Consciousness-raising, Error Correction and Proofreading

Main Article Content

Josephine O'Brien


The article sets out to explore the impact of developing a consciousness-raising approach in error correction at the sentence level in order to improve students’ proofreading ability at the level of text. Learners of English in a foreign language environment frequently fall into a reliance on translation as a composing tool and while this may act as a scaffold and provide some support with some utterances, it frequently leads to predictable and persistent errors. Such fossilization leads to on-going inaccuracies that detract from student composition and that require focused instruction and repeated practice in order to eradicate the errors. The current paper reports on an experiment in consciousness-raising about specific categories of errors with a group of 30 trainees teachers in Zayed University, Dubai during the spring semester 2014. Results on post-tests compared with scores on the pre test indicate a significant improvement in students’ performance as a result of focused instruction. 


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
O’Brien, J. (2015). Consciousness-raising, Error Correction and Proofreading. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 15(3), 85–103.


Canale, M., & Swain, M. (1980). Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics. 1(1), 1 – 47.

Celce-Murcia, M. (2011) Teaching English as a second or foreign language. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Cook, V. (2013). Second language learning and second language teaching. (4th edition). New York: Routledge.

Corder, S. P (1967). The significance of learners’ errors. International Review of Applied Linguistics, 5, 161 – 169.

Coulmas, F. (2003). Writing Systems: An introduction to their linguistic analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Crompton, P. (2011). Article errors in the English writing of advanced L1 Arabic learners: The role of transfer. Asian EFL Journal. 50 (February 11), 4-32.

Debboune, Z., & Tebib, D. (2010). Notes from the effectiveness of proofreading in minimizing mistakes in students’ writing: The case of third year students. Algeria: University of Constantine.

Ellis, R. (1994). The study of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ellis, R. (2002). The place of grammar instruction in the second/foreign language curriculum. In E. Hinkel & S. Fotos (Eds.), New perspectives on grammar teaching in the second language classroom (pp. 17-34). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Ellis, R (2002). Methodological options in grammar teaching materials. In E. Hinkel & S. Fotos (Eds.), New perspectives on grammar teaching in second language classrooms (pp.155-179). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Farghal, M., & al-Zoubi,I. (2004). The Qur’anic definite article in translation: The case of citing animals. In. R. Elhamy, H. Mansour & J.R. Aydelott (Eds.), Contrastive rhetoric: Issues, insights and pedagogy (pp. 61-68). Cairo: American University Press.

Khodabandeh, F. (2007). Analysis of students’ errors: the case of headlines. The Asian ESP Journal, 3(1), 6 – 15.

Foss, S.K., & Waters, W. (2007) Destination dissertation: A traveler's guide to a done dissertation. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.

Fry, R. (2002). Last minute term papers. New Jersey: Career Press.

Galko, F. D. (2001). Better writing right now: Using words to your advantage. New York: Learning Express.

Gass, S. Behney, J., & Plonsky, L. Second language acquisition: An introductory course. New York: Routledge.

Grenville, K. (2001). Writing from start to finish: A six-step guide. New South Wales: Allen & Unwin.

Hacker, D. (2002). The Bedford handbook. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.

Hamlin, C. (2011). The writing process: Step-by-step approach curbs plagiarism, helps students build confidence in their writing ability. Faculty Focus. Retrieved 30 May 2014, from

Heaton, J.B. (1979). Writing English language tests. London: Longman.

Hinkel, E. (2004). Teaching academic ESL writing. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

Hinkel, E., & Fotos, S. (2002). New Perspectives on grammar teaching in second language classrooms. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates.

James, C. (1969). Deeper contrastive study. International Review of Applied Linguistics, 7 (2), 83-95.

Krashen, S. (1981). Second language acquisition and second language learning. California: Pergamon Press.

Kharma, N. (1981). Analysis of the errors committed by Arab university students in the use of English definite-indefinite articles. International Review of Applied Linguistics, 19(4), 331-345.

Kharma, N., & Hajjaj, A. (1997). Errors in English among Arabic speakers: Analysis and remedy. Beirut: York Press Librairie du Liban.

O’Brien, J. (2010). Tense and aspect in the interlanguage of Gulf Arab learners. Saarbrucken: Verlag.

O’Brien, J. (2011). Teaching English to Arab learners: A case for a pedagogical grammar. In C. Gitsaki (Ed), Teaching and learning in the Arab World (pp.442-461). Berne: Peter Lang.

Pagel, L.G., & Nostrom, B. (2010). Proofreading & editing precision (6th edition, pp. 442-461). Ohio: Cengage Learning.

Lightbown, P.M. & Spada, N. (2006). How languages are learned (3rd ed.). Oxford: OUP.

Raimes, A. (1985) Techniques in teaching writing. Oxford: OUP.

Rutherford, W., & Sharwood-Smith, M. (1985). Consciousness – raising and universal grammar. Applied Linguistics, 6(3), 274 – 282.

Schmidt, R.W. (1990). The role of consciousness in second language learning. Applied Linguistics, 11(2), 129 – 159.

Selinker, L. (1972). Interlanguage. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 10(3), 209-234.

Sharwood Smith, M. (1981). Consciousness raising and the second language learner. Applied Linguistics, 2(2), 159 – 168.

Smith, D.A., & Sutton, H.R. (1994). Powerful proofreading skills tips, techniques and tactics. Canada: Crisplearning.

Suzuki, R. (2007). Designing consciousness-raising tasks for and Economics English course. The Asian ESP Journal, 3(1), 22-36.

Swan, M. (1994). Design criteria for pedagogic and language rules. In M. Bygate, A. Tonkyn, & A. Williams (Eds.), Grammar and the language teacher. Tokyo: Prentice Hall.

Umale, J. (2011). The effect of consciousness raising on errors in L2 question formation: An investigation of Omani students. Arab World English Journal, 2(4), 88-135.

Van Patten, B. (1990). Attending to form and content in the input. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 12, 287-301.

Vygotsky, L. (1978). Interaction between learning and development. Mind and Society. Cambridge, M.A.: Harvard University Press.