Thursday, May 11, 2017

Second Language Acquisition by Rod Ellis

(Book Review)

Why I Read This Book
This is another book that I read for the professional development book club I've got going at work.

The general criteria for picking books is that we try to stay on the DELTA reading list (LINK HERE) to keep the book club motivating everyone who's considering doing the DELTA at some point in the future.

We've also decided to try to alternate between practical books and theoretical books,
Many teachers like practical books for the obvious reason that they can use the activities in the class.
But practical books don't lend themselves to discussion as much as the theory based books.  So we agreed to alternate.

We were due for another theory based book, so this is what we decided.

I personally had some experience with Rod Ellis before.  Back in 2013 I read his book SLA Research and Language Teaching.  I found it tough going to be honest, but I also got a lot of information out of it.  So I was not opposed to another Rod Ellis book.

The Review
This is yet another book that acts as a general introduction to Second Language Acquisition.
I'm getting to the point now where I've read a number of general introductions to SLA (see here, here, here and here) and I'm getting diminishing returns out of each one.
For example, when I reviewed Understanding Second Language Acquisition by Lourdes Ortega , I made a long list of all the interesting things I learned from that book.
At this point, however, I've already learned most of this before, and mostly just reviewing the information.  As such, this review isn't going to comment on all the new and interesting things I've learned.

I can make some general comments on the readability, however.

First of all, this book was a lot smaller than I was expecting.
I knew that Rod Ellis had written some massive books on SLA, and so I was thinking this would be big and juicy with details.
But it turns out, this isn't one of Rod Ellis's bigger books.  This is a slim little volume--only 147 pages, of which only 90 pages are the main text.
(I think the book I must have been thinking of was Rod Ellis's The Study of Second Language Acquisition, which apparently runs over 800 pages.  But it turns out that's a different book.)

This book was also a lot more readable than I was expecting.
I suspect that this is because this book was written as part of the Oxford Introductions to Language Study series, so Rod Ellis is writing to a general audience, and not an academic audience, and he does a good job of adjusting his tone accordingly.
...that is, for the most part.  By the time he gets to Chapter 7 (Linguistic Aspects of Interlanguage), Rod Ellis starts slipping back into academic-speak and, in my opinion, he starts throwing around a lot of terms that aren't adequately explained for the novice reader.

One more complaint:
There are a few instances of what appear to be sloppy proof-reading in this book.  On page 38, Rod Ellis talks about the Japanese difficulties with the /z/ sound, when I'm fairly sure he meant to say the Japanese difficulties with the /r/ sound (more on my reasons for thinking that below).
Section 2 of the book contains a number of reading excerpts followed by discussion questions, but a few times the discussion questions refer to things not contained in the excerpts.  (Example, page 96).

And that's really all I've got to say about this one.

Notes:
* This book was published in 1997, so presumably it must bee out of date by now.  Although I lack the expertise to critique it, so I don't know in what ways it is out of date.

* The second part of the book consists of a series of short excerpts from the literature, with discussion questions, organized by the chapter they relate to.   This is apparently the format of the series (Oxford Introductions to Language Study series) that this book is a part of.
It's an interesting idea.
I wish I had read these readings alongside of the chapter they related to. Instead what I did is just read the book straight through, and by the time I got to the reading sections, sometimes I struggled to remember what their context was.

Book Club Comments
As I mentioned before, some people in the book club felt that they lacked the motivation to read these books by themselves, and felt that more discussion on Facebook helped to motivate them to read the book.   So, as with the last time, I kept up a running commentary on Facebook as I read this book.
I'll duplicate all those Facebook posts below.
In some cases, we did get into some interesting discussions in the comments, so I'll duplicate those as well.  But I'll replace everyone's names with XXXX for privacy reasons.

