJ Journal, 4(1).
Rundell, M. (2000). The biggest corpus of all. Humanising language teaching, 2(3).
Schroeder, A., Minocha, S., & Schneider, C. (2010). The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of using social software in higher and further education teaching and learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26: 159-174. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2729.2010.00347.x
Senders, S. (2008). Academic plagiarism and the limits of theft. In: Eisner, C. & Vicinus, M. (eds.), Originality, imitation, and plagiarism: teaching writing in the digital age. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 195-219.
Shei, C. (2008a). Discovering the hidden treasure on the internet: using Google to uncover the veil of phraseology. CALL, 21(1): 67-85. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09588220701865516
Shei, C. (2008b). Web as corpus, Google, and TESOL: a new trilogy. Taiwan Journal of TESOL, 5(2): 1-28.
Sun, Y. (2003). Learning process, strategies and web-based concordancers: a case study. British journal of educational technology, 34(5): 601-613. http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.0007-1013.2003.00353.x
Tribble, C. (1997). Improvising corpora for ELT: quick-and-dirty ways of developing corpora for language teaching. In: Melia, J. & Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk, B. (eds.) PALC 97 Proceedings, Lodz: Lodz University Press.
Truscott, J. (1996). The case against grammar correction in L2 writing classes. Language learning, 46(2): 327-369. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-1770.1996.tb01238.x
Widdowson, H. (2000). On the limitations of linguistics applied. Applied Linguistics, 21(1): 3-25. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/applin/21.1.3
Wu, S., Franken, M., & Witten, H. (2009). Refining the use of the web (and web search) as a language teaching and learning resource. CALL, 22(3): 249-268. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09588220902920250
Yoon, H. (2008). More than a linguistic reference: the influence of corpus technology on L2 academic writing. Language learning and technology, 12(2): 31-48.
Yoon, H. & Hirvela, A. (2004). ESL student attitudes toward corpus use in L2 writing. Journal of second language writing, 13: 257-283. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2004.06.002
Zamel, V. (1985). Responding to student writing. TESOL Quarterly, 19(1): 79-97. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3586773
Metrics powered by PLOS ALM
- There are currently no refbacks.
Cited-By (articles included in Crossref)
This journal is a Crossref Cited-by Linking member. This list shows the references that citing the article automatically, if there are. For more information about the system please visit Crossref site
1. Intégration de corpus de petite taille et d'outils multilingues dans un dispositif de formation hybride centré sur les tâches
Alsic issue: Volume 21 year: 2017
This journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.
Universitat Politècnica de València
e-ISSN: 1695-2618 http://dx.doi.org/10.4995/eurocall