Exploring learners' perspectives on oral error correction in a secondary school in Kenya

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Prof. Pauline Rea- Dickins

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Zeenat Sharif

Third Supervisor/Advisor

Prof. Richard Kelly


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Error correction has been a contentious issue in second language teaching for long. While some view it as a natural part of the second language learning process that facilitates learning, others view it as a source of feeling of anxiety, apprehension and nervousness that exert a potentially negative and detrimental effect on learning the target language. Despite this contention, error correction is an actuality of second language pedagogical practice in the school setting and is mainly influenced by teachers’ beliefs. At times these teacher beliefs come into conflict with learners’ perspectives. This mismatch can be detrimental to learning thus a need for firm understanding of learners’ perspectives. This study has therefore attempted to investigate the learners’ perspective on error correction. The study adopted a qualitative approach, and the research participants were two teachers of English and twenty nine students of form three. The study used qualitative data collection methods including observations, the qualitative semi-structured interview format, the focus group discussion technique, and the nominal group technique to investigate the issue. The findings of this study indicate that leaners prefer all their errors to be corrected by the teacher immediately following the ill-formed utterance rather than at the end of the lesson. Although the findings revealed that the learners prefer explicit correction, the use of metalinguistic feedback emerged as probably the most beneficial type of correction to the students. The pedagogical implications of these findings are discussed, top among them being that teachers should embrace correction strategies that provide students with clues for them to generate their own repair such as metalinguistic feedback while shunning strategies that simply give the student the correct answer.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library