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Teacher’s Belief about Error Correction on Teaching Speaking and Their Practices

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This study aimed to know teachers’ belief about error correction on teaching speaking and to see their actual classroom practices of error correction on speaking with regard to their belief. There were four experienced and two novice teachers as the subjects, in which every teacher observed in four meetings from two different classes. The design of this study was qualitative case study using triangulation as the technique of collecting data. An interview, documentation, and observation were the triangulation ways that applied in this study. Teacher’s belief about error correction on speaking was assessed through a questionnaire and an interview, while observation and documentation were used to know the classroom practices. The study indicated that some beliefs about error correction were reflected in practice and other beliefs were not. The purpose of checking teacher’s beliefs and classroom practices are not to say the best practices teacher but it was one of the ways to make teachers more aware to their beliefs and really apply their ideal beliefs in their classroom.

Keywords: teachers’ belief, error correction, speaking, classroom practice

One of the most difficult aspects for students to master is speaking. This activity involves establishing ideas what to say, language how to say due to grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. That is why it is not surprising at all if students make errors in the classroom speaking activities. Their errors can be various like pronunciation, vocabulary or grammar, whether the errors causes misunderstanding or not.

Many researches discussed error correction on teaching writing, and from those researches can be concluded that sometimes error correction will give positive and negative impact on the students’ skill. This research explored the suitability of beliefs and classroom practices from 4 experienced (over five years’ experi_ence) teachers and two novice (under five years’ experience) teachers regard to error correction on teaching speaking and their practice in three senior high schools at one of Islamic boarding school in Pasuruan, those are SMK Billingual Al-yasini, MAN 2 Pasuruan and SMA Excellent Al-yasini.

All teachers have beliefs about teaching and learning processes. Teacher beliefs represent their ideologies, personal values and individual philosophies in teaching some skills in language teaching and learning. Michella Borg defines a belief as, ‘a proposition which may be consciously or unconsciously held, is evaluative in that it is accepted as true by the individual, and is therefore imbued with emotive commitment. (2001, p. 186). It can be simplified that belief as a guidance to the teachers’ thought and behavior.

Studies on teacher’s beliefs have shown that teacher beliefs can give a great impact on instructional decisions. However, language teachers’ beliefs do not always suitable with their classroom practices. Many teachers are not aware of their beliefs and confuse to what extent their beliefs are reflected actually.

Theoretically, teachers are expected to help his or her students develop and improve their language proficiency. One of his or her responsibilities is to give correction and prepare positive feedback on the students’ errors. Based on the writer’s experience, students usually expected correction for almost any error they made. The survey conducted by Ancker (2000, p. 22) reveals similar findings. Most students expect their teacher to correct every error they make, and their reason is the importance of learning to speak English correctly. In the ocontrary, most teachers have a contrastive point of view. They do not think that it is necessary to correct every error students make because it may give a bad or negative impact on the students’ confidence and motivation.

Referring to the whole discussion above, the researcher wanted to dig more deeply relate to the teacher’s belief about error correction on teaching speaking and their practice. For the first, the researcher collected and identified the teacher’s belief about error correction on teaching speaking from 4 experienced and two novice teachers in SMK Bilingual Al-yasini, SMA Excellent, and MAN 2 Pasuruan. Then, she observes their classes to check their classroom practices related to the practice of error correction on teaching speaking. The last, the researcher figured out the suitability of teacher’s belief and classroom practices about error correction on teaching speaking.



The research instrument for this study was an interview, questionnaire, observation and document analysis. Ary et al. (2010, p. 441) stated, “interview is one of the most extensive used way and basic methods for obtaining qualitative data. Interviews are used to gather data from people about opinions, beliefs, and feelings about situations in their own words”. Moreover, the interview is an appropriate method for collecting data in getting others’ opinion and interpret it by own words.

This study used an interview and questionnaire to know teachers’ belief about error correction on speaking, and also additional information in order to get the data more deeply. Moreover, in order to strengthen the data, researchers also used observation and documentation to know the classroom practices with regard to their beliefs and their practices.


Four experienced and two novice English teachers from three Senior High Schools were involved in this study. Two teachers were from SMK Kesehatan Al-yasini, three teachers from MAN Pasuruan and a teacher from SMA Excellent Al-yasini.


