Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Written Corrective Feedback on the Writing Performance of Iranian Efl Learners

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Written Corrective Feedback on the Writing Performance of Iranian Efl Learners

Article excerpt

Introduction

For more than a decade now, a great deal of research has been done on the topic of written corrective feedback in second/foreign language writing. Nonetheless, what those research efforts really have shown as well as the possible implications for practice remains in dispute. Although researchers often examine similar phenomena in similar ways, they do not necessarily ask the same questions. EFLfocused researchers investigate whether written corrective feedback facilitates the acquisition of particular linguistic features. In contrast, second language writing researchers generally emphasize the question of whether written corrective feedback helps student writers improve the overall effectiveness of their texts. Understanding these differences in starting points is important because it provides a possible explanation for the conflicting methodologies and conclusions of various reviews on this topic (e.g., Ferris, 2003,2004; Truscott, 19%, 2007).

The literature of second/foreign language writing error correction is replete with controversial ideas as well as arguments about the importance of error correction. More than two decades ago Zamel (1985) argued against error correction and warned teachers to "hold in Abeyance their reflex-like reactions to surface level concerns and give priority to meaning". There have also been many attempts to investigate the error correction issue from the students' and teachers' point of view. The majority of these studies have targeted the accuracy in writing. In fact, written accuracy is important in many contexts that students themselves want and expect feedback in their written errors from their teachers. They value their teachers' practice in error correction very much (Ferris, Chaney, Komuras, Roberts & Mckee, 2000; Hedgcock & Lefkowitz, 1994; leki, 1991; Truscott, 19%).

The reason why this research has been conducted is that it deals with the effectiveness of error correction on writing performance of foreign language learners which is conducted in a "pre-test post-test" design. Therefore, this study will be an attempt to find out if there is a significant difference between the experimental group, who will receive feedback and the control group, who will not receive correction on their mistakes in their writing ability.

Review

2.1. The importance of writing

Writing, as one of the four skills, has occupied a significant place in more language classes; its presence is noticed in almost every element of language courses at all stages of language learning from elementary to advanced levels of language proficiency, and abundant amount of time is spent on practicing it. At the elementary stages, writing is viewed as the commonest way of examining students' performance in the target language. For more proficient learners, writing would be a means of recording, reformulating knowledge, and developing ideas, or a means of discovery, creativity, and self-expression. It is a form of language production which is part of communicative competence for many learners (Ferris, 2010), which in turn can contribute to students' language learning.

However, despite the approved significance of this skill and the excessive amount of effort made to improve it, not very satisfactory results have been obtained on the part of learners. Second language writers face unique challenges in building up different qualifications, especially those that are pertinent to writing accuracy (Evans, Hartshome, McCollum, and Wolfersberger, 2010). In contrast to the other skills, practicing alone, here in the case of writing, does not prove to produce the desired fluency and accuracy needed (Chandler, 2003). This perceived difference between writing and other skills causes it to require a different type of treatment. That is, in addition to practice, improving ones' writing skill entails receiving and applying feedback (e.g. Ferris, 2003; Ferris and Hedgcock, 2005; F.Hyland, 2003). …

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