Problematising unfocused written feedback: A case study on four university students’ essays
In the past decade, many studies have sought to show the efficacy of different types of written feedback. All of these studies yielded consistent results, and at times contradicting results. Considering the nature of language teaching and learning, English language teaching (ELT) practitioners should consider problematising the issue of providing written feedback, instead of looking for a solution. Taking this into account, this study uses a case-study approach to evaluate the efficacy of unfocused feedback across multiple-drafts in an advanced English writing course taken by English majors at an international university in Thailand. Over a four-month semester, the class wrote five essays, with each essay having at least three drafts. In all drafts, unfocused feedback was provided with the assumption that students’ prior English writing courses have helped them develop self-monitoring abilities. The data consist of the frequency of errors and unfocused feedback of the last three essays of four students. Subsequently, a correlation coefficient of the errors and unfocused feedback was calculated and results indicated that as the number of feedback decreased through drafts, the number of errors decreased as well. This shows a positive correlation between the two variables, albeit at varying degrees for different students. Students were also interviewed about their perceptions and expectations toward writing feedback. This study suggests that unfocused feedback may work for certain students, but not all.
Ashwell, T. (2000). Patterns of teacher response to student writing in a multipledraft composition classroom: is content feedback followed by form feedback the best method? Journal of Second Language Writing, 9(3), 227-257.
Bitchener, J. (2008). Evidence in support of written corrective feedback. Journal of Second Language Writing, 17, 102-118.
Bitchener, J., & Knoch, U. (2009). The relative effectiveness of different types of direct written corrective feedback. System, 37, 322-329.
Bitchener, J., & Knoch, U. (2010). Raising the linguistic accuracy level of advanced L2 writers with written corrective feedback. Journal of Second Language Writing, 19, 207-217.
Bitchener, J., Young, S., & Cameron, D. (2005). The effect of different types of corrective feedback on ESL student writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 14, 191-205.
Chandler, J. (2003). The efficacy of various kinds of error feedback for improvement in the accuracy and fluency of L2 student writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12, 267-296.
Ellis, R., Sheen, Y., Murakami, M., & Takashima, H. (2008). The effects of focused and unfocused written corrective feedback in an English as a foreign language context. System, 36, 353-371.
Ferris, D., & Roberts, B. (2001). Error feedback in L2 writing classes: How explicit does it need to be? Journal of Second Language Writing, 10, 161-184.
Ferris, D. R. (2004). The "grammar correction" debate in L2 writing: where are we, and where do we go from here? (and what do we do in the meantime …?). Journal of Second Language Writing, 13, 49-62.
Guénette, D. (2007). Is feedback pedagogically correct? Research design issues in studies of feedback on writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 16, 40-53.
Hyland, K. (2012). Disciplinary identities. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Mori, R. (2011). Teacher cognition in corrective feedback in Japan. System, 39, 451-467.
Qi, D. S. & Lapkin, S. (2001). Exploring the role of noticing in a three-stage second language writing task. Journal of Second Language Writing, 10, 277-303.
Sheen, Y, Wright, D.,& Modawa, A. (2009). Differential effects of focused and unfocused written correction on the accurate use of grammatical forms by adult ESL learners. System, 37, 556-569.
Truscott, J. (1996). The case against grammar correction in L2 writing classes. Language Learning, 46, 327-369.
Truscott, J. (2007). The effect of error correction on learners' ability to write accurately. Journal of Second Language Writing, 16, 255-272.
Copyright Transfer Statement for Journal
1) In signing this statement, the author(s) grant UNIMAS Publisher an exclusive license to publish their original research papers. The author(s) also grant UNIMAS Publisher permission to reproduce, recreate, translate, extract or summarize, and to distribute and display in any forms, formats, and media. The author(s) can reuse their papers in their future printed work without first requiring permission from UNIMAS Publisher, provided that the author(s) acknowledge and reference publication in the Journal.
2) For open access articles, the author(s) agree that their articles published under UNIMAS Publisher are distributed under the terms of the CC-BY-NC-SA (Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, for non-commercial purposes, provided the original work of the author(s) is properly cited.
3) For subscription articles, the author(s) agree that UNIMAS Publisher holds copyright, or an exclusive license to publish. Readers or users may view, download, print, and copy the content, for academic purposes, subject to the following conditions of use: (a) any reuse of materials is subject to permission from UNIMAS Publisher; (b) archived materials may only be used for academic research; (c) archived materials may not be used for commercial purposes, which include but not limited to monetary compensation by means of sale, resale, license, transfer of copyright, loan, etc.; and (d) archived materials may not be re-published in any part, either in print or online.
4) The author(s) is/are responsible to ensure his or her or their submitted work is original and does not infringe any existing copyright, trademark, patent, statutory right, or propriety right of others. Corresponding author(s) has (have) obtained permission from all co-authors prior to submission to the journal. Upon submission of the manuscript, the author(s) agree that no similar work has been or will be submitted or published elsewhere in any language. If submitted manuscript includes materials from others, the authors have obtained the permission from the copyright owners.
5) In signing this statement, the author(s) declare(s) that the researches in which they have conducted are in compliance with the current laws of the respective country and UNIMAS Journal Publication Ethics Policy. Any experimentation or research involving human or the use of animal samples must obtain approval from Human or Animal Ethics Committee in their respective institutions. The author(s) agree and understand that UNIMAS Publisher is not responsible for any compensational claims or failure caused by the author(s) in fulfilling the above-mentioned requirements. The author(s) must accept the responsibility for releasing their materials upon request by Chief Editor or UNIMAS Publisher.
6) The author(s) should have participated sufficiently in the work and ensured the appropriateness of the content of the article. The author(s) should also agree that he or she has no commercial attachments (e.g. patent or license arrangement, equity interest, consultancies, etc.) that might pose any conflict of interest with the submitted manuscript. The author(s) also agree to make any relevant materials and data available upon request by the editor or UNIMAS Publisher.