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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractGiving grammar feedback to ESL writers is still debatable among researchers. While researchers like Truscott (1996) argue that grammar feedback does not help ESL students, others like Ferris (2001) argue that it does. Moreover, scholars debate whether the modes of feedback (written and oral versus computer) might affect student revisions. Research has been conducted on the effectiveness of different types and modes of feedback, but it is inconclusive and decontextualized. The present study addresses the effectiveness of different types and modes of feedback in the ESL writing classroom. Thirteen ESL students at a southwestern university participated, where they were required to write three papers. They were divided into two groups. Group 1 received rhetorical and grammatical feedback combined on the first paper, while Group 2 received only rhetorical feedback on that paper. On Paper 2, the order was reversed. For Paper 3, the students were re-grouped into two groups. Group 1 received rhetorical and grammar feedback combined through computer and Group 2 received it in the written mode. A mixed approach, quantitative and qualitative, was used. The frequencies of the errors and the corrections that the students made on each paper were calculated and tabulated. The students wrote journals and were interviewed regarding their reaction to the different types and modes of feedback. The study revealed rather a complex picture of how and why students use different types and modes of feedback. The students' backgrounds, their perception of writing, their writing and revision processes and their motivation affected their use of grammar feedback as well as computer feedback. Although the students did not make a lot of changes, error feedback drew their attention to their errors and made them more aware of these errors. Students did not use computer feedback successfully and they attributed that to their cultural background, attitudes, writing styles and the dynamics of computer feedback. This study suggests that training students on self-editing might help them in detecting and correcting their errors. It also suggests that we need to integrate computer feedback with other formats of feedback and to assess the students' reactions to using computer as well as the ways in which they use it. This assessment can be employed to adjust our pedagogical approaches.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition and Teaching