Day 1
Book club update:
The next book is Second Language Acquisition by Rod Ellis

Next Meeting: May 9 (Tuesday)
We're going to be picking up the pace on this one slightly to accommodate people's schedules. So the next meeting will be in 3 weeks instead of the usual month. Apologies to all the slower readers in the group. As always, if the reading pace is difficult for you, feel free to only read part of the book. (We'll try to summarize the book at the meetings so that people who didn't get a chance to read the whole thing can still get something out of it.)
About this book:
Unlike the previous couple books, I've not read this one yet, so I can't review it in advance.
I have, however, read one other book by Rod Ellis, so I'm somewhat familiar with his style.
He's a proper academic, and writes in a somewhat dense academic style. I'll be honest, I found his previous book a bit of a hard go, but if you put in the work to unpack his sentences, he's usually got some fascinating insights into language learning theory.
I'm fully expecting that this book is going to be more on the theoretical side, and less on the practical side. But for people who want to increase their general knowledge of linguistics and second language learning theory, it should be interesting.
(And, as with all the books we've been doing, it's straight off the DELTA reading list, so it should be practical for anyone planning to do the DELTA at any point)
http://thedistancedelta.com/howitworks/books.aspx

Day 2
I'm a few pages into the book now, and I'm going to have to take back some of what I said yesterday. This book is actually pretty easy to read. I suspect that that's because (as series editor H.G Widdowson stated explicitly in the introduction) this book is meant as an introduction to non-academics. So Rod Ellis is probably adjusting his writing style to meet his target audience.
Flipping through the book, it looks like this is also incredibly short. (The main text only runs to 90 pages). So this will work well with our accelerated time table.
It looks like this book will re-cover a lot of the same ground we already covered in a previous book "How Languages are Learned" by Lightbown and Spada. But personally I'm not bothered by that. Covering the same information from a slightly different perspective should help to cement it in the memory more.

Day 3
p.6-8
I swear, that Wes pops up in just about every book on second language acquisition I've read.
(A friend once commented to me that she feels sorry for Wes--the story of how he failed to learn English grammar has been read by just about every linguistics student in the world by now. Of course they changed his real name, so no one knows who he is. But he knows its him, wherever he is.)
To be fair, I guess it is a good case study for demonstrating that input alone does not always make correct speakers. Which is a blow to Krashen's theories.
But, as I think Rod Ellis does a good job of pointing out on page 8, that's the glass half empty way to look at it. The positive way to look at it is that Wes became communicatively competent just from input and interaction.

XXX commented
It's interesting how his inability to learn English grammar is kind of seen as a failure, when his ability to communicate in English after a mere 3 years was such that he could even negotiate business deals. I'm often stunned when I meet people speaking perfectly understandable English and they tell me they have been learning for 2-3 years. The internet frequently claims that a basic level of fluency in any language can be had in only 3 months. Perhaps it is the difficulty of Vietnamese, or the lack of time spent learning it, but being that proficient in Vietnamese in even 5 years seems an impossibility. I wonder what success in speaking VN would even look/sound like.
Edit: Having read more, I guess the issue with learning Vietnamese might tie into what the book refers to as "social identity" and "cultural capital".

I replied:

My experience:
I was conversational in Japanese after only about 6 months in the country.
By contrast, I spent 4 years in Cambodia and never learned any Cambodian. I've been in Vietnam for 2 years now, and really can't speak any Vietnamese.
Some of this is because Japanese is an easier language--at least as far as pronunciation goes.
But the situation made a huge difference. I was living in a small town in Japan, where there was only one other foreigner and I worked in the public schools where there was no one to talk English with.
In Japan there was a big difference between foreigners who taught in the public schools, and foreigners who taught at private language schools. People who worked in the public schools (like I did) usually became fluent in Japanese. Whereas people who spent their whole day working with other foreigners at private English conversation schools usually never mastered Japanese.

