The Effects of Focused vs. Unfocused Written Teacher Correction on the Grammatical Accuracy of Iranian EFL Undergraduates

| August 14, 2012
Title
The Effects of Focused vs. Unfocused Written Teacher Correction on
the Grammatical Accuracy of Iranian EFL Undergraduates

Keywords: Written corrective feedback, Focused written correction, Unfocused
written correction.
learning.

Authors
Masoome Karimi and Zahra Fotovatnia
English Department
Najafabad Branch, Islamic Azad University
Iran

Bio Data
Masoome Karimi holds an M.A. in TEFL from Islamic Azad University, Najafabad
Branch, Iran. Her areas of interest are applied linguistics and second language
acquisition, in particular, the role of form-focused instruction and corrective feedback
in language learning. She has taught as a lecturer about two years at different
universities in Iran: Islamic Azad University of Shahrekord, Islamic Azad University
of Shahrekord: Sama Faculty, Payame Noor University: Shahrekord and Boroojen
branches, and Elmi Karbordi University: Payam Branch.
Zahra Fotovatnia is Assistant Professor in the English Department of Islamic Azad
University, Najafabad Branch, Iran. Her areas of interest are psycholinguistics,
pedagogical phonetics and phonology. She has published in some national and
international journals and presented papers at conferences.

Abstract
Building on Sheen et al.’s (2009) study on the differential effects of focused and
unfocused written correction on the accurate use of grammatical forms, this study
aims to investigate the relative efficacy of two types of written corrective feedback
(CF) on the accurate use of 5 grammatical structures by adult intermediate EFL
learners of English. Using three intact classes including 82 students, three groups
were formed: focused written CF group (FG, n=28), unfocused written group (UG,
n=27), and control group (CG, n=27). Following a pretest-immediate posttest-delayed
posttest design, the focused group received correction of just subject-verb agreement
errors on two narratives while the unfocused group received the correction of errors
related to prepositions, plural s, articles, possessive s, and subject-verb agreement. A
series of one-way ANOVAs with post-hoc comparisons at the significance level of
0.05 indicated that the two experimental groups gained in grammatical accuracy over
time in some immediate posttests. That is the UG outperformed the CG concerning
positions, and both the UG and FG outperformed regarding plural s, and in nearly all
the delayed posttests on prepositions and plural s. This suggested that CF was often
equally effective for the focused and unfocused groups. The FG achieved the highest
accuracy scores for just articles, instead of subject-verb agreement that is the focus of
instruction. This result can be explained by reason of uncontrollable intervening
variables such as individual differences. Overall, these results suggest that written
correction feedback is of broad pedagogic value, and focused CF and unfocused CF
can equally contribute to the grammatical accuracy in L2 writing.

[private] See page: 42-59

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