Academic journal article IUP Journal of Soft Skills

The Impact of Direct Written Corrective Feedback on Low Proficiency ESL Learners' Writing Ability

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Soft Skills

The Impact of Direct Written Corrective Feedback on Low Proficiency ESL Learners' Writing Ability

Article excerpt

Introduction

Written corrective feedback plays a significant role in the process of L2 (Second Language) learning. Corrective feedback on learners' writing can make learning more effective (Russell and Spada, 2006). Cardelle and Corno (1981) state that the more corrective feedback learners receive of their performance, the better they understand what they need to do to correct their mistakes. The understanding of why they made mistakes and how to correct such mistakes helps learners self-correct their mistakes and increases their proficiency in writing (Kulhavy, 1977). Carless (2006) affirms that learners who receive corrective feedback during the writing process have a clear sense of how well they are performing and what they need to do to improve their writing. Corrective feedback can also modify learners' thinking toward their writing and focus their attention on the purpose of writing. Schwartz and White (2000) assert that corrective feedback can provide assessment on how well the learners accomplish the given task, as corrective feedback helps learners to narrow the gap between their actual ability and desired performance. Furthermore, corrective feedback in writing can stimulate explicit knowledge of learners (Williams, 2005). Williams (2005) describes explicit knowledge as the knowledge of language rules that learners can articulate and provide reasons that certain rules should be applied. Learners who receive corrective feedback make use of their prior knowledge about language and writing rules that they have learned. In writing, learners apply explicit knowledge as induced by the corrective feedback on their writing. Subsequently, corrective feedback increases learners' attention on the subject they are writing. Learners who receive feedback pay more attention to the aspects of their writing that need remediation; by doing so, they learn how to improve their proficiency in writing. The increase of attention leads to gaining accuracy in both form and content of writing (Lamberg, 1980; and Ashwell, 2000). In particular, learners who are not able to identify and correct the errors in their writing benefit from direct written corrective feedback. Direct written corrective feedback promotes learners to be aware of L2 rules and develop their writing ability by pointing out the errors and providing correct form on learners' written script. When the teacher locates and corrects the errors in the learners' written script, they could easily understand and internalize the correct form of the language. So, this paper focuses on the impact of direct written corrective feedback on improving the writing ability of low proficiency learners. Further, this paper analyzes the learners' attitude and preference towards the direct written corrective feedback.

Need for the Study

In the context of rural arts and science colleges in Tamil Nadu, most of the learners do not possess the requisite competence in using their target language. To be more specific of their educational background, learners who study through the regional medium of instruction begin to learn English from III standard. They learn English as L2 till their higher secondary level of education. In most of the schools, English is taught as a subject rather than a language and the outcome of language learning is tested only through writing. As the learners do not have confidence in constructing their own sentences in English, they memorize the content from their textbook or teacher's notes and write their examinations. They are able to get through the examination with high, average or just pass score, but the ability to write grammatically correct sentences in English remains a question. When learners of this language background choose to study English Literature, they find it difficult to construct grammatically correct sentences in their writing. It is presumed that English major learners should possess the ability to connect the grammar and language patterns for the wider purpose of communication. …

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