Making mistakes is good!

Abbie   Thursday, October 21, 2004, 15:19 GMT
I am in complete disagreement with Antimoon's philosophy of never making mistakes while learning a foreign language. Students learn from their mistakes, and should not be scared to produce the language for fear that they might say something incorrect. It is inevitable that mistakes will be uttered. Students should feel free to speak the language and not monitor every single word that they say, for it is detrimental to the process of learning to hamper their langauge production. It is unrealistic to assume that a language learner will not make mistakes, for even native speakers do so. I respectfully implore that Antimoon seriously examine their thoughts on this matter.
Damian   Thursday, October 21, 2004, 15:59 GMT
Is it true that making mistakes is good? I must try and make one someday..I'm willing to try anything once! ;-)
Steve K   Thursday, October 21, 2004, 16:19 GMT

I am in total agreement with you. This is one of the few points where I part company with the Antimoon philosophy.

I prefer not to correct learners when speaking, or at least to correct them very little. The purpose of language is communication. If the learner can be motivated to communicate in the new language, he/she has a chance to get somewhere. Before the learner has ingested a lot ot language input, there is no way he/she can produce accurately. When we speak a second language we will always make mistakes, but the mistakes become fewer and fewer.

It is in writing correction that I am ruthless. Writing is the QA section of language learning. That is why I always try to encourage learners to write as they speak and speak as they write, in simple and short sentences. No slang when speaking, and no convoluted language in writing. Only when they are very fluent can they afford to worry about slang or more flowery prose.
Easterner   Friday, October 22, 2004, 17:49 GMT
Maybe making an actual mistake is not very "good" because of the resulting embarrassment, but it is certainly instructive. Actually I've never understood how the people at Antimoon can claim you can avoid making mistakes completely. In language learning, especially at the initial phase, making mistakes is as inevitable as it is for a child learning to walk to stumble. They help you focus on your weak points, so once you open your mouth to speak in a foreign language for the first time, you're bound to make at least two or three mistakes in the first few sentences. However, most native speakers will tolerate mistakes in speech more than in writing. In this respect, I second what Steve has said.
Tom   Saturday, October 23, 2004, 00:21 GMT
You cannot make no mistakes, but you should try to.

I agree that before the learner has ingested a lot of language input, there is no way he/she can produce accurately. That is why he/she should not speak until he/she has ingested a lot of input.
Boy   Saturday, October 23, 2004, 02:56 GMT
How much input one needs to speak and write English well. Is there any limit? It seems to me that a feeding process of "alot of input" is endless. When I can tell my friends, hey, I'm now adept at the language.
Sanja   Saturday, October 23, 2004, 15:58 GMT
Making mistakes is natural, but repeating mistakes is bad.
lucky   Saturday, October 23, 2004, 17:03 GMT
making mistakes is helpful only when you can recognize it's mistake.