XXXX commented:

 Yeah, to be completely honest, I couldn't get past intermediate Spanish until I moved to SAm. I became fluent after living there for two years and just interacting with Spanish speakers. It's a romance language so it's a bit different, and Like Joel said, it's different depending on context. For example, we live in an area of the country where we are not forced to learn more VN than we need to. I was forced to communicate in Spanish, as no one could speak English around me. As for this example in the book being a blow to other theories, I disagree. This particular theory should by no means be a basis for SLA, as Joel said, no one will master a language on input alone. Krashen has since backed down from putting so much emphasis on it, but it's still a legitimate theory as there is definitely language learned through input. As we all already know from experience. 

Day 4
p.8-10
On pages 8-10, Rod Ellis talks about his research involving data collection of two children and their evolving ability to form requests.
This same research popped up in the other Rod Ellis book I've read:
SLA Research and Language Teaching by Rod Ellis

Actually I remember feeling a bit uncomfortable with Rod Ellis's analysis then, and I still feel the same way now.
For example, on page 10 of "Second Language Acquisition" (the book we're reading now), Rod Ellis writes:
"However, it was equally clear that this ability was limited in a number of respects. Their requests tended to be very direct (i.e. they mostly took the form of commands with an imperative verb) throughout, whereas native speakers would tend to use more indirect requests (for example, they make requests by asking questions or giving hints)."
Well, sure native speaker adults do this. But native speaker children? I feel that children are always very direct with their requests, regardless of their first language.
In order for this study to have any value, we would have to analyze what native speakers OF THE SAME AGE are saying, and only then could we make comparisons.
In "SLA Research and Language Teaching" (the book linked to above), Rod Ellis acknowledges this kind of in a brief sentence at the end of his analysis of the study. "This conclusion needs to be treated with caution, however…The study has …provided no baseline data from native-speaker children in a similar classroom context.” ( from p.195 of SLA Research and Language Teaching by Rod Ellis). But even there, I thought he had kind of buried the most important qualification at the end, when he should have been emphasizing it throughout.
In this book we're currently reading, he doesn't even make the qualification.

XXXX Commented:

It's a good point, though J and R were 10 and 11 respectively, which might be old enough for a native English speaker to be using such forms. I'm not sure if this was there age at the beginning or end of the study, but if it was the beginning they'd be even older at the conclusion of his research. Alas, it is an area I know nothing of. It'd be interesting to know more about first-language learning of English.
Day 5
p.19
Rod Ellis talks about transfer errors on page 19.
It got me thinking about what transfer errors Vietnamese speakers make.
I guess the most obvious ones are pronunciation. But what about grammar?
The only one I've noticed is using "have" instead of "there is" to indicate the existence of something. For example "It has a tree outside" instead of "There is a tree outside". (I'm assuming this is a transfer error from Vietnamese, just because it seems to be so ubiquitous among Vietnamese students. But if I'm being perfectly honest, my Vietnamese isn't good enough to say with 100% certainty).
What transfer errors have you guys picked up on among our students?

Day 6
p.20
On page 20, Rod Ellis writes: "In such circumstances, some L2 learners, particularly if they are children, undergo a silent period. That is, they make no attempt to say anything to begin with. Of course they may be learning a lot about the language just through listening or reading it. The silent period may serve as a preparation for subsequent production."
Rod Ellis doesn't mention how long the silent period typically is. But Krashen does. In Krashen's book: The Natural Approach, he claims on pages 35-36 that for immigrant children, the silent period lasts for several months before they attempt to speak the language.
Krashen infers from this that learners in the classroom should also be given a silent period.
(Actually I think we discussed all this before on the previous book, How Languages are Learned)

Day 7
p.21-22
The order of acquisition is something else that we also encountered in "How Languages are Learned"
But in this case, I thought it was interesting that Rod Ellis briefly mentioned the on page 22 the reasons why some researchers are skeptical of a universal "natural order"

