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Vandreia Sehnem

Dr. Cecelia Cutler

M.S.Ed in TESOL
Spring, 2014

Homework #2: Teacher Feedback

This activity was developed after I observed a group of adults, level 3 ESL students, at WCC
Westchester Community College, in Younkers. The class I observed is composed of 20 (twenty)
students, but in the event of my observation only 6 (six) students were in class. This activity is
based on 1 hour and 30 minutes class observation. The subject of the class was stative verbs or
non-action verbs, which the students had already been introduced to in previous classes, and
were reviewing the subject. The objective of this activity is to describe the error correction
techniques that were observed in the class and compare it to Lysters and Rantas (1997) results.
First of all, based on chapter 12 of Vivian Cooks book Second Language Learning and
Language Teaching, and on Lysters and Rantas (1997) descriptions of error correction
techniques, and their researches findings in the field, I would like to say that error correction is
an important topic that should be given special attention by language teachers before they enter
the classroom. As Cook (2008) says Teachers have perhaps always corrected and always will.
(Cook, 2008:226) Therefore, it is important for the teachers to be aware of the correct and most
effective techniques to correct any errors that language students might do.
As described by Lyster and Ranta (1997) there are different ways of error correction:
explicit correction, recast, clarification request, metalinguistic feedback, elicitation, and
repetition.

My observation result, based on notes that I took during the class and on my own data
interpretation, regarding the different error correction techniques listed above, is described in the
box below:

Informal and totally unscientific study of feedback types from ESC 760
All Repairs:
Feedback Type

N=

Student-Generated Repairs:
N=

Recast: N= 1 (12,5%)

Elicitation: N= 0

Clarification request N= 0

Metalinguistic feedback N= 3
(37,5%)

2
3

Explicit Correction N= 4 (50%)

Repetition N= 0

The Explicit Correction examples that I observed, which occur when the teacher directly
gives the correct form for a given error, or even gives an explanation for the error, are as follows:
1.
S (Student): I suppose to take the bus.
T (Teacher): In this case suppose means think. So, you would say: I suppose I can
take the bus.
2.
S: I am own a lot of clothes.
T: You can just say: I own a lot of clothes.
S: Oh, I own a lot of clothes.
3.
S: I am thinking it is going to snow tomorrow.
T: In this case you would say: I think it is going to snow tomorrow, because you
believe it is going to snow tomorrow, it is a guess.

4.
S: I am thinking about travel to Miami.
T: You would say: I am thinking about travelling to Miami, because it is an action
you will do in the future so it has to be in the progressive form.

When it comes to Metalinguistic Feedback, which occur when the teacher tries to get the
students to think about their sentences, and fix their error by asking questions without giving the
correct form to the students right away, I have three examples:
1.
S: The little birds are thinking that the big bird should get off the wire.
T: Are the little birds just thinking that or is it and opinion that they have?
S: Opinion. The little birds think that the big bird should get off the wire.

2.
S: The big bird is having fun, but the little birds is not having fun.
T: When you are talking about more than one bird what do you say?
S: Oh, are having fun.

3.
S: I am needing to drink water.
T: Can you use the progressive with need?
S: In Spanish we would say I am needing.
T: In English we say: I need to drink water.

About Recast, that occur when the teacher repeats the students sentence in the correct
form, I just observed one example during the class:
1.
S: The second one is more better.

T: The second one is better.


These are all the examples of error correction that I observed in the class. I can say that
my results are very different from Lysters and Rantas (1997) results. They found out that over
half of the time teachers use Recast in error correction (55%), while during the class that I
observed the teacher used the Explicit Correction, in half of the time (50%) that she corrected her
students. Also, the Recast just appeared one time during the observation, 12,5 % of the time, if
compared to the other error correction ways used in the class. In addition, comparing the results
Lyster and Ranta (1997) found out that the Recast (55%) comes in first place among the error
correction techniques, followed by the Elicitation Feedback, Clarification Requests (11%),
Metalinguistic Feedback (8%), Explicit Correction (7%), and Repetition (5%). On the other
hand, my results bring Explicit Correction in the first place (50 %), followed by the
Metalinguistic Feedback (37,5%), and Recast (12,5%). There was no use of Elicitation Feedback,
Clarification Feedback, and Repetition during the class that I observed.
Furthermore, considering my results after the observation, regarding the studentgenerated repairs, I agree with Lyster and Ranta (1997) when they explain that [] recasts and
explicit correction did not result in student-generated repair at all. (Lyster and Randa, 1997) The
only student-generated repairs I observed, occurred when the teacher used the Metalinguistic
Feedback, asking questions to the students and making them find out the correct answer.
To conclude, I would like to say that the error correction can be helpful in the second
language learning process. Therefore, language teachers should be aware of the different error
correction techniques and use them properly in the classroom in order to bring positive results in
the students second language acquisition process.
References:

COOK, Vivian. Second Language Learning and Language Teaching. Routledge,


fourth edition, 2008.
Lyster, R, & Ranta, L. 1997. Corrective feedback and learner uptake+ Studies in
Second Language Acquisition, 19, 3766