1 I declare that this thesis entitled Indirect Corrective Feedback: A Tool to Students Self-Editing of ESL Writing is the result of my own research except as cited in the references. The thesis has not been accepted for any degree and is not concurrently submitted in candidature of any other degree. Signature :... Name : Azrinda Binti Hassan Mohamad Date : June 2013
2 I hereby declare that I have read this thesis and in my opinion this thesis is sufficient in terms of scope and quality for the award of the degree of Master of Education (TESL). Signature :... Name of Supervisor : Assoc. Prof. Dr. Masdinah Alauyah Bt Md. Yusof Date : June 2013
3 To my beloved Mother, Fatimah Binti Ishak, and my one and only darling sister, Azizah Binti Hassan Mohamad, Both of you are my strengths.
4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The accomplishment of this thesis required the help of various individuals. Without them, I might not meet my objectives in doing this study. I want to give my deepest gratitude to the following people for their invaluable help and support. First and foremost, I am truly indebted to my supervisor, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Masdinah Alauyah Bt Md. Yusof for her continuous support and guidance. Without her understanding, patience and encouragement, I would never accomplish this thesis successfully. Next in the list is to my wonderful mother, Fatimah, who has been a source of encouragement and inspiration to me throughout my life. And also my darling sister, Azizah who is always be there for me through thick and thin. Without both of you, I know that I would never go far. Not forgotten, my closest friend, Hafizan Kono who was always a great support in all my struggles and frustrations during my topsy-turvy study life. Cheers to Hafizan Kono for being a great reliable person to whom I could always talk about my problems and excitements. Without her, I could not have made it here and lastly, to the people who helped and contribute great ideas and advices, especially classmates, colleagues for without them, this thesis would not be possible. Thank you Allah and thank you, everyone.
5 ABSTRACT The issue of the roles of corrective feedback in writing classroom has long been debated. Some researchers believed that giving feedback could hamper students` motivation to write while others felt that giving the right corrective feedback could improve students ability to self-correct their written work. Nevertheless, many ESL teachers often face dilemma when teaching writing, especially when choosing a suitable feedback to give to students` writings; i.e. to give direct or indirect feedback; coded or non-coded feedback. This research was aimed to investigate which indirect corrective feedback (coded or non-coded) gives better correction in self-editing of ESL writing and also to find out students attitude towards indirect corrective feedback in writing classroom. The respondents of this research were a class of thirty Form Four students in one of secondary schools in Pasir Gudang district. Data for this research was collected from students writing task, questionnaire and interview. The findings of this research have shown that the coded corrective feedback gives better correction in self-editing compared than noncoded corrective feedback. The respondents also agreed the importance of corrective feedback in their writing and they preferred coded corrective feedback more than non-coded. It is also hoped that this research could benefit writing teachers to opt the best tool to students self-editing of ESL writing to train them to be independent writers.
6 ABSTRAK Isu tentang peranan respons korektif di dalam kelas penulisan telah lama diperdebatkan. Sesetengah pengkaji berpendapat bahawa respons korektif akan menurunkan motivasi pelajar untuk menulis dan ada juga sesetengah pengkaji yang lain berpendapat bahawa pemilihan respons korektif yang baik boleh meningkatkan kebolehan pelajar di dalam proses suntingan kendiri. Tidak kurang juga terdapat guru-guru Bahasa Inggeris yang dibelenggu dilema apabila mengajar penulisan, terutama di dalam pemilihan respons korektif yang sesuai kepada pelajar; sama ada perlu memberikan respons korektif secara langsung atau tidak langsung; menggunakan kod atau tidak. Kajian ini dijalankan untuk mengkaji respons korektif tidak langsung yang manakah mampu membantu pelajar melakukan penyuntingan dengan baik di dalam penulisan Bahasa Inggeris dan untuk mengenal pasti sikap pelajar terhadap respons korektif tidak langsung di dalam kelas penulisan. Kajian ini melibatkan tiga puluh orang pelajar Tingkatan 4 di salah sebuah sekolah menengah di daerah Pasir Gudang. Data kajian ini diperolehi dari hasil penulisan pelajar, borang kaji selidik dan temuramah. Hasil kajian mendapati pelajar-pelajar mampu membuat penyuntingan dengan lebih baik dengan menggunakan respons korektif berkod berbanding dengan tidak berkod. Pelajar-pelajar juga bersetuju tentang kepentingan respons korektif di dalam penulisan mereka dan mereka memilih respons korektif berkod berbanding tidak berkod. Adalah diharapkan kajian ini dapat memberi manfaat kepada guru-guru penulisan untuk memilih kaedah terbaik dalam proses penyuntingan penulisan bagi melatih pelajar-pelajar menjadi penulis yang berdikari.
