Research Article Critique: A Critique on Bitchener

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The objectives of this study were: “(1) to investigate whether targeted corrective feedback on ESL student writing results in improved accuracy in new pieces of writing over a 2-month period and (2) to investigate whether there is a differential effect on accuracy for different corrective feedback options.” (p.103)

Methods and results
This study aimed to answer the following questions:
1. Does accuracy in the use of two functions of the English article system vary over time?
2. Does accuracy in the use of these