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Effects of different types of teacher written corrective feedback on students writing performance an action research approach with 12th form english major students

VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI
UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES

TRẦN THỊ THU THỦY

EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF TEACHER WRITTEN
CORRECTIVE FEEDBACK ON STUDENTS’ WRITING
PERFORMANCE. AN ACTION RESEARCH APPROACH WITH 12TH
FORM ENGLISH MAJOR STUDENTS AT LUONG VAN TUY
GIFTED HIGH SCHOOL
Tác động của những hình thức phản hồi chữa lỗi viết của giáo viên đối
với việc học viết của học sinh. Nghiên cứu hành động đối với học sinh lớp
12 chuyên Anh tại trường THPT chuyên Lương Văn Tụy, Ninh Bình

M.A. MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS

Field: English Teaching Methodology
Code: 60140111

Hanoi, 2016



VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI
UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES

TRẦN THỊ THU THỦY

EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF TEACHER WRITTEN
CORRECTIVE FEEDBACK ON STUDENTS’ WRITING
PERFORMANCE. AN ACTION RESEARCH APPROACH WITH 12TH
FORM ENGLISH MAJOR STUDENTS AT LUONG VAN TUY
GIFTED HIGH SCHOOL
Tác động của những hình thức phản hồi chữa lỗi viết của giáo viên đối
với việc học viết của học sinh. Nghiên cứu hành động đối với học sinh lớp
12 chuyên Anh tại trường THPT chuyên Lương Văn Tụy, Ninh Bình

M.A. MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS

Field: English Teaching Methodology
Code: 60140111
Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lê Văn Canh

Hanoi, 2016


DECLARATION

I, Trần Thị Thu Thuỷ, hereby certify that the thesis entitled “Effects of
different types of teacher written corrective feedback on students' writing
performance. An action research approach with 12th form English major
students at Luong Van Tuy Gifted High School.” is submitted for the partial
fulfillment of the Degree of Master of Arts at the Faculty of Post-Graduate Studies,
University of Languages and International Studies, Vietnam National University,
Hanoi. I also declare that this thesis is the result of my own research and efforts and
it has not been submitted for any other purposes.

Hanoi, 2016

Trần Thị Thu Thuỷ



i


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
First and foremost, I would like to express my heart-felt thank and my
sincere gratitude to my supervisor Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Van Canh for his
enlightening guidance, precious suggestions and invaluable encouragement during
my fulfilment of this minor thesis.
My sincere thanks go to all the lecturers and the staff of the Faculty of Post
Graduate Studies at University of Languages and International Studies for their
valuable lectures on which my minor thesis was laid the foundation.
I truly wish to thank all the 12th form English major students at Luong Van
Tuy Gifted High School who have actively participated in the research.
I am deeply grateful to my family for their great support and to many of my
friends for their notable assistance.

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ABSTRACT
This action research is conducted in an attempt to investigate the effects of
three different types of written corrective feedback on students’ writing
performance at Luong Van Tuy Gifted High Schools in Ninh Binh Province. The
study also proposes some recommendations of the use of teacher written corrective
feedback in writing classes. To achieve the aims of the study, thirty five 12 th form
English major students were chosen to participate in an action research. After a
preliminary investigation was carried out, a writing instruction course was designed,
and different types of teacher written corrective feedback were applied. The data
were collected through the analysis of students’ writing and students’ free narratives
to measure the students’ progress in their writing performance. The results of this
research showed that teacher corrective feedback helped reduce students’ linguistic
errors over time. While positive revision effects were found for all three types of
corrective feedback, only indirect feedback proved to have significant long-term
effect. The study also found that the students had positive attitudes towards the
teacher’s application of corrective feedback. Although there was a mismatch
between students’ preferences and beliefs towards each corrective feedback type
and its effectiveness, they appreciated the good effects of teacher’s corrective
feedback on their learning accuracy and their attitudes towards writing. The study is
of great use to the writing teachers who have an intention to use teacher corrective
feedback in writing classes.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
DECLARATION ........................................................................................................ i
ACKNOWLEDGEMEMTS .....................................................................................ii
ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................. iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS ......................................................................................... iv
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS.................................................................................. vi
LIST OF TABLES ..................................................................................................vii
LIST OF FIGURES .............................................................................................. viii
PART A: INTRODUCTION
1. Rationale ................................................................................................................. 1
2. Aims of the study .................................................................................................... 1
3. Scope of the study ................................................................................................... 2
4. Method of the study ................................................................................................ 2
5. Significance of the study ......................................................................................... 3
6. Structure of the study .............................................................................................. 3
PART B: DEVELOPMENT
CHAPTER 1: LITERATURE REVIEW
1.1. Corrective feedback.............................................................................................4
1.1.1. Definition of corrective feedback…………………………………………….4
1.1.2. Forms of feedback…………………………………………………………….5
1.1.3. Types of corrective feedback to students’ writing……………………………6
1.1.4. Teachers' written corrective feedback strategies……………………………...8
1.2. Roles of teacher written corrective feedback…………………………………14
1.2.1. Arguments for the role of teacher written corrective feedback……………...14
1.2.2. Arguments against the role of teacher written corrective feedback…………16
1.3. Factors affecting the effectiveness of written corrective feedback……………17
1.3.1. Nature of errors……………………………………………………………...18
1.3.2. Student factors……………………………………………………………….19
1.3. 3. Teacher factors……………………………………………………………...20
1.3.4. Contextual variables…………………………………………………………21