7 TABLE OF CONTENT CHAPTER TITLE PAGE DECLARATION DEDICATION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ii iii iv ABSTRACT v ABSTRAK vi TABLE OF CONTENTS vii LIST OF TABLES LIST OF FIGURES LIST OF APPENDICES xii xiii xiv CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Introduction Background of the study Statement of Problem Purpose of the Study 6
8 1.5 Objectives of the Study Research Questions Significance of the Study Scope of the Study Definition of the Terms Chapter Summary 10 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Introduction Corrective Feedback Indirect Corrective Feedback Coded and Non-Coded Feedback Self-editing Strategy Form-focused Corrective Feedback Focused Corrective Feedback Students Attitude on Corrective Feedback Chapter Summary 24 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY 3.1 Introduction Research Design Participants Research Instruments 27
9 3.4.1 In-class Writing Task Self-editing Exercises Questionnaire Interview Research Procedure Data Analysis In-class writing task Self-editing exercises Questionnaire questions Interview questions Triangulating the computed data 36 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION 4.1 Introduction Which Indirect Corrective Feedback Methods 38 (coded or non-coded) gives better correction to self-edit ESL writing Errors produced in overall Errors produced according to the gender Indirect Corrective Feedback (coded and non-coded) in Self-Editing Using coded and non-coded CF 48 in self-editing in overall
10 4.2.5 Using Coded and Non-coded CF 51 in Self-Editing According to the Gender 4.3 Students Perception towards Corrective 54 Feedback in ESL Writing Students concern about 54 grammatical accuracy Reasons on choosing types 56 of indirect corrective feedback Students perception towards self-editing Chapter Summary 61 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 5.1 Introduction Summary of Findings Which Indirect Corrective Feedback Methods 63 (Coded or Non-Coded) Gives Better Correction to Self-Edit ESL Writing Students Perception towards Corrective 64 Feedback in Writing 5.3 Pedagogical Implications The Role of Corrective Feedback on 65 Students Self-Editing The Level of Explicitness of Indirect 66 Corrective Feedback Importance of self-editing task 66
11 5.3.4 Implications of students preferences 68 for corrective feedback 5.4 Suggestions for Further Research Conclusion 69 REFERENCES 71 APPENDICES 75
12 LIST OF TABLES TABLE NO. TITLE PAGE 3.1 Data Triangulation Average number of errors marked Students prior grammar knowledge Types of grammar problems identified by teachers Types of grammar problems self-identified Types of grammar problems identified by teachers 45 according to gender 4.6 Types of grammar problems self-identified 46 according to gender 4.7 The mean errors corrected 47 (coded and non-coded corrective feedback) 4.8 Students Preferences for error feedback types Seriousness of grammar problems from 55 students perspective 4.10 Students preferences for corrective feedback types 56
13 LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE NO. TITLE PAGE 4.1 Mean scores of the number of errors produced 44 across three error categories by gender 4.2 Mean of number of errors corrected by coded and 48 non-coded CF 4.3 Meann of number of errors corrected by coded and 52 non-coded CF (male respondents) 4.4 Meann of number of errors corrected by coded and 53 non-coded CF (female respondents)
14 LIST OF APPENDICES APPENDIX TITLE PAGE A Self-editing Session 1 75 B Self-editing Session 2 76 C Questionnaire 77 D Interview Questions 81 E Analysed Data 83 F Sample Essay Marked by Coded Feedback 87 G Sample Essay Marked by Non-coded Feedback 89
15 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Introduction There are a number of language scholars have debated on the efficacy of corrective feedback in teaching English as a second language to the learners (Ferris, 1999; Fathman and Whalley, 1990; Ellis 1990; Truscott, 1996). Explaining the same errors repeatedly may be intimidating to every language teacher. On the other hand, learners deserve to receive feedback from the teachers on the errors they have done and eventually learn to lessen the frequent errors based on the substantial given feedback from the teachers (Ferris, 1999). Thus, this study believes on the beauty of corrective feedback that may lead to high performance in learners ability to self-edit their L2 writing. By providing corrective feedback, eventually one will be able to improve his/her grammatical accuracy in ESL writing. As an effort to determine the best type of written corrective feedback, this study investigated types of indirect corrective feedback that give better correction in self-editing of ESL writing. As a part of this effort, students commitment in self-editing on their own writing may contribute to the success of effective corrective feedback. Teachers and
16 students should work hand in hand; the students will able to be independent writers and the teachers are not pressured to treat every error. It is a win-win situation where it needs both parties to work together. 1.2 Background of the study Traditional English Language educators would prefer having corrective feedback in writing classrooms mostly with the same intention; hoping that the students would learn their mistakes and not to repeat the same mistakes on the next writing texts. This belief has also been supported by a few studies which believe that corrective feedback has its own role in writing processes and in fact the students actually value the teachers feedback (Ferris, 2004; Lee, 2005; Sheen, 2007). On the contrary, there are also studies that have negated the beauty of having corrective feedback in writing. The sight of the red ink all over their writing is claimed as harmful and ineffective to the students affectively (Truscott, 1996). While the debate between to have or not to have the corrective feedback continues among the scholars, teachers still continue correcting their students error in the classroom. They believe that the students need the feedback to help them to be a good writer and the teachers think that they have to be responsible too, and so the error correction continues (Lee, 2005). Since ESL writing is one of the most complicated aspects of becoming proficient in the language, writing teachers should be more realistic in choosing a suitable corrective feedback for the students. For instance, Higher English Proficiency (HEP) and Lower English Proficiency (LEP) students may have different needs of corrective feedback methods. Hence, teachers should consider a few factors before
