‘Review of the Effectiveness of Written Corrective Feedback in an ESL Context’ by Talal M. Amara

Abstract

While written corrective feedback (WCF) has frequently been identified as a common teacher practice in teaching writing in an L2 classroom, ESL teachers pay little attention to the effectiveness of it. The role of written corrective feedback (WCF) in English as a second language context has been a controversial topic among instructors as well as researchers. Although WCF is a widely used, and is a common pedagogical tool in second language (L2) classroom, there are a number of practical and theoretical objections to its effectiveness in writing classroom. This review is to shed light on the debate on the effectiveness of WCF in the ESL writing classroom. It will summarize the theoretical arguments underpinning the use of WCF in L2 classrooms. That is, the objections raised against WCF are reviewed, and some concerns of different WCF types are also discussed.

Over the last few years, the role played by corrective feedback in language acquisition has become a highly controversial issue. In the field of First Language Acquisition (FLA), researchers express strong reservations concerning the effect that negative evidence has on FLA, if there is any at all. In the field of Second Language Acquisition (SLA), however, there appears to be a growing consensus among the majority of researchers concerning the significance of the role played by negative evidence in the process of SLA. This literature review will focus mainly on the role played by corrective feedback in SLA. While corrective feedback clearly relates to both oral and written discourse, the focus of this discussion will center on oral production, since the preponderance of research has largely focused on this aspect. In the following sections of this review, the meaning of corrective feedback will be discussed, and the different theoretical stances towards its role in SLA examined. Empirical studies that explore the impact corrective feedback has on SLA will be reviewed, followed by a discussion of some of the issues that loom large in research in the area of corrective feedback and its role in SLA

Index Terms: SLA, WCF, FLA.

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