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CHAPTER 2: METHODOLOGY
2.1. Research design………………………………………………………………..23
2.2. Research setting………………………………………………………....…….25
2.2.1. Overview…………………………………………………………………….25
2.2.2. Selection of participants and Data collection instruments…………………..25
2.2.3. The research procedures ……………………………………………….……26
2.2.4. Data collection instruments…………………………………………….……31
2.2.5. Data analysis…………………………………………………...……….…...31
2.3. Summary…………………………………………………...………………….32
CHAPTER 3: FINDINGS AND REFLECTION
3.1. Effects of three common types of feedback on students’ writing performance.33
3.1.1. Effects of three common types of feedback on students’ revised essays……33
3.1.2. The effects of three common types of feedback on students’ new pieces of
writing…………………………………………………………...…………………36
3.1.3. Discussion of results……………………………...…………………………40
3.2. Students’ attitudes towards different types of CF and their effectiveness…….45
3.2.1. Students’ attitudes towards teacher corrective feedback in general…………45
3.2.2. Students’ preference for each type of teacher corrective feedback………….46
3.2.3. Students’ expectations for better use of teacher’s corrective feedback…....49
3.3. Reflection……………………………………………………………………...52
PART C: CONCLUSION
1. Summary of the findings…………………………………………………...…....57

2. Limitations of the study…………………………………………...…….….…...58
3. Plans for the next cycle ………………………………...……………...….…….59
REFERENCES …………………………………………………………………...60
APPENDICES ………………………………………………………………….......I

v


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

CLT

: Communicative Language Teaching

CF

: Corrective Feedback

ESL

: English as a Second Language

L2

: Second or Foreign Language

No

: Number

vi


LIST OF TABLES

Table 1.1: Ellis’ typology of feedback types (2009 p.98) ....................................... ...8
Table 2.1: Timetable of the action implementation……………………………..…28
Table 3.1: Effects of three common types of corrective feedback on students’
revised essays……………………………………………………………………....33
Table 3.2: Taxonomy of errors and their frequency in Stage 1……………………36
Table 3.3: Taxonomy of errors and their frequency in Stage 2…………………....38
Table 3.4: Taxonomy of errors and their frequency in Stage 3……………………39

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LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 2.1: Steps in the action research cycle…………………………………… .24
Figure 3.1: Students’ attitudes towards the use of teacher written corrective
feedback ................................................................................................................... 46

viii


PART A: INTRODUCTION
1. Rationale
Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) has been widely used in Vietnam. This
approach advocates the teaching of four main skills: reading, listening, speaking and
writing for communicative purposes. Writing skill is often considered the most difficult
and least preferable skill for the students; therefore, it is desirable for writing teachers
to find the most suitable strategies to help their students to write well. In my own
teaching experience, I have found out that most students at Luong Van Tuy Gifted
High Schools in Ninh Binh have similar problems with their writing. These problems
are (1) they make a lot of errors in their writing, and (2) they have negative attitudes
towards learning writing. Thus, how to improve students’ writing as well as to change
their attitudes towards writing activities has greatly attracted my attention.
A review of literature reveals that the effect of teacher written corrective feedback on
students’ writing remains to be inconclusive. Despite this, numerous studies on the use
of corrective feedback in writing classes have shown that written corrective feedback
can be applied in writing classes to improve students’ writing accuracy (Liu, 2008;
Kaweera, 2008; Ferris, 2000; Ferris et al., 2001). Feedback is part and parcel of
language pedagogy. Teachers’ feedback is also a form of evaluation on the students’
knowledge and on their own teaching. (Lewis, 2002). Teacher’s good feedback
strategies may give students stimulation for revision and motivation to maintain their
interest in writing.
For all the aforementioned reasons, I wish to conduct a study entitled “Effects of
different types of teacher written corrective feedback on students' writing performance.
An action research approach with 12th form English major students at Luong Van Tuy
Gifted High School.”
2. Aims of the study

