Mistakes The aim of this essay is to analyse the close relationship between some common mistakes made by students of English and the principles studied in class. I will include not only my fourth form students’ mistakes but also my private students’ ones and my one ones.
1. Principle: The Native Language Effect. More than once, we are involved in situations in which we sort of translate phrases from our native language to the English one. Although this may be useful in specific cases, we must bear in mind that the mother tongue may sometimes produce a negative interference on the target language. For instance, our students may say *Is raining instead of It is raining. This has to do with the grammatical IT which occupied the slot of subject when the ...view middle of the document...
2. Principle: Communicative Competence. Last week, while revising the Past Simple with my students, I asked them to provide sentences orally using this tense according to what they had done the previous week. One of them said I went to the beach on Tuesday morning. At first, I congratulated him on the sentence but some seconds later I thought about what he had just said. It was impossible for him to have done what he had just said. When I asked him, sort of joking, how he could have gone to the beach if he was at school at that time, he answered that the sentences was not true but that was not supposed to be a problem because it was grammatically correct. Immediately, I remember about this principle and the difference between use and usage. I explained to him that regarding form, the sentence was perfect, but it did not belong to an authentic context. Fortunately, through the sentences this student provided, we all had a discussion on the purpose of learning a second language. We all agreed that there is no sense in knowing English and its rules if we are not able to apply it in our real life. I think that having this sort of debates with students is very useful, as well as paying attention to grammar without forgetting about sociolinguistic and functional components, among others and giving students the opportunity to gain fluency trying not to stop them each time they make a mistake. After all, what we want to achieve when learning a second language is the ability to communicate and convey our message.