Alphabet Recognition Errors in Japanese JHS EFL Learners

In two classes of 9th grade junior high level EFL learners in a Japanese junior high school, we conducted an email lesson. We first asked students to send a test email with their name and a short greeting to another address that we had made specifically for our class (it’s now defunct). The address was:

saromaenglishholland@gmail.com

The variety of errors that arose from this simple task were striking. Thanks to the medium of email, I was able to go back into the student email account later and make a complete list of the specific errors. They are listed below, with the error portion bolded and underlined.

  • saromaenglishhholland@gmail.com
  • samaroenglishhollansd@gmail.com
  • saromaengilshho11and@gmail.com
  • saromaengliishhoiiand@gmail.com
  • saromaenglishho11and@gmail.com
  • saromaenglishhojjand@gmail.com
  • saromaenglishholland@gmeil.com
  • saromaenrlishholland@gmail.com

Particularly surprising (and exasperating) to us as teachers, were the substitutions of j and 1 for a lowercase l. This is symptomatic of the commonality of recognition errors between uppercase I and lowercase I in sans serif fonts. (See my other post on choosing fonts for elementary learners)

These errors actually had a negative result on the project, aside from the time taken to address and correct them. So many emails were sent and returned as undeliverable by the server within a short time period that Gmail blocked the account from sending mail for 24 hours. We had to create an entirely new address for class the next day.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s