1


This current study aims at (1) examining the effects of different types of teacher
written corrective feedback on the writing performance of 12th form English major
students at Luong Van Tuy Gifted High School, Ninh Binh; (2) investigating the
students’ attitudes towards the use of teacher written corrective feedback and
proposing some recommendations of the use of teacher written corrective feedback
in writing classes.
In short, the research paper aims to address the following questions:
 How do three common types of teacher written corrective feedback (namely direct,
indirect, metalinguistic) influence students’ writings as reflected in their revised
essays and new essays?


How are students’ preferences to the feedback types related to their writing
improvement?

3. Scope of the study
In fact, teacher corrective feedback can be given in both oral and written forms.
However, within the framework of a graduation paper, the study only focuses on the
teacher written corrective feedback.
In addition, due to the limited scope of this study, the participants selected are not all
gifted students at Luong Van Tuy Gifted High School, but only students from the class
that I directly teach.
4. Method of the study
Given that this study was implemented with the hope to improve the students’
English writing skills, I decided to adopt the action research approach because this type
of research is aimed at improving a situation. After a preliminary investigation was
carried out, a writing instruction course was designed, and different types of teacher
written corrective feedback were applied. The data were collected by the analysis of
students’ writing and students’ free narratives. Students’ writings were collected and
analyzed before, during and after treatment period (i.e. the delivery of feedback) to

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measure the students’ progress in their writing performance. In addition, students’ free
narratives were collected and analyzed at the end of the research to find out their
attitudes towards each feedback type and its effects.
5. Significance of the study
The findings of this study can inform classroom teachers of how to provide
feedback on their students’ writings, thereby raising the quality of students’ writings.
6. Structure of the Study
The study consists of 3 main parts:
Part A: Introduction.
This part deals with the rationale, aims, scope, research questions, research methods,
significance and structure of the study.
Part B: Development. This part has three chapters:
Chapter 1: Literature Review presents various concepts relevant to the research topic
such as CF and its roles in language teaching and learning, previous studies on
different types of written feedback strategies and their effects on students writing
performance.
Chapter 2: Research Methodology describes the methods utilized in the study,
presents the situation of teaching and learning English at Luong Van Tuy Gifted High
School and general information about the study subjects. It also focuses on the data
collection instruments and procedures.
Chapter 3: Research Findings and Discussion gives a detailed presentation and
analysis of the data from the students’ writings and free narratives. This chapter also
consists of some discussions and interpretations of the findings of the study and
provides some recommendations for effective written correction in writing lessons.
Part C: Conclusion
This part summarizes the main issues mentioned in the research, points out some
limitations of the study and provides some plans for the next cycle.

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PART B: DEVELOPMENT
CHAPTER 1: LITERATURE REVIEW
1.1. Corrective feedback
1.1.1. Definition of corrective feedback
Responding to the student writing, including giving feedback is one of the most
controversial topics in second language instruction and theory. Different researchers
may have their own way to define feedback. Keh (1989, P.24) suggests that feedback
is “input from a reader to a writer with the effect of providing information for
revision”. Teacher feedback, is this sense, can be regarded as an effective means to
communicate to students about their writing so that the can enhance their composition.
Feedback, as viewed by Furnborough and Truman (2009), involves the existence of
gaps between what has been learned and the target competence of the learners and the
efforts undertaken to bridge the gaps. This feedback is provided to ask for further
information, to give directions, suggestion for revision, and to give positive feedback
about what the students have done well (Ferris, 1997). Lightbown and Spada (1999,
p.172) states that feedback is “an indication to the learner that his or her use the target
languages is incorrect”.
When reviewing their students’ writing, second language teachers give feedback on a
wide range of issues. They may address the text’s content, the way in which the ideas
are organized, the choice of vocabulary that is used. The type of feedback that has
attracted numerous researchers’ attention, however, is feedback on linguistic errors.
Such responses have widely been referred to as “corrective feedback” or “error
correction”. According to Yeh and Lo (2009), corrective feedback often takes the form
of responses to the texts containing errors. They also claim that corrective feedback
supplies students with direct or indirect responses about what is unacceptable. The
responses can be an indication where the errors are, what types of errors those belong

