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Treatment of Error in Second Language Student Writing, Second Edition

Dana R. Ferris

Publication Year: 2013

Treatment of Error offers a realistic, well-reasoned account of what teachers of multilingual writers need to know about error and how to put what they know to use. As in the first edition, Ferris again persuasively addresses the fundamental error treatment questions that plague novice and expert writing specialists alike: What types of errors should teachers respond to? When should we respond to them? What are the most efficacious ways of responding to them? And ultimately, what role should error treatment play in the teaching of the process of writing? The second edition improves upon the first by exploring changes in the field since 2002, such as the growing diversity in what is called “L2 writers,” the blurring boundaries between “native” and “non-native” speakers of English, the influence of genre studies and corpus linguistics on the teaching of writing, and the need the move beyond “error” to “second language development” in terms of approaching students and their texts. It also explores what teacher preparation programs need to do to train teachers to treat student error. The second edition features * an updating of the literature in all chapters * a new chapter on academic language development * a postscript on how to integrate error treatment/language development suggestions in Chapters 4-6 into a writing class syllabus * the addition of discussion/analysis questions at the end of each chapter, plus suggested readings, to make the book more useful in pedagogy or teacher development workshops

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Series: Michigan Series on Teaching Multilingual


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication, Series Foreword

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pp. 2-9

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pp. ix-xi

My own interest in the treatment of error in second language (L2) student writing began, literally, in various women’s restrooms on several university campuses in the latter half of the 1980s. This was where I and other ESL teachers would talk about a dilemma that we all struggled with. ...

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Preface to the Second Edition

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pp. xii-xiv

I have been extremely grateful for the positive response to Treatment of Error and was excited to undertake the challenge of a new edition. Research on written corrective feedback in L2 writing and in second language acquisition has proliferated over the last decade, and an update on the literature about what continues to be a controversial subject was badly needed. ...


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pp. xv-xx

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Chapter 1 - Is Error Treatment Helpful for L2 Writers?

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pp. 1-19

This book proceeds on the assumption that its readers believe in the value of corrective feedback (CF) for L2 writers and want practical, field-tested strategies for approaching what can be a daunting and frustrating task. Indeed, most of the book is devoted to the discussion and illustration of such tools. ...

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Chapter 2 - Research on Corrective Feedback in L2 Writing

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pp. 20-56

As discussed in Chapter 1, there is disagreement and even controversy among writing specialists and SLA theorists as to the nature and very existence of “error,” and as to whether any classroom intervention, such as teacher feedback and formal grammar instruction, can help students to improve in written accuracy over time. ...

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Chapter 3 - Preparing Teachers of L2 Writers to Treat Student Error

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pp. 57-77

For many writing instructors, the prospect of responding to students’ errors (Chapter 4), providing strategy training and grammar instruction (Chapter 5), or proactively developing students’ academic language (Chapter 6) may appear rather daunting. Not only does the teacher need to sort through a range of pedagogical options, materials, and techniques, ...

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Chapter 4 - Responding to Student Errors: Issues and Strategies

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pp. 78-121

As discussed in Chapter 1, there has been some confusion and even controversy about whether teachers ought to mark student errors at all. Process advocates have argued that excessive attention to student errors may shortcircuit students’ writing and thinking processes, making writing only an exercise in practicing grammar and vocabulary ...

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Chapter 5 - Beyond Error Correction: Teaching Grammar and Self-Editing Strategies to L2 Student Writers

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pp. 122-159

As already noted, teacher correction is not the only way in which instructors can “treat” student error and help them to improve the overall accuracy of their texts. Even Truscott, who opposes error correction in any form in L2 writing classes, acknowledged that there may be a legitimate role for strategy training and grammar instruction ...

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Chapter 6 - Beyond Error Treatment: Academic Language Development for L2 Writers

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pp. 160-191

Throughout this book, we have proceeded on the assumption that accuracy and linguistic control are important issues for L2 writers, especially as to their long-term goals in academic and professional settings beyond the writing or language class. Thus far, we have focused on errors that L2 students produce while writing ...

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Postscript: Summary and Putting It All Together

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pp. 192-197

Throughout this book, we have argued that error treatment and the even larger concern of facilitating L2 student writers’ ongoing language development are critical issues for teachers of L2 writers. Some composition instructors may be uncomfortable with this stance, saying as did one recent reviewer of another project I was working on, ...


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pp. 198-214


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pp. 215-219

E-ISBN-13: 9780472029730
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472034765

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Michigan Series on Teaching Multilingual