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Second Article Review

Review of Colleen Brice's "ESL writers' reactions to teacher commentary: A case study".

The research concerning three different second language students’ response to written feedback is carried out at Purdue University, Indiana . The purpose of the research is to analyze the diverse attitudes and behaviors of the students towards the teacher’s feedback on prose compositions. Therefore the researcher plans three research questions for this qualitative research regarding the kinds of teacher-written feedback that students understand and the kinds that they have trouble understanding, the kinds of teacher-written feedback that students like best and least on their drafts, and the kinds of teacher-written feedback that students find most and least useful in helping them to revise drafts and write future essays.

The researcher uses different types of data collectors for the methodology of the study. The main instrument used is the direct observation. The researcher video records the three different students’ participation and reactions to the teacher’s comments (feedback) on their compositions after delivering a first and a second revised draft of them. The students are asked to read and follow the normal procedure that they would do it in a normal class when receiving their drafts already checked by the teacher. The researcher then, interviews each one of the three students. The participants are encouraged to say and describe all of their thoughts about the feedback. The results demonstrate two main patterns through the three students’ attitude and responses to the teacher’s comments or feedback. First, students seem to be involved in reading the teacher’s comments. Each one of the students attends the indications that the teacher provides on their papers. The success of the feedback can be seen on their second and final drafts, on which two of the participants use effectively
the implicit cues that the teacher provides. Finally, all the participants suffer a certain frustration about the correction system, due to they use to forget some of the symbols that he teacher uses to identify the errors in an implicit or indirect way. Students claim for explicit feedback on writing.

The researcher uses a taxonomy that examines the function of each one of the comments that the teacher provides on the papers, in order to analyze the information collected. This taxonomy divides the comments into “Explicit” and “Implicit”. The explicit category denotes direct feedback, that is, the identification and correction of the error. On the other hand, the implicit represents indirect feedback, on which the teacher just indicates the error, letting students to identify and correct it (Ferris, 2004).

The analyzed article demonstrates a case study on three different students with different methods and learning techniques. However, the researcher shows two different patterns encountered during the research. Even when the results cannot provide a generalization among all second language students, for the reason that it is a case study, the research indicates that first, students need explicit or direct feedback in order to understand the mistakes they are committing and secondly, students do attend teacher’s indications whether they are direct or indirect. The methodology followed on the research helps teachers that are interested on the analysis of the different types of feedback and the responses of the students. For the UAA students, the application of different types of feedback will help the researcher in order to gather enough information about the attitudes, behaviors and responses of the students towards written feedback or error correction. After the analysis of this information using methods such as the mentioned in the article like interviews with some of the students; in order to decide the most appropriate kind of feedback to apply on university students.

Ferris, D. (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. pp. 49-62.

First Article Review

Review of Mohammad Aliakbari and Arman Toni’s “On the effects of error correction strategies on the grammatical accuracy of the Iranian English learners”

The article contains the process of an investigation carried out in an Iranian institution, about the use of three different correction strategies regarding the field of grammar accuracy on EFL students. The error correction strategies analyzed are direct and indirect feedback. Direct feedback refers to the identification and explicit correction of the error. Indirect coded error correction happens when the teacher identifies the error and provides cues of the type of error. And finally on indirect uncoded error correction, the teacher just indicates the error, letting students to identify and correct it. (Ferris, 2004). The purpose of the research is the evaluation of the efficacy of error correction strategies on students, due to the importance of grammar when learning a second language. The research question planned for this study states the comparison between direct and indirect feedback and the impact of coded and uncoded error correction on learners’ grammar accuracy. Therefore, the hypothesis derived from the research question states that indirect feedback does not make significant contribution to grammar accuracy on second language learners in contrast to direct feedback.

For this quantitative investigation, the teachers apply direct and indirect feedback to 60 students’ compositions to identify the most effective error correction technique on second language learners. Within the indirect feedback, coded and uncoded error correction are also applied to students’ writing. The research begins with a pretest on which students are divided into three groups; considering carefully the level and needs of the learners, as well as their profile. For the first two groups, the indirect feedback is applied; one group receives coded correction, and the other takes uncoded. On the other hand, the third group is carried as a control group and the grammar feedback conducted is the direct correction of grammar errors. What were the findings of this study?

After eight weeks of applying the different feedback strategies to the three groups, the results indicate that the indirect coded error correction has a bigger impact on grammar accuracy on second language students that the uncoded error correction and even also on the direct feedback. This goes in your second paragraph. Moreover, the group on which indirect coded correction is applied demonstrates no significant difference in grammar efficiency than the direct error correction strategy. A number of studies compares the effects of different methods of error correction with one another, however, it is complicated for researchers to compare direct and indirect feedback in L2 student writing. (Ferris, 2004). 

As a conclusion, correcting errors on writing helps students to develop their accuracy on the second language learning process, however, the need to know how and when to apply it develops this investigation. The differences between these three grammar error correction strategies on second language students, are exposed in the article. Many researches exist regarding the field of grammar feedback or error correction; nevertheless, additional research on this field is needed. For the “Fomento al Segundo Idioma Level 1” group at the Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes, (U.A.A.) <(UAA) grammar accuracy will be evaluated using direct and indirect error correction or feedback, thus, this article provides a support on the U.A.A. students’ grammar proficiency research.  The research process carried out in this article also provides a guide for further investigations regarding grammar error correction on second language field; in order for teachers to decide what kind of grammar error correction apply in different contexts.


Ferris, D. (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. pp. 49-62.


  • Case Study:

Brice, C. (1995). ESL writers’ reactions to teacher commentary: A case study. (Annual meeting of the teachers of English to speakers of other languages).

  • Research Paper:

Simpson, J. (2006). Feedback on writing: Changing EFL students' attitudes.TESL Canada Journal / Revue TESL du Canada, 24-1. pp. 96-112.

  • Action Research:

Norris, S. (1995). Responding to the adult ESL writer: A teacher-as-researcher case study. (Annual meeting of the Sunshine state teachers of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL).

  • Field Study:

Mayo, M. and Pica, T. (2000). Is the EFL environment a language learning environment? Working papers in educational linguistics, 16-1. pp 1-24.

  • Literature Paper:

Hogg, I. (1998). Marrying form and function: A place for grammar and total target language in the secondary modern foreign languages classroom. (Occasional paper. Centre for language education).