4


to; a provision of correct form of the target language; metalinguistic information about
the errors or any combination of these. This definition Yeh and Lo (2009) seems to be
the most suitable and closely involves in the scope of this study because it mentions the
teachers’ responses to the students’ errors in different ways. Therefore, this definition
is adapted in this study.
1.1.2. Forms of feedback
Basing on forms, feedback is distinguished as two main types which are oral feedback
and written feedback. Comparing between these two types, written form is more
common but it is a fairly traditional and time-consuming method to give feedback on
various drafts of a student paper. Both of these two forms are recommended to be
considered.
1.1.2.1. Oral feedback
Oral feedback is correction, comment or guidance that is uttered out by teacher during
or after students’ performance. It is the fastest type of feedback and students also can
improve their discourse immediately after feedback is given. However, in enhancing
students’ writings, this type of feedback seems not very effective because of the time
shortage. The teacher cannot give oral feedback to students individually but they use
written feedback instead. However, oral feedback is still a good means of
supplementing written feedback. The reason is that verbal feedback takes only few
minutes, but has the potential to influence to students’ future performance in positive
way. This study limits itself to the exploration of written corrective feedback only.
1.1.2.2. Written feedback
In written feedback, comments, correction or marks are given to students’ written
work. The marks may be on words or symbols such as underlining, circles and other
signs.
Written feedback is an integral aspect of any English language course. This is
especially true now with the predominance of the process approach to writing that

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requires some kinds of instructors’ feedback on students’ drafts. This form of feedback
can be also divided into several different subtypes.
1.1.3. Types of corrective feedback to students’ writing
Written feedback in writing can be divided into three main types, namely selfevaluation or self-assessment, peer feedback and teacher’s feedback
1.1.3.1. Self-evaluation (Self-directed feedback)
Self-evaluation means the students correct and evaluate their own mistake. It is stated
in Wei and Chen (2004) that “Self-assessment encourages students to look critically
and analytically at their writing and to take more responsibility for what they write.
Being involved in the process of self-evaluation, the students are no longer simply
passive recipients of feedback, but become active participants in evaluation”.
Self-evaluation may increase students’ independence as they are supposed to find their
own mistakes. Next, by finding their own mistakes, the students are expected to
remember what mistakes they have done so they will not make the same mistakes later
on. Moreover, self-evaluation saves time in a large class. However, self-assessment is
unsuitable way for students with low English proficiency to revise their writing.
1.1.3.2. Peer feedback
Peer feedback is a practice in language education where feedback is given by one
student to another. According to Bartels (2004), peer feedback means feedback from
the fellow students. If students are working on the same assignment together, peer
feedback means exchanging drafts and comments on each other’s drafts.
Peer feedback is used in writing classes to provide students more opportunities to learn
from each other. Peer feedback broadens learners’ involvement by giving them the
additional roles of reader and advisor to go with that of writer. Further, structuring
face-to-face discussion into the feedback process provides students the opportunity to
engage in constructive controversy, which may lead to insights and greater task
engagement (Johnson & Johnson, 1987).

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However, there are still some problems in the use of peer feedback. One of the major
problems is that the quality of the responses is questioned. Students often feel that their
peers offer unspecific, unhelpful and even incorrect feedback because they lack the
knowledge of the target language or the knowledge in certain specific content areas.
Another problem with peer written feedback is the students’ characteristics. Many
students may not easily accept the idea that their peers are qualified enough to evaluate
their writing (Rollinson, 2005).
1.1.3.3. Teacher’s feedback
In the light of process writing approach, teachers play an important role in helping
students to revise their writing drafts. Teacher’s corrective feedback, to some extent, is
the teacher's correction and can be defined as teachers' indication to learners' errors,
which takes the forms of implicit or explicit correction.
Written corrective feedback refers to teacher written feedback on a student’s essay with
an aim of improving grammatical accuracy (including spelling, capitalization, and
punctuation) as well as idiomatic usage (such as word order and word choice). The
term written feedback, in contrast, refers to written commentary by the teacher as
feedback on form and content of a student’s essay. Therefore, the term written
corrective feedback, the main emphasis of this thesis, has a very different meaning
from that of the term written feedback. While the two are intertwined and go hand-inhand, and while both written corrective feedback and written feedback are addressed in
this thesis, the primary of this thesis is meant to be an investigation into the effect of
different teacher written corrective feedback strategies.
Some researchers indicate that students favor corrective feedback from teachers
because they believe that they will benefit greatly from it (Leki, 1990). Studies by
Ashwell (2000), and Ferris (2003) conclude that there is a positive correlation between
student

