Are notebook entry corrections that helpful? How would you know? You don't speak the language natively, so just have to trust the correctors.
I've looked at corrections people have made in English and Chinese lately and unless you just want some homework checked before being handed it, I don't think they are that helpful sometimes.
People seem to just rewrite everything in their own words, often making unnecessary changes and/or adding unnecessary words. This is of course fine if making it sound more natural, but you should make it clear that is what you are doing. If it was fine before, say so, or else they will think what they had put was wrong.
Also, look at the words they used and show them how they could have used these words to convey their meaning with different examples.
I think entries need two types of corrections. You have people who make a lot of common mistakes (not making words plural, wrong word order, bad punctuation, etc.) and then those that just can't express themselves as a native speaker would.
The first group need their mistakes corrected before worrying about writing as a native speaker, so either just do the first step (and say they are the basic corrections) or do both steps (correct and then show a better alternative) or else they'll never learn how to stop these little mistakes.
Of course we all appreciate people taking their time to help others but that in itself isn't enough.
Corrections of incorrect corrections and acknowledgement of excellent corrections would be very helpful.
I suppose I could be a more useful member of this language learning community, if I were to spend more time making corrections of incorrect English grammar rather than becoming involved with the discussions of interesting but controversial topics which quickly get deleted on this site.
Steve, you're a rip!
The amount of time that both of us have spent chatting away just to get deleted most certainly could be used for better purposes.
In my own defense, I did check to make sure all the Spanish speakers had good corrections first thing before getting so distracted, but surely, I could have been much more useful lately correcting others from around the world instead of musing. Actually, cleaning the kitchen also would be a better use of my time. :)
I have been watching people correct others in Spanish and watching their ratings and seeing how they correct others to get a feel for how they express themselves in Spanish. I read their writing also, to get a sense of how well-educated they are in general. Because of that I will take certain people's corrections and suggestions very seriously.
A beginner won't be able to do those things but for a beginner having a native correct at all would have been a big help to me studying in the US with people who learned Spanish just a few years before I started! Ha.
When I do corrections for others I always try to leave it as close as possible to their original expression so as to avoid the confusion that you talk about. When I've noticed that someone has made a great deal of unnecessary changes I will add another correction without those changes so that they can think about it. I also will directly say that you can say it in both ways, it's a choice.
I think notebook entries are an awesome learning tool; that is, if you understand and take into consideration the possible pitfalls of course.
You have some very good points! I think this is a great thing to discuss Matt!
I found the ONE notebook I entered to be massively helpful in learning for me! I got a lot of different corrections which allowed me to think about the differences between corrections. The things that everyone changed I knew for certain were things that needed correcting. I could tell what things were someone's preferences and which were obvious grammar or usage blunders. I still go back and review that one entry to get every little bit of learning I can from it ... it was <em>that</em> helpful. Having people say things in different ways I think can be useful if you keep in mind what you have observed Matt, that some things are just going to be suggestions of other ways of expressing the same thing.
I had to do some googling and studying to understand why people made other suggestions which in itself was a great learning process. I asked a lot of questions why people made certain changes which helped me to learn more.
to be continued...
When a person is under no obligation to help another and chooses to do so anyway, it is up to them and them only to decide how much is “enough”. It’s simply how much time and effort they are willing to give at that moment in time. You can set your expectations as high as you like, it doesn’t mean they are going to be met.
I’m sorry, but I can’t buy into this idea of pointing the finger at everyone else to explain my own shortcomings. Thinking that “the only reason I keep repeating the same mistakes is because people aren’t correcting me properly”, seems absurd to me. It might be a clever way of protecting your self-esteem, but that’s all it does. It’s a victim’s mentality.
The fact of the matter is, if a person sets themself a goal it’s their responsibility to take the steps necessary in order to achieve it. Nobody else’s.
Learn to hold yourself accountable for your own progress.