Day 8
p.25
On the order of acquisition, Rod Ellis writes:
"The work on developmental patterns is important for another reason. It suggests that some linguistic features (particularly grammatical ones) are inherently easier to learn than others. For example, the fact that learners master plural -s before third person -s suggests that plural -s is in some sense easier to learn."
End quote.
But does it though? I've heard it suggested that the reason that learners acquire the 3rd person -s so late is not because it is difficult, but because it is unnecessary for communication. The 3rd person -s contributes absolutely nothing to meaning. Because human attention is limited, during free production attention is usually needed elsewhere, to attend to the features of language that actually carry meaning. Only once all these other features of language have been automatized is there spare attention for meaningless grammatical features like the 3rd person singular s. (At least according to one theory.)
But what is your experience in the classroom? Do learners find the concept of the 3rd person -s difficult? Or do they find the concept easy to understand in theory, but just have trouble remembering to use it in free production?

Day 9
p. 26
Something related which I picked up from this article here:
Riddle, R. (1986). The meaning and discourse function of the past tense in English. TESOL Quarterly, 20 (2), 267-286.
Native English speakers have a preference for putting all of their verbs into the past tense when narrating a past event, even if it refers to something that is still true now. (For example: The mountain was so big).
This is something that learners often get confused about.
Riddle argues that the past tense is often taught in ESL as having a completive sense. That is, learners perceive (or are taught) that the past tense is used for situations that once were true, but are no longer true at the time of speech. This is in conflict with the native speaker preference for using the past tense to indicate something that was true in the past, and may or may not still be true in present.
This results in learners not using the past tense markers as consistently as a native speaker would.
I feel like I definitely have noticed this in my higher level classes (IELTS, etc). Has anyone else noticed it?

XXXX Commented:

Noticed this exact thing with my S4As recently. They were tasked with writing a 3 day journal about a wilderness adventure, and many students would mix past and present tense in such a way, but I wasn't able to express why it was incorrect in the time allotted for error correction. Seems this issue could deserve its own lesson.

Day 10
p.33-34
Rod Ellis talks about the difference between competence and performance.
If I'm not mistaken, the terms "competence" and "performance" come from Chomsky, and were originally used for studying L1 to express the difference between what a native-speaker actually knows and what they say.
For example, a native speakers frequently make grammar mistakes when they are speaking, but this is just a performance issue. In their head, they know what the correct grammar is, but they just make slips of the tongue when speaking in real time.
Remembering this, it made me think that this was yet another problem with analyzing learner mistakes. Native speakers also make lots of mistakes in production.

XXXX Commented
.. which brings us to the old question, "If a native speaker would say this, is it a mistake?" There's many reasons to believe that the answer is no. You see, technically, "there's many" definitely is a mistake, but the singular form of "be" didn't end up in that sentence purely by chance—it's just easier, especially in rapid speech, to produce "there's" than "there are". So, is it grammatical? No. Is it a mistake? Well, I suppose, that depends on what you believe about native speakers and mistakes. (Which might or might not be related to what you guys are discussing.)

XXXX Commented
Indeed, in a recent Business English class, I had students do a short phone call role play without any scripting, then had them write down the conversation they just had as best as they could remember. I caught quite a few mistakes in their spoken conversations while monitoring that never made it into their then transcribed speech.
Or like XXXX just said, sometimes we sacrifice grammar, perhaps to economize our speech, not because we don't know better, but due to the ease of saying something alternative.
Ellis mentions in the book that speaking can improve when students have had a chance to rehearse, transcribe, and correct their errors beforehand. Perhaps, then, it is our methodology regarding speaking tests and the like that needs to change. 
I replied:

My sister studied linguistics in university, and the faculty there explicitly taught her that anything a native speaker said was grammatically accurate by definition. This was intended to be in response to the old type of prescriptive grammar, where some grammarians sitting in an ivory tower somewhere got to decide what was grammatically correct for everyone else.
However...
I think "whatever a native speaker says is correct" is intended to refer to what native speakers mean to say. This is why Chomsky came up with the idea of competence versus performance. Native speakers all have a perfect mental representation of their grammar in their brains, but they make all sorts of slips of the tongue and spoonerisms because of the pressures of real time production. I know I do this all the time myself--mispronouncing words, saying the wrong words, etc. Like the famous George W. Bush quote: "Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning." 