writing accuracy and teacher corrective feedback. Furthermore, Ellis (1998)

and Lightbown (1998) state that thanks to teacher corrective feedback adult learners

7


can avoid fossilization and maintain their progress in their second language
proficiency.
1.1.4. Teachers' written corrective feedback strategies
Although the provision of written corrective feedback has long been deemed integral to
second language/foreign instruction programs, it has not always been provided in the
same manner. There are different classifications for corrective feedback strategies
proposed by different researches.
Ellis (2009) presents a typology which consists of six main strategies to provide
corrective feedback (see Table 1).
Table 1.1: Ellis’ typology of feedback types (2009 p.98)
Types of CF

Description

Studies

A. Strategies for
providing CF
1. Direct CF

The teacher provides students with e.g. Lalande(1982) and Rob et
the correct form.

2. Indirect CF

al.(1986)

The teacher indicates that an error
exists but does not provide the
correction.

a. Indicating +

This takes the form of underlining

Various studies have

locating the

and the uses of cursors to show

employed indirect correction

error

omissions in the students’ text.

of this kind (e.g. Ferris and
Roberts 2001; Chandler
2003).

b. Indication

This takes the form of an

Fewer studies have employed

only

indication in the margin that an

this method (e.g. Robb et al.

error or errors have taken place in

1986).

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a line of text.
2. Metalinguistic The teacher provides some kind of
CF

metalinguistic clue as to nature of
the error.

a. Use of error Teacher writes code in the margin

Various studies have

code

(e.g. ww = wrong word; art =

examined the effects of using

article).

codes (e.g. Lalande 1982;
Ferris and Roberts 2001;
Chadler 2003).

b.Brief

Teacher numbers errors in text and Sheen (2007) compared the

grammatical

writes a grammatical description

effects of direct CF and direct

descriptions

for each numbered error at the

CF + metalinguistic CF

bottom of the text
3. The focus of This concerns whether the teacher
the feedback

Most studies have

attempts to correct all (or most) of investigated unfocused CF
the students’ errors or selects one

(e.g. Chandler 2003; Ferris

or two specific types of errors to

2006). Sheen (2007), drawing

correct. This distinction can be

on traditions in SLA studies

applied to each of above options.

of CF, investigated focused
CF

a. Unfocused

Unfocused CF in extensive

CF
b. Focused CF
1. Electronic
feedback

Focused CF is intensive
The teacher indicates an error and
provides a hyperlink to a
concordance file that provides

9

Milton (2006)


examples of correct usage.
5.Reformulation

This consists of a native speaker’s

Sachs and Polio (2007)

reworking of the students’ entire

compared the effects of direct

text to make the language seem as

correction and reformulation

native-like as possible while

on students’ revisions of their

keeping the content of the original

text.

intact.
Ellis, Loewen and Erlam (2006) categorize responses from teachers to students’ error
into three forms or strategies: (1) teacher feedback that indicates that an error has been
made, (2) teacher feedback that provides the correct form of the target language, and
(3) teacher feedback that provides the metalinguistic information about the nature of
the error. This current research adapts this categorization together with Ellis’ typology
of written corrective feedback in that the focus of this research was how and whether
students’ writing performance could be improved via the 3 main types of written
corrective feedback strategies, namely direct, indirect, metalinguistic corrective
feedback.
1.1.4.1. Teacher direct corrective feedback and previous studies on its effectiveness.
In the case of direct corrective feedback, the teacher gives the corrected form of the
mistake to the students. Direct feedback may be done in various ways such as by
striking out an incorrect or unnecessary word, phrase, or morpheme, inserting a
missing or expected word, phrase or morpheme; and by providing the correct linguistic
form above, in the margin or near the erroneous form (Ellis, 2008; Ferris, 2006). A
number of previous studies have proved the revision effect of direct feedback.
Chandler’s (2003) suggests that direct correction works best for producing accurate
revisions. This type of corrective feedback is desirable for students of low level of
proficiency who are unable to self-correct and do not know what the correct form