Based on the data analysis, there were fifteen (15) statements related to the teachers’ belief on teaching speaking that usually used in their speaking classes exactly in the first and second class of SMK Bilingual Al-yasin, SMA Excellent Al-yasini, and MAN 2 Pasuruan in the academic year of 2017/2018. The statements consisted of used a various of error correction techniques, provided correct answer with explanation, used a special facial expression or body language to indicate an error had occurred, corrected errors out of the topic’s discussion of the lesson, pointed out the error and asked students to explain the problem, repeated error with different intonation to signal error location, by asking a yes-no question to sign the error, different students need different ways for error correction, error correction should be given after speaking activities, students should not be distrubed in the middle of speaking for having error correction, error correction is not shaming, left error uncorrected, pointed out the error without giving the correct version, teacher-correction is more effective and the last statement is self-correction is the best.

Table 1 outlined a summary of four experienced and two novice teachers’ belief statements about error correction on speaking in their particular classes as collected from the questionnaire and spoken from the interviews. Findings are discussed based on the statements categories in the Table.

The teachers’ stated beliefs, indicates that all teachers used various of error correction techniques, those were repeating an error word or sentences with different intonation to signal error location, by asking a yes-no question to sign the error and also using a facial expression or body language to signal the error. Septi, Toetik, and Masruroh did not correct errors out of the topic’s discussion of the lesson, according to them it would spend much time and make their students not focus on the certain topic at that time. Liswati, Rokhani, and Mutmainnah corrected all errors out of the topic’s discussion of the lesson, according to them it would not spend much time and make their students more aware of their errors.

Every student has their own characteristics for responding error correction from their teachers. Sometimes they will be more confident after getting some corrections, and others would not have the same feeling, they will be shy to practice their English in speaking after getting some corrections from their teachers, so all of them really agree that different students need different ways for their error correction.

For two novice teachers (mutmainnah and masuroh) believed that error correction should occur in the middle of a communicative speaking activity. According to them correcting the students’ error is very crucial. Students would remember if they have ever got some correction to the errors they made, so she needed to check every their errors. Actually, the students already had the answer for their errors according to them. The teacher must prepare many techniques to make them realize that they had made an error and would not repeat the same errors. Whereas experienced teachers said that the communication’s flow should not be disturbed in the middle of speaking activity in order to get accuracy, error correction should occur after they finish their speaking activities.

Most of them believed that both self-correction and teacher-correction were effective in correcting students’ error. They mixed them in her speaking class, but one of them preferred to use self-correction in her class. She always tried to guide her students to do error correction by themselves, but Toetik believed that teacher-correction was more effective than self-correction. Most of her students did not approve self-correction in their class. Sometimes she asked her students to give some corrections to their friends’ error.

The point of reflecting teacher’s beliefs and classroom practices are not to say or suggest that their method of teaching is better than any other. Exploring language teachers’ beliefs and corresponding classroom practices can clarify how teachers really implement their beliefs in teaching and learning processes all the time.Table 2 outlines a summary of the teachers’ observed classroom practices. In this occasion the researcher only sits in their class without giving any intervention to the teaching and learning processes. From this table can be concluded that in this study, some beliefs are reflected in their classroom practice and other beliefs were not. Ideal, peripheral and contradictory beliefs sometimes are not reflected in teachers’ teaching practice. Ideal beliefs are the beliefs that are very difficult and need the struggle to implement for all teachers in the specific context of teaching. Peripheral beliefs are the beliefs, which are not emphasized by teachers in the interviews. Contradictory beliefs are another source of tension between beliefs and practices. Turner et al. (2009) mentioned that contradictions in beliefs could be the result of the institutional or political pressure on teachers. They did not realize that sometimes what they practiced in the class do not reflect their beliefs on practicing error correction in their speaking activities. Dealing with the first research finding, all experienced and novice teachers from SMK Bilingual Al-yasini, SMA Excellent Al-yasini, and MAN 2 Pasuruan in the academic year of 2017/2018 have various beliefs about error correction on speaking. Teachers seem to make corrections to improve learners’ accuracy during speaking, give grammar knowledge, vocabulary used and pronunciation skills correctly and appropriately.

They believe that error correction may give good impact to their student’s habit, to practice self-correction in speaking activities. The study summarizes that teacher focus on repetitious errors made by learners. What is more, they believe that they should concentrate on the errors that really break and change the meaning while speaking. Teachers consider that pronunciation, vocabulary and grammatical errors need to be corrected in the middle of speaking activities. Last, of all, the teachers seem to use various strategies to correct errors such as explicit and direct correction, repetitions, giving clues to learners, implicit and indirect corrections, and discussion of the errors with the whole class, asking questions to make a correction, classification, and explanation of the errors and guiding learners to self-correction or peer-correction.

