May 24, 2008

fossilized grammar

I was reading Susan Gross' site the other day and read one of her articles - "Order of Acquisition." In it she talks about allowing the students to make mistakes, but to keep providing them with accurate input.

I can remember reading in some of my language acquisition classes, millenia ago, that if students are allowed to persist in an error, that error will fossilize. Susan's assertion is that the error will only fossilize if the input is not correct, or (I am assuming) if the input is not frequent and comprehensible. But that puts an amazing amount of pressure on me. As a non-native speaker who hasn't spoken beyond the level of middle school students in nearly a decade, I know my grammar is rusty. Even when I am speaking in the target language, and providing plenty of comprehensible input, I am risking allowing students to fossilize my mistakes!

The article is only four pages long and is an easy read. There was a lot in it! But this was one of those points that stuck with me probably because it taps into a fear of mine that I'm not a good enough teacher. I will post more on this article later.

On a side note, now that I'm documenting all my readings and thoughts here, I am noticing how much I really am reading professionally! I always thought I was a slacker. No wonder I haven't made it through Ben Slavic's book, TPRS in a Year, yet.

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