10


might be. However, it requires minimal processing on the part of the learners and thus,
it may not contribute to long-term learning (Ellis, 2009). In addition, a recent study by
Sheen (2007) suggests that direct corrective feedback can be effective in promoting
acquisition of only specific grammatical features. This finding is in line with the study
of Van Beuningen, Dejong and Kuiken (2012) which claims that “Direct correction is
better suited for grammatical errors and indirect correction is better suited for nongrammatical errors”.
Another advocate of direct written corrective feedback has also suggested that it may
be more beneficial because it “reduces confusion” (Chandler, 2003), supplies students
with information to “resolve more complex errors” and is “more immediate”.
Therefore, direct written corrective feedback may be more useful for learners who have
comparatively limited linguistic knowledge.
Lee (2005) adds that direct feedback may be appropriate for beginner students, or in a
situation when errors are “untreatable” that are not susceptible to self-correction such
as sentence structure and word choice, and when teachers want to direct students’
attention to error patterns that require student correction.
1.1.4.2. Teacher indirect corrective feedback and previous studies on its
effectiveness.
Indirect written corrective feedback refers to situations when the teacher indicates that
an error has been made but does not provide a correction, thereby leaving the student to
diagnose and correct it. This can be done by underlying or circling errors, recording in
the margin the number of errors in a given line, confirmation checks, and request for
clarification. (Bitchener, 2008).
Advocates of indirect written corrective feedback (e.g., Ferris, 1999, 2006) claim that it
may foster deeper language processing by requiring the student to engage in “guided
learning and problem solving”, leading to reflection about linguistic forms that may
foster long-term acquisition. Thus, although indirect corrective feedback does not have

11


immediate revision effect, it leads to long-term learning and has more benefits than
direct feedback on students’ long-term development and acquisition especially for
more advanced students (Ferris and Roberts, 2001). Therefore it is suggested that
indirect corrective feedback, by requiring the students to determined the correct form
of the mistake on his own, may be more useful for learners at higher proficiency levels
as they have relatively advanced linguistic knowledge.
Ferris (2002), Ferris and Roberts (2001) observe that while direct feedback led to
greater accuracy in text revisions, indirect feedback results in the production of fewer
initial errors over time. Bitchener et al (2005), Bitchener and Knoch (2010) point out
that complex errors might not be good targets for indirect feedback since learners are
often not capable of self-correcting the identified errors. Additionally, for features
about which students already have some explicit knowledge, indirect corrective
feedback can assist them in the transition from declarative to procedural knowledge
(Lyster, 2004).
However, the results of studies that have investigated the difference between direct and
indirect are very mixed. Some studies (e.g., Ferris & Helt, 2000) showed that indirect
feedback is indeed more effective in enabling students to correct their errors. Lalande
(1982, p.140) recommends that indirect feedback consistently calls errors to students’
attention, triggering the “guided learning and problem-solving” processes. By contrast,
Frantzen, (1995) found no difference between direct and indirect corrective feedback.
1.1.4.3. Teacher metalinguistic corrective feedback and previous studies on its
effectiveness.
Metalinguistic feedback could take one of two forms. Use of error coding or a brief
grammatical description. In the former type, the teacher writes some codes in the
margin to suggest what problem learners have. Of course, the learners will have a list
of codes to avoid confusion. However, in the second type of metalinguistic feedback,

