Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Preferences of Efl Teachers and Students towards Corrective Feedback in Writing

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Preferences of Efl Teachers and Students towards Corrective Feedback in Writing

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Learning and teaching process is significantly linked to the way teachers and learners react towa rd the errors and how they try to correct them. Understanding teachers' and learners' preferences in error correction plays a crucial role in the teaching and learning process. Research on foreign and second language writing has mostly been based on why and how to respond to student writing. Most EFL/ESL writing teachers agree that responding to student writing through teacher corrective feedback is an essential part of any writing course and student writers want teacher feedback on their written errors (Ferris & Roberts, 2001).

Ferris, Pezone, Tade and Tinti (1997) regard response to student writing as the teachers' most crucial task and state its role in motivating and encouraging students. It is believed among teachers that if a teacher ind icates a writt en grammatical error on a student's paper and provides the correct form in one or another way, the student will realize the error and will not repeat it in his/her future writings. Thus, the ability of writing accurately will be improved.

Error correction, or feedback, has been used in language teaching/learning for a long time, but its benefits have been questioned by some language teachers. Lately teacher attitudes to feedback seem to experience a revival stage as a useful teaching device in secondary sc hools (Allah, 2008; Brandt, 2008; Wang, 2008). It is argued in favor of delivering feedback which can help develop writing and speaking skills as well as learn grammar and vocabulary.

There are different reasons that lead the learners to produce errors. S ome errors occur because learners are not aware of the rules. In this case, error correction can be effective if the teacher can make the error, its source and the way of correcting it, clear to the students. Some errors are produced due to temporary overload on the student's cognitive processes. Error correction in this case may fail to prevent the learners from making future errors because they have not resulted from inadequate knowledge. The overload of the cogn itive processes probably indicates that the student needs to have more communication practice than correction.

The bulk of the studies on corrective feedback have focused on the importance of feedback, ways of provi ding and receiving feedback as well as what the effect of feedback on students' writing (Lee, 2005; Noora, 2006). However, the preferences and attitudes of the learners and the teachers towards error correction is an untouched site in the literature (Katayama, 2007).

Understanding teachers' and learners' preferences in error correction i s of crucial importance in the teaching and learning process. Katayama (2007) believes that "differences in learners' learning styles affect the lear ning environment by either supporting or inhibiting their intentional cognition and active engagement" (p. 157). This stems from the fact that learners are expected to be highly motivated in doing things that they pr efer. As such, it is necessary to understand that learners have different preferences i.e. styles in the way they like to be corrected.

The present study aimed at aimed at investigating EFL teachers' and learners' preferences in the application of different corrective feedback strategies. Moreover, it examined the potential effects of the application of preferred corrective feedback strategies on the quality of students' written output.

2. Literature review

Literature reveals myriads of studies carried out on corrective feedback in writing. Erel and Bulut (2007), for example, investigated the possible effects of direct and indirect coded error feedback in a Turkish university context with regard to accuracy in writing. The results of the study revealed that while an overall compar ison of the groups for the whole semester did not yield any statistically significant differences, the indirect coded feedback group committed fewer errors than the direct feedback group for the whole semester. …

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