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The IUP Journal of Soft Skills
The Impact of Direct Written Corrective Feedback on Low Proficiency ESL Learners’ Writing Ability
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The low proficiency learners commit errors in their writings in spite of learning English for about 10 years at school. Providing direct written corrective feedback enhances their proficiency in writing. This paper focuses on the impact of direct written corrective feedback on low proficiency learners at tertiary level. It also investigates the learners’ and teachers’ preference towards direct written corrective feedback. The participants of this study are second year BA English Literature learners of a rural arts and science college in Tamil Nadu. In order to know the teachers’ preference in providing corrective feedback, a questionnaire was administered to teachers of English in the same college. The results of the study reveal that direct written corrective feedback improved the learners’ proficiency in writing. Furthermore, the learners and teachers opted for direct written corrective feedback to improve the writing ability of learners.

 
 

Written corrective feedback plays a significant role in the process of L2 (Second Language) learning. Corrective feedback on learners’ writing can make learning more effective (Russell and Spada, 2006). Cardelle and Corno (1981) state that the more corrective feedback learners receive of their performance, the better they understand what they need to do to correct their mistakes. The understanding of why they made mistakes and how to correct such mistakes helps learners self-correct their mistakes and increases their proficiency in writing (Kulhavy, 1977). Carless (2006) affirms that learners who receive corrective feedback during the writing process have a clear sense of how well they are performing and what they need to do to improve their writing. Corrective feedback can also modify learners’ thinking toward their writing and focus their attention on the purpose of writing. Schwartz and White (2000) assert that corrective feedback can provide assessment on how well the learners accomplish the given task, as corrective feedback helps learners to narrow the gap between their actual ability and desired performance. Furthermore, corrective feedback in writing can stimulate explicit knowledge of learners (Williams, 2005).

Williams (2005) describes explicit knowledge as the knowledge of language rules that learners can articulate and provide reasons that certain rules should be applied. Learners who receive corrective feedback make use of their prior knowledge about language and writing rules that they have learned. In writing, learners apply explicit knowledge as induced by the corrective feedback on their writing. Subsequently, corrective feedback increases learners’ attention on the subject they are writing. Learners who receive feedback pay more attention to the aspects of their writing that need remediation; by doing so, they learn how to improve their proficiency in writing. The increase of attention leads to gaining accuracy in both form and content of writing (Lamberg, 1980; and Ashwell, 2000). In particular, learners who are not able to identify and correct the errors in their writing benefit from direct written corrective feedback. Direct written corrective feedback promotes learners to be aware of L2 rules and develop their writing ability by pointing out the errors and providing correct form on learners’ written script. When the teacher locates and corrects the errors in the learners’ written script, they could easily understand and internalize the correct form of the language. So, this paper focuses on the impact of direct written corrective feedback on improving the writing ability of low proficiency learners. Further, this paper analyzes the learners’ attitude and preference towards the direct written corrective feedback.

 
 

Soft Skills Journal,Need for the Study, Usefulness of Corrective Feedback, Analysis of Errors, Paired Sample t-Test.