Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Direct and Peer Feedback on Accuracy of Efl Learners' Written Performance

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Direct and Peer Feedback on Accuracy of Efl Learners' Written Performance

Article excerpt

Introduction

In terms of language learning, writing is probably the most difficult skill to acquire. It is something most native speakers never master and is more challenging for second language learners. According to Lenneberg (as cited in Brown, 2007), writing is like swimming. He further adds that

Hyland (2003) claims that nowadays, the teaching of writing occupies a much further essential situation in the field of second or foreign language teaching rather than two or three decades ago. He states that it is related to the dependence of network communication on writing skill.

Writing is a recursive process and learners should revise their writing several times before submitting final drafts. According to Richards and Renandya (2001) -the skills involved in writing are highly complex. Second language (L2) writers have to pay attention to higher level skills of planning and organizing as well as lower level skills of spelling, punctuation, word choice, and so on" (p. 303).

Despite the importance of English as an international language, writing in English as a foreign language has not received much attention in the way it is taught and learned in Iran. Students need to be competent in certain areas of language and its skills to be able to cope with academic demands of their courses (Meibodi&Gharaei, 2012). Even though writing is one of the most important tools in expressing new ideas and concepts, it has been marginalized in the Iranian educational curriculum (Javadi-safa, Vahdany, &Sabet, 2013) which might be due to the traditional methods of teaching this skill in educational contexts.

The focus of teaching writing has moved in recent years from the finished product to the process of writing (Raimes, 1983). The name of the approach reveals its main principle, putting emphasis on writing as a process. The goal of the model is to improve writing by providing the learner with opportunities to master a range of behaviors related with effective composition (Williams, 1998). Learners try to internalize the practices utilized by good writers in order to write effective composition (Williams, 1998).

In the early parts of the 20th century, theories of how languages were learned relied heavily on the input provided to the learner. This was the case within the behaviorist tradition. Research on the efficacy of meaning-focused communicative approaches reveals that comprehensible input (Krashen, 1985) alone does not improve learners' language proficiency in ter ms of syntax. Output, in response to input, is necessary for further language development. According to Swain's (1998) output hypothesis, output may impact noticing and promote L2 acquisition. L2 learners can be exposed to two types of input, positive and negative evidence (Long, 1996). Positive evidence provides learners with the models of what is acceptable in L2. By contrast, negative evidence provides learners with information as to what is unacceptable in L2. In second language acquisition (SLA) literature, the term negative evidence is often used interchangeably with the terms negative feedback and corrective feedback to refer to any indication of learners' non-target like use of the target language (Long, 1996). Learning to write is difficult especially for those writing in a second or a foreign language in academic contexts since they do not have enough knowledge about how to generate accurate and grammatically correct essays. As grammatical correctness of writing is considered to be a problem for EFL learners, a need is felt to improve the accuracy of students' writing performance.

Accuracy refers to the absence of errors. Skehan (1996) defines accuracy as the extent to which the language produced conforms to the norms of the target language. Skehan and Foster (1996) state high accuracy is an indication of interlanguage development. Accuracy measurement as an indicator of writing development is based on the assumption that second language learners write more accurately, or produce fewer errors in their writing, as they became more proficient (Wolfe-Quintero, Inagaki, & Kim, 1998). …

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