Corrective feedback in L2 writing: theoretical perspectives, empirical insights, and future directions
International Journal of English Studies
Number of pages
Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
The role of (written) corrective feedback (CF) in the process of acquiring a second language (L2) has been an issue of considerable
controversy among theorists and researchers alike. Although CF is a widely applied pedagogical tool and its use finds support
in SLA theory, practical and theoretical objections to its usefulness have been raised (e.g. Truscott, 1996; 1999; 2004; 2007;
2009). In the present paper, I start by summarizing the theoretical arguments underpinning the use of CF in L2 classrooms.
Subsequently, the objections raised against error correction are reviewed, and some controversies concerning different CF
methodologies and error types are discussed. Next, the paper provides a critical summary of the findings produced by empirical
work to date, and sketches out some of the issues that need to be attended to in future research. Based on the available empirical
evidence, I conclude that, by offering learners opportunities to notice the gaps in their developing L2 systems, test interlanguage
hypotheses, and engage in metalinguistic reflection, written CF has the ability to foster SLA and to lead to accuracy development.
Keywords: written corrective feedback, error correction, second language writing, accuracy development, second language
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