EXPLICIT WRITTEN CORRECTIVE FEEDBACK AND LANGUAGE APTITUDE IN SLA: IMPLICATIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT OF LINGUISTIC ACCURACY
Benson, Susan Dianne
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Most second language researchers agree that there is a role for corrective feedback in second language writing classes. However, many unanswered questions remain concerning which linguistic features to target and the type and amount of feedback to offer. This study examined two new pieces of writing by 151 learners of English as a Second Language (ESL), in order to investigate the effect of direct and metalinguistic written feedback on errors with the simple past tense, the present perfect tense, dropped pronouns, and pronominal duplication. This inquiry also considered the extent to which learner differences in language-analytic ability (LAA), as measured by the LLAMA F, mediated the effects of these two types of explicit written corrective feedback. Learners in the feedback groups were provided with corrective feedback on two essays, after which learners in all three groups completed two additional writing tasks to determine whether or not the provision of corrective feedback led to greater gains in accuracy compared to no feedback. Both treatment groups, direct and metalinguistic, performed better than the comparison group on new pieces of writing immediately following the treatment sessions, yet direct feedback was more durable than metalinguistic feedback for one structure, the simple past tense. Participants with greater LAA proved more likely to achieve gains in the direct feedback group than in the metalinguistic group, whereas learners with lower LAA benefited more from metalinguistic feedback. Overall, the findings of the present study confirm the results of prior studies that have found a positive role for written corrective feedback in instructed second language acquisition.