17 implementing corrective feedback in their writing classrooms and a few preliminary WH questions should be identified and clarified in choosing the best written corrective feedback. For example, who are the learners? How much information should be provided? When is the best time to give feedback? These questions should be clarified or explained before implementing the corrective feedback in writing classes (Hong, 2007). In Malaysia, corrective feedback plays a vital role when teaching English as a second language. Teachers in primary and secondary schools are required to provide sufficient feedback to students work especially for writing. English writing carries a large portion of marks in every public examination where students compositions are marked by using holistic marking scheme. Even though with the holistic marking, grammar still has its top priority in determining the composition marks. Hence, teaching writing in Malaysian public schools is seen important and inevitable where the students are required to be competent in writing. They are expected to be fluent writer as at the end of the examination as the examination result matters most. Currently, most of good students are aware on their frequent grammar errors due to lack of corrective feedback given by the teachers. Some teachers circle or underline the errors when they provide corrective feedback on students composition, in further discussion between the teachers and the students regarding the errors, the students are actually able to correct the errors with minimum input from the teachers. The students have claimed that they need more explicit input from the teachers on the corrective feedback given by the teachers rather than underlining and circling. On the other hand, some weak students may not be able to be independent on correcting the errors with minimal corrective feedback; they require explicit feedback from the teachers in order to do the correction. No matter which feedback is chosen; direct or indirect feedback, the corrective feedback in writing classrooms is seen as a helpful tool for the students to have accuracy and fluency in their writing and this has contradicted findings from some researchers who have opposed on the idea of having corrective feedback in a classroom (Truscott, 1996; Krashen, 1985). Thus, this study believes that corrective feedback has an important place in ESL classroom especially in writing and the corrective feedback could be given to them either direct or indirect. However, the question of which method is best to be applied is still a big question mark among the researchers and even to the educators. There are many
18 studies which have focused on whether or not to apply the corrective feedback on students writing and also studies on which method is the best way to apply by the teacher, but answers of these two questions are still contradicted. Majority of the language teachers would be in a dilemma of choosing the correct feedback for students writing. They are contemplating to give either direct or indirect corrective feedback on students composition texts. Hence, some teachers would diligently give explicit feedback as explicit as they could, but some would rather do it implicitly. Some studies have shown that there is no different effect between these two (Semke, 1984). However, other studies have proven that indirect feedback is more beneficial to the students compared to direct feedback (Ferris, 2002; Lalande, 1982). Direct feedback is seen beneficial to the LEP students who are unable to do self-editing (Ferris, 2002). The problem here is how far the effectiveness of corrective feedback may improve the students self-editing ability. In a writing process, editing is important as it helps the students to control error occurrences in their writing and they could be independent in detecting and correcting their errors but this phase could not be achieved effectively without a suitable corrective feedback. 1.3 Statement of the problem Language teachers are pressured by their students expectation to treat every error. Parents also have high expectation on teachers to give feedback on errors made by their children, thus, the teachers have to consider their learner types before implementing any corrective feedback in writing classrooms and they should bear in mind that there is definitely no one-size-fits-all approach. On reality, due to numerous workloads some teachers may take corrective feedback for granted. Frequent errors made by the students may contribute to less corrective feedback on students compositions. Teachers are having burnout when they have to provide the
19 same corrective feedback over and over. Some ESL teachers may not differentiate types of corrective feedback given to their students; they would just provide one type of feedback for all types of students. Looking at the needs of each student, their needs of types of feedback may vary from one and another. The students may not be able to do self-editing when the teachers fail to identify the most feasible corrective feedback to them. They would end up not doing any self-editing and wait to be spoon-fed by the teachers when the errors occur. The cycle of producing the same errors will continue and both teachers and students will be at the losing sides; the students will never be independent writers and the teachers will continue correcting the same errors. Therefore, the teachers should be alert and decisive when handling mix ability students as for instance HEP students may need less explicit feedback rather than the LEPs. Thus, the teachers should identify their learners level of English proficie ncy before they apply direct or indirect corrective feedback. Besides that, they also have to tally the feedback with the purposes of lessons. For instance, corrective feedback given in teaching rational cloze exercises probably has a different role than feedback in teaching writing tasks. Besides, the teachers should also aware on the nature of particular errors too. Errors are made mainly due to mother tongue interference or maybe because of overgeneralization of certain grammar rules. So, with these factors in mind, it leads the writing teachers to decide on applying either selective or comprehensive feedback, whether to treat the errors or not, which errors to treat and how to treat them most effectively (Makino, 1993).