Regarding the almost exclusive use of facial expression, it is the best way of having error correction according to the teachers. In interviews, they express that it is important to have a variety of techniques because different students have different learning styles which need different ways of correcting their errors. They felt that each student could gain from that particular method. Alternatively, as Farrell and Lim (2005) have said, there can be a discrepancy between what teachers think they do in their classroom and what they actually do.

Most teachers are not sure, know and realize of their beliefs about error correction on teaching speaking. No differences found from experienced and novice teachers in this context. They are in the stage of forming their beliefs and this study is the first time for them that ask to verbalize their beliefs in their speaking classes.

In addition,Senior (2006) has noted that experienced and novice teacher often not able to practice their articulated beliefa because their beliefs are forever changing. They try to adjust their beliefs with the condition and situation of their class and students at that time Gatbonton (2008 argued that novice teachers’ beliefs are likely to be stiff, because they had fewer opportunities in practicing their beliefs. Although this is not always true for all novice teachers, it can be possible for them, they are still negotiating their beliefs about how to do error correction on teaching speaking. Alternatively, Farrell’s (1999) in his study shown that reflection encouraged teachers to be more flexible or not rigid by respecting to their beliefs in a particular method, approach, or technique for error correction.

Conclusion and Suggestion

This case study investigated teachers’ beliefs about error correction on speaking and classroom practices of two novices and four experienced teachers in SMK bilingual Al-yasini, SMA Excellent Al-yasini and MAN 2 Pasuruan. The findings indicate even the experienced teacher’s classroom practices are more clearly related to their beliefs, there are instances where their beliefs are not suitable with their practice, and the unsuitability may be normal as teachers react to the natural flow of the development of the lesson where the teacher try to adjust the realities of the classroom and their students.

In this study, some beliefs were reflected in practice and other beliefs were not. In an interview, they say that sometimes they do not realize what they have practiced in their class. Practicing what they believe about error correction is quite difficult for them. Many surprising or new thing can be met in their classes, and of course, they feel that their beliefs sometimes are not appropriate for every condition.

Although this case study is only from six teachers and of course may have limitations to the results that can be generalized, and the findings indicate that both teachers showed instances of suitable and unsuitable of their beliefs are not always clear to differenciate or distinguish, nevertheless, the case study shows that English language teachers need to be challenged to reflect on their articulating beliefs to their classroom practices and to ask their selves what they really know and not simply what they intuitively feel’ (Johnson 1994, P. 439).

Some practical recommendations regarding the conclusions reached in the study can be noted. In the broadest sense, teacher training programs’ curricula of should include the topics to raise teacher’s awareness of this issue such as the reasons to do error corrections, situations that require corrections, error types and correction strategies. In other words, training in what, why and how errors should be corrected is needed and very necessary for them. In the scope of the findings reached in the research, first, teachers should be instructed about why learners make errors. Second, teachers should be told about the situations that should be used to correct students’ errors. For this purpose, teachers should give special attention whether an error distorts communication or not. Moreover, they should notice the level of errors and its types. Third, teachers should be trained in terms of error correction strategies such as making positive comments, how to use grades for corrections.

In addition, teachers should be told about the way to develop self-, peer- and group corrections among students. In conclusion, teachers should consider that errors are the natural parts of learning; thus, they should be gentle when they correct errors and try to minimize the negative impact of doing error correction.

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GradesFixer. (2019). Teacher’s Belief about Error Correction on Teaching Speaking and Their Practices. Retrived from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/teachers-belief-about-error-correction-on-teaching-speaking-and-their-practices/
GradesFixer. "Teacher’s Belief about Error Correction on Teaching Speaking and Their Practices." GradesFixer, 14 May. 2019, https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/teachers-belief-about-error-correction-on-teaching-speaking-and-their-practices/
GradesFixer, 2019. Teacher’s Belief about Error Correction on Teaching Speaking and Their Practices. [online] Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/teachers-belief-about-error-correction-on-teaching-speaking-and-their-practices/> [Accessed 8 August 2020].
GradesFixer. Teacher’s Belief about Error Correction on Teaching Speaking and Their Practices [Internet]. GradesFixer; 2019 [cited 2019 May 14]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/teachers-belief-about-error-correction-on-teaching-speaking-and-their-practices/
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