XXXX replied:

I think an important factor to consider in the last example would be whether he self-corrected immediately after saying that, or wanted to but thought it best to pretend that nothing had happened (possibly because he thought that that kind of self-correction would be inelegant in a speech). So, as I understand, Chomsky would say that W.'s performance wasn't stellar, but his competence was, perhaps, alright. 
( Of course, there are dialects of English where a sentence like that wouldn't be considered incorrect at all: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachian_English#Conjugation_of_the_verb_.22to_be.22

I replied:

 Yes, agreed, there are many different dialects. Competence relates to whatever a native speaker considers acceptable in their own dialect.
Competence is difficult to test objectively, because it relates to what a speaker knows and not what a speaker says. (Which is one of the criticisms that Chomsky's critics make). But yes, you are right, according to the competence/performance paradigm, the key issue would be not what Bush actually said, but what was going on in his head. If he realized it was a mistake--either at the time of speaking or later when someone brought it to his attention--then it's a performance issue. If he never realized it was a mistake, then it is a competence issue 
PS--The Nixon transcripts are great examples of this. See here
Day 11
p.38
Okay, so I think I've discovered an error in this book. Maybe.
On page 38, Rod Ellis says: "Japanese learners find it difficult to learn the sound /z/ as in "zoo" and "churches"...
Anyone else ever spend time in Japan? I spent 8 years there, and I'm pretty sure Japanese people don't have problems with the /z/ sound. In fact, the /z/ sound occurs in the Japanese language, so why would they have a problem with it in English?
So, I went to the back of the book to check Rod Ellis's references. Apparently this comes from:
L:. Dickerson "The learner's interlanguage as a system of variable rules" in TESOL Quarterly 9, 1975, pages 401-407.
I googled the original article. I can't find it online. But I found other articles which referenced it. Example:
http://web.uri.edu/iaics/files/01-Robert-Bayley.pdf
And it looks like the original article Dickerson wrote wasn't about the /z/ sound at all, but about the /r/ sound. (Which Japanese speakers definitely have a problem with). So I think Rod Ellis mixed things up when he said the study was about the /z/ sound.
Or did I mix things up? Let me know if I missed something.

XXXX Commented
Didn't spend enough time there to notice something like this, of course. Some quick googling tells me that 'z' only shows up in the beginning and middle of japanese words, and that if at the beginning it is always proceeded by a 'd' sound, but nothing indicates that they have difficulty learning this. Maybe the author made a mistake. Or maybe he watched too much "Godjira" and made an assumption, ha.
 I replied:

 XXXX, I'm not sure what your source is. It is true that the /z/ sound never shows up at the end of words. But then that's normal for Japanese. They have weird phonotactics over there--consonants can never end a word, except for nasal consonants (n, m).
I've never heard that if it is at the beginning, it must be proceeded by a "d" sound. In fact I can think of several Japanese words that start with a /z/ sound. And besides, according to Japanese phonotatics you couldn't have consonant clusters anyway without vowels in between. So I think your source is in error.
XXXX replied:

Japanese does have this consonant but once more, it is not specifically uttered in the same way. First and foremost, the sound /z/ in Japanese never occurs at the end of the word and thus it is always substituted for the consonant /s/. When it does occur either in the beginning or middle of the word, it is preceded by a consonant similar or identical to /d/, which means that the tip of the tongue makes contact with the teeth prior to releasing the restricted air of the English /z/." -englishspeaklikenative.com
perhaps an untrustworthy site

I Replied:

 Interesting. It's definitely not spelled that way in Japanese words.  And this was never taught to me in any of my Japanese textbooks or Japanese classes.   But now that I think about it, perhaps there is a slight alveolar tap prior to sliding into a /z/ sound in Japanese? 

Day 12

p.38
Putting aside whether or not Rod Ellis mixed up his example phoneme here, I feel like he's not wrong in on the main point. Although maybe this is common sense, and not so overwhelming?
To quote from page 38:
"One study found Japanese learners produced /z/ most accurately when reading isolated words and least accurately in free speech. They produced it at a level between these two when reading a dialogue."
I feel like in Vietnam, the equivalent to this might be the /s/ at the end of words.
In my classes, I've been finding that often students can produce /s/ accurately when reading sentences, but will often drop it in free production.
Does that match up with what everyone else has been finding in their classes?

Day 13

p.39
Rod Ellis talks about accommodation theory, and convergence and divergence.
The definitions he gives of convergence and divergence are a bit short and confusing, so I thought I'd supplement it with the definitions from The Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching & Applied Linguistics.
They define divergence as:
a type of accommodation. This involves emphasizing speech and non-verbal differences between the speaker and other interlocutors. For example, a person may exaggerate their rural accent because they are annoyed by the attitude of someone from the city.
And convergence as:
a type of accommodation. This is a strategy in which people adapt to each other's speech by adjusting such things as speech rate, pauses, length of utterance, and pronunciation For example, a teacher may use simpler words and sentence structures when he/she is talking to a class of young children.
I may be overgeneralizing, but in my mind I've applied this theory of convergence to explain why we English teachers often find ourselves subconsciously adjusting our speech to match that of our students. I think this is why we often find ourselves, often without even meaning to, mimicking some of the grammar mistakes of our students when we speak to them.

Day 14

p.43-44
I forget where I heard this, but I heard somewhere that responding to compliments is one of the trickiest aspects of sociolinguistics.
On the one hand, you don't want to be seen as vain by accepting the compliment.
But on the other hand, you don't want to be seen as disagreeable by arguing with the person who gave you the compliment.
These two things are in conflict, and different cultures will prioritize one or the other.
For example in Japanese, the priority is to appear humble, and so you have to strenuously disagree with any compliment that you get.
Whereas in English, the priority is to appear agreeable, and so you usually politely thank the speaker for any compliment you get.
...Or at least that's what I picked up from somewhere. Does that ring true to everyone else?
Rod Ellis, on pages 43-44, says that Americans usually downplay the compliment, which is true I think. We do try to downplay it, but we don't do it as strenuously as some other cultures.
Interesting that in his section, Rod Ellis (a Brit) specifically specifies American English when talking about compliments. The implication seems to be it's not universal for all native English speakers, and that possibly a Brit would react differently?

Day 15

As luck would have it, Chomsky's Poverty of the Stimulus theory (something Rod Ellis talks about on page 66-67) has been getting a lot of discussion online the past few days. Or at least it has in my corner of the Internet, on the various blogs I follow.
Our old friend Scott Thornbury writes a rather critical apppraisal of Chomsky's theory on his blog:
https://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/p-is-for-poverty-of-the-stimulus/
Yesterday, Geoff Jordan wrote a response in which he criticized Scott Thornbury's criticism of Chomsky:
https://criticalelt.wordpress.com/2017/05/04/treatise-on-thornburys-view-of-sla-with-apologies-to-wittgenstein/
(Geoff Jordan is an interesting guy. I found out about him via the TEFLology podcast, and I found out about the TEFLology podcast via the great XXXX. But Geoff Jordan's blog always makes for interesting reading. He writes a lot of angry posts directed at other people in TEFL. If you love TEFL drama, you should subscribe to this blog.)
And just today, Fredrik deBoer wrote about the Poverty of the Stimulus in relation to the Nicaraguan Sign Language:
https://fredrikdeboer.com/2017/05/04/study-of-the-week-nicaraguan-sign-language-and-the-speaking-animal/
Fredrik deBoer is another really interesting guy. His blog is split between political rants and linguistics, but I always find his writing interesting.
The example of Nicaraguan Sign Language that Fredrik deBoer uses was also used in by Steven Pinker in his book "The Language Instinct" . Steven Pinker also uses the example of Nicaraguan Sing Language as support for Chomsky's theories on the Poverty of the Stimulus.

Day 16

p.63--the matrix clause
So, how's everyone finding the readability of this book?
My own opinion has been changing as I read it. Initially I thought it would be dense and hard to unpack (based on my previous experience with Rod Ellis). Then I was pleasantly surprised to find that the early chapters read quite easily. But now as I'm working through the book, I'm finding that chapter 7 is actually quite dense and hard to unpack.
There are a number of things I thought that weren't explained well in chapter 7, but I'll start at the beginning, when Rod Ellis talks about a matrix clause.
What is a matrix clause? I had never heard of it before? Anyone else?
Anyway, I Googled it, and found a couple different websites, which gave me contradictory information.
https://www.thoughtco.com/matrix-clause-grammar-1691371
and
http://www.glottopedia.org/index.php/Matrix_clause
Neither of these definitions seemed to match the example Rod Ellis gave on page 63:
The police have caught the man who bombed the hotel.

Rod Ellis uses this as an example of a relative clause coming at the end of the matrix clause, so presumably the matrix clause isn't the relative clause "who bombed the hotel". So what is the matrix clause here?

Day 17

Chapter 9 Instruction and L2 Acquisition
So, it appears once again I spoke too soon. In a previous post, I said: "But in this case, I thought it was interesting that Rod Ellis briefly mentioned the on page 22 the reasons why some researchers are skeptical of a universal natural order"
But it looks like Rod Ellis was just raising those objections in order to respond to them later in the book, because in Chapter 9 he seems to come down pretty heavily on the natural order.
The message I got was that there is definitely a natural order, and you can't get around it, and if you try to teach these grammatical sequences out of the natural order, you're just wasting your time, because your students won't be able to learn them.
As I've mentioned before in previous book discussions, this is potentially a problem for us, because the English World series does not follow the natural order at all.
But, something I picked up from another Rod Ellis book, SLA Research and Language Teaching, is that the order of acquisition applies only to free production. So you can still teach the students to comprehend the grammar, even if they aren't ready to produce it yet.
And then, hopefully, this will help the students to notice the grammar structure in any future input they will receive. Which will help this input become uptake. Which will help them someday acquire that grammar point when they are developmentally ready.
So there is still hope.
But it is a problem for the P-P-P style lessons, which assume that you can isolate any grammar point you like and then get the students to use it in free production at the end of a 90 minute lesson.

Day 18
Section 2
I'm finding the readings interesting, although I wish I had read these with the chapters they go with, instead of afterwards. I'm having recontextualizing myself to remember what they're talking about.
On the plus side, these discussion questions at the end of each reading will be great for our discussion Wednesday

Day 19
p.94
I found the discussion of the difference between errors and mistakes interesting.
(Obviously this relates to the discussion in a previous post about the difference between competence and performance)
Obviously a teacher should respond differently to an error than to a mistake, but, as Ellis and Corder acknowledge on page 94, this is difficult to do.
Here is my experience though:
I've gotten into the habit of over-correcting my adult students, simply because Vietnamese students like to be over-corrected. This works well at the lower-levels, when they seem to appreciate this intensive feedback.
I've noticed at the higher levels (ie IELTS 3) when I try to do corrective feedback it's not always appreciated. Even when I try to do unobtrusive delayed correction, I often find the students rolling their eyes and saying something like "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, I know, I just made a mistake."

Google Slides
And below is a Google Slides Presentation I made for the Book club discussion: slides, pub



Video Review
Video review here and embedded below.




Link of the Day
Noam Chomsky Glenn Greenwald with Liberty and Justice For Some

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