20 1.4 Purpose of the study The purpose of this study was to find out which type of corrective feedback (coded or non-coded) would help students to self-edit their ESL writing. This study was also done to find out students perception towards the implementation of corrective feedback in ESL writing classroom. 1.5 Objectives of the study The objectives of this study are: 1. To find out which indirect corrective feedback (coded or non-coded) helps students to better self-edit their ESL writing. 2. To identify students perception towards the indirect corrective feedback in writing. 1.6 Research questions Based on the objectives, the following research questions are formed: 1. Which indirect corrective feedback (coded or non-coded) helps students to better self-edit their ESL writing?
21 2. What are students perception towards corrective feedback (coded and non-coded) in writing? 1.7 Significance of the study The use of corrective feedback is important in improving students writing. It is significant as the students need to have good skill in writing to become proficient in English Language. The needs of accuracy in writing are demanded in Malaysian public examinations especially for the group of students who are going to sit for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination especially the English 1119 Paper 1 which focuses on writing. This study was seen important to identify the best tool of corrective feedback to be applied in correcting students essay. Choosing the most feasible indirect corrective feedback helps the students to be independent in self-editing and at the same time it could improve teachers teaching approaches in activating the grammar competency. Gradually, the students may improve grammatical accuracy in their writing tasks. Apart from that, the study was also seen essential to help the teachers from being burnout. Writing teachers are always faced a dilemma. They want to help their students to develop in every facet of their writing, including their accuracy and control over standard written English. Yet responding to students written errors can be time consuming and tedious. Applying the most feasible indirect corrective feedback may not only help the students to be independent writers but it is also seen as one of the ways to help the teachers from being burnout. Therefore, the choice of coded or non-coded corrective feedback was significant in this research.
22 1.8 Scope of the study This study focused on a class of thirty secondary school students from a suburban school in Johor. The participants were conveniently chosen as the researcher was their English teacher and it was easy to conduct the research in the classroom where teaching and research could be done at the same time. The focuses of the study were on the coded and non-coded corrective feedback in self-editing of ESL writing and the students attitude towards corrective feedback in writing. 1.9 Definition of terms The study uses a few terms such as corrective feedback, error, indirect feedback, self-editing, form-focused corrective feedback and focused corrective feedback Corrective Feedback Corrective feedback can be defined as any indication to the learners that their use of the target language is incorrect (El Tatawy, 2002), and since it does not always provide the correct form, it will force learners to make use of their own language knowledge.
23 1.9.2 Error An error is seen as an objective evaluation of linguistic or content errors according to linguistic norms or evident misconstrual of facts, and any additional linguistic or other behaviour that the teachers have reacted to negatively or with an indication that improvement of the response is expected (Chaudron, 1986:67) Indirect Feedback Teachers give feedback by indicating the errors without correcting them explicitly. They may give the indirect feedback by underlining or circling the errors or commonly known as non-coded feedback. Some teachers may put some marks on the errors location and some use codes or symbols that are written above every error or on its margin and this is known as coded feedback (Lee, 2005) Self-Editing Editing is a process of revising or correcting a piece of writing to make it more comprehensible to the reader. Before submitting the writing, it is always a good idea to first do self-editing, even when there are people other than the writer to do the final editing and proofreading.
24 1.9.5 Form Focused Corrective Feedback Focus on form is defined as a type of instruction drawing students attention to linguistic elements as they arise incidentally in lessons where overriding focus is on meaning or communication (Lee, 2005) Focused Corrective Feedback Focused corrective feedback provides corrective feedbacks on selective forms that have been identified earlier while unfocused corrective feedback provides on comprehensive feedback that cover any kinds of errors on students texts (Frear, 2010) Chapter Summary This chapter has discussed the overview of the study, the statement of the problem, the purpose of the study, the objectives of the study, the research questions, the significance of the study, the scope of the study and the definition of terms.