How Do Hong Kong English Teachers Correct Errors in Writing?

2003.第31卷第1期(Vol. 31 No. 1).pp. 153–169


How Do Hong Kong English Teachers Correct Errors in Writing?


Icy LEE(李潔冰)


While error correction research has focused on whether teachers should correct errors in student writing and what techniques they should use in correcting errors, much less attention has been given to how teachers actually go about error correction. This study investigated the way teachers of ESL (English as a second language) writing corrected student errors by asking them to complete an error correction task. At the end of the task, the teachers were asked to indicate whether they had marked errors comprehensively or selectively, and what criteria they had used in error selection. The teacher corrections were analyzed to find out: (1) what errors they had chosen to mark; (2) what error feedback strategies they used; and (3) the accuracy of the teacher error feedback. The findings of the study indicated that the majority of teachers marked errors comprehensively. The teachers favored direct feedback more than indirect feedback, and all of their indirect feedback was coded. Slightly over half of the error feedback was accurate, and there was a rather large proportion of unnecessary feedback. The article ends with a discussion of the pedagogical implications that arise from the study.