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the teacher numbers the errors and briefly provides a brief explanation for the error at
the end of the text.
A number of studies have compared using error codes with other types of written
corrective feedback. Robb et al (1986) suggests that the use of error codes is no more
effective than direct and indirect feedback. Besides, Ferris (2006) argues that error
codes help students to improve their accuracy over time in only two of the four
categories of error she investigates. Ferris and Roberts (2001) point out that error codes
help students to self-edit their writing but no more effective than indirect feedback.
Additionally, Sheen (2007) studies the effects of direct and metalinguistic corrective
feedback. He has found that both are effective in increasing accuracy in the students’
use of articles in subsequent writing completed immediately after the corrective
feedback treatment. Interestingly, the metalinguistic corrective feedback also proves
more effective than direct corrective feedback in a new piece of writing completed two
week after the treatment. Other studies reported advantage of metalinguistic written
corrective feedback over other forms of indirect written corrective feedback (circling or
underlining only). For example, a study conducted by Bitchener and Knoch (2010)
indicated that students whose errors were indicated by circling or underlining only
were able to retain the gains observed in the delayed post-test but not in the immediate
post-test. The authors conclude that the result demonstrates the superior longitudinal
effect of metalinguistic explanation.
In short, it is possible to say that while the overall efficacy of written corrective
feedback in the second language writing classroom is gaining wider acceptance there
still exists considerable debate over the best practice for its implementation. In other
words, the effectiveness of different kinds of corrective feedback is still argued by
different researchers. While there are studies that supports the use of indirect written
corrective feedback and metalinguistic written corrective feedback, there is a great
body of research asserting the effectiveness of direct corrective feedback. Some studies

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which concluded that direct corrective feedback is more effective also agree that
indirect corrective feedback can have effects on students’ problem solving skill and
their long-term learning. Scarcella and Oxford (1992) suggest that multiple forms of
feedback should be used in combination depending on the nature of error and the
student characteristics. Truscott (1996) also argues that no single form of correction
could be expected to help learners acquire knowledge of all linguistic forms and
structures. Thus, it is the teacher who should make up their mind on the use of different
written corrective feedback strategies for error and stylistic difference. As Ferris (2003)
puts it, “what is preferable cannot be equated with what is effective, and what is
effective for one student in one setting might be less so in another context”.
1.2. Roles of teacher written corrective feedback.
Concerning the role of teacher written corrective feedback, there have existed an
endless discussion so far, both favorably and unfavorably. Not only researchers but
also teachers and students do agree that written feedback from teachers play the crucial
role in improve students’ writing and attitude toward writing (Leki, 1990, p.58).
However there has been a debate on the role of teacher written feedback in which there
are people who believe in giving feedback to improve student’s writing and who do
not. Some may refer to feedback as highly beneficial and inevitable in teaching and
learning writing, while some consider teacher feedback to be time-consuming and
useless. Therefore, it is normal to see different judgments of different individuals about
this matter.
1.2.1. Arguments for the role of teacher written corrective feedback.
Corrective feedback plays an importance role in language learning and acquisition as it
assists learners notice the difference between their own production and the target
structure, raising their consciousness about the structures they are learning.
Teacher feedback is considered to be an important aspect of every school day and play
a critical role in the teaching and learning process (Konold, Miller and Konold, 2004).

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It is crucial since it helps encourage and consolidate learning (Hyland & Hyland, 2006)
and serves such significant purposes as to: reinforce appropriate learner behaviour, let
students know how they are doing and extend learning opportunities (Konold et al,
2004, p.64).
Teacher feedback is also essential in second language writing by giving specific
purpose of providing teacher feedback on students’ writing performance. Teacher
corrective feedback aims at supporting student’s writing development, teaching or
reinforcing a particular aspect of disciplinary content or specific academic writing
convention, indicating strengths and weaknesses of a piece of writing, explaining or
justifying a grade and suggesting how a student may improve in their next piece of
writing.
Additionally, written corrective feedback serves as a source of motivation since it
enables learners to evaluate their progress, to understand the level of their competence,
and to maintain their effort in striving to reach realistic goals (Riviere, 2000).
From the output hypothesis perspective, Swain (1985, 1995) has noted repeatedly that
for grammatical accuracy to develop, learners need to receive feedback on their output
because it enables learners to “notice the gap” between what they want to say and what
they can actually say. If learners’ attention is not drawn to their errors, they may not
know that they made an error, and therefore they miss opportunities to practice and
correct themselves. Thus, the proverb “Learning from mistake” is less likely to take
place (Swain 2000).
Another argument for corrective feedback is the belief that corrective feedback is
essential to prevent fossilization. “Fossilization” was defined by Brown (2007) as “the
relatively permanent incorporation of incorrect linguistic forms into a person’s second
language competence” (P.382). It is supported by Dekeyser (2010) who claims that;
timely corrective feedback creates additional opportunities for practice and may help
prevent automatization of uncorrected errors which may lead to fossilization.

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