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A study of corrective feedback and uptake patterns as observed in four foreign language classrooms at selected mid-western public schools

Anastassia S McNulty, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Language acquisition educators have been interested in error research and corrective feedback for decades, particularly in the determination of feedback types that are most effective for practical application in foreign language classrooms. Unfortunately, a unified approach, in this regard has yet to emerge, leading to confusion at the practical level. Second language teachers find it difficult to access definitive research regarding proven strategies for providing successful corrective feedback in their classrooms. Furthermore, little or no research has focused on the secondary foreign language acquisition classroom. Most studies have been conducted in either language immersion programs or in English as a Second Language classrooms. Hence, there is a substantial need for research regarding the practical application of feedback in secondary foreign language teaching. This study, which consisted of comprehensive observations of four secondary school foreign language classrooms, attempted to address the aforementioned lack of research. It focused on the impact that corrective feedback strategies had on student learning, seeking answers to the following questions. What are the most common corrective feedback types that secondary foreign language teachers use in their classrooms and which of these types most frequently led to successful or non-successful immediate uptake? Among the more important results of the study were that Recast was the most commonly used feedback type, yet it was least effective in terms of student uptake, while the most successful feedback: Repetition, Metalinguistic, Elicitation and Clarification were least used by the teachers. Since this study was seminal in nature (secondary classroom focus), more in-depth studies should be conducted more frequently. Suggestions for further study included studies that would: (a) observe more classrooms over a longer period of time, (b) explore the impact of teachers' experiences and beliefs on feedback success, (c) focus on long-term retention of students' repair in response to different feedback types, and (d) test the effectiveness of the lesser used, but more effective feedback types identified in this study.

Subject Area

Language arts|Language|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

McNulty, Anastassia S, "A study of corrective feedback and uptake patterns as observed in four foreign language classrooms at selected mid-western public schools" (2007). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3252838.