Spoken Error Correction as Perceived by Indonesian EFL Learners in Speaking Class
As part of an FL learning and teaching process, error corrections often exist in the instructional setting, particularly in speaking classes. Despite the fact that effectiveness of error corrections is far from clear, it is worth noting that in FL settings, particularly in speaking classes, error corrections are usually provided by the teachers (Ur, 1996:247). This is understandable based on the fact that one of the functions of the teachers is correcting the learner errors. However, it is worth considering that teachers should be careful when providing spoken error corrections. This is because if they fail to manage spoken error corrections carefully, the effect could be harmful to learning. The study intends to obtain an in-depth understanding of spoken error corrections from the students’ perspective.
The study meets the characteristics of qualitative research focusing on spoken error corrections which exist naturally in speaking classes and using the researcher as the key instrument of the study. The subjects of the study are nine Indonesian university students majoring in English. They are interviewed one by one from the first to the ninth subject applying a snowball sampling technique. The interview, which is in Indonesian, consists of three phases of interviews focusing on different points, and the results of each interview is transcribed to be analyzed. The data of the study are analyzed on the basis of the procedures suggested by Miles and Huberman (1994) which consist of the concurrent flow of activities: data reduction, data display, and conclusion drawing.
The results of the study suggest some important notions related to error corrections in speaking classes. First of all, it is not advisable to interrupt FL learners in mid-talking. This means that spoken error corrections should be provided after the learners have talked in their TL. It is found that if spoken error corrections are provided in mid-talking, they will destroy the flow of communication. Moreover, if the learners are interrupted in mid talking, error corrections will offend their feelings and the learners cannot focus on what they are going to say. Eventually the learners might lose their willingness to try speaking the language they are learning.
When focusing on which spoken errors should be prioritized for corrections in speaking classes, the findings reveal that mispronunciation, grammatical errors, and errors in vocabulary are important to be considered when the learners are speaking in the TL. Among the three, mispronunciation is considered the most essential errors to be taken into account. This is due to the fact that in oral communication mispronunciation could result in misinterpretation or misunderstanding. Grammatical errors and errors in vocabulary are not considered as important as mispronunciation in speaking.
In relation to the method of correcting errors in speaking classes, the results suggest that spoken error corrections should be provided in such a way that they do not confuse the learners. Providing the right answers is the method of spoken error corrections that the learners like best. In this case, the teachers or classmates correct the learners by giving the right answers of the utterances that the teachers consider wrong. The subjects found this method not upsetting. Other findings reveal that teachers and classmates are the appropriate persons for providing spoken error corrections. Teachers are considered more appropriate compared to other learners due to the fact that they are more experienced. It is believed that teachers are more proficient in the TL compared with the learners. This is why they are expected to be able to provide error corrections in speaking classes. This is understandable because in teaching a FL, teachers are considered having a superior position which is manifested through the error corrections provided (Bartram and Walton. 1999:8).
Keywords: errors, error corrections, spoken error corrections, speaking classes