11. Error Engagement

13 05 2010

[Originally published in  ELT Chat  of  http://www.Free_esl.com]



Traditionally the teacher’s role had been that of a  judge – a critical evaluator of the finished product. The legendary red pen was employed profusely before returning the corrected product. In this activity, the teacher provides a collection of erroneous sentences to provoke interesting responses. The author believes that such an approach can reduce the negative impact of the red pen and make  learners communicate effectively with a better control of appropriate vocabulary.


Learner motivation can be created, generated and maintained using the following type of   sentences as resources. It’s a feasible solution for teachers who have a frustrating experience in terms of waning student motivation  during  writing  or  reading tasks.


Read the erroneous  sentences given below. Students in pairs, with the help of a good dictionary  should identify the exact meaning of the sentences:


* The  Germans surreptitiously dug a tunnel through a mole hill.

*The King fisher  collided with an aero plane.

*A swine swam  the English Channel

*The minister presented him with a Siamese swine.

*He is a great cook and fried flies are his specialty.

*Some simpletons believe that a steady diet of calf’s milk  increases virility.

* Henry loves eggs , so he ordered his cat to lay eggs.

*He hates cold bath so licks himself clean everyday.

*He is very courageous he is afraid of daylight.

A note on evaluation

* Obviously the kind of answers tend to vary depending on the way the learners comprehend the sentences. Credit should however be given for those who can justify why  a particular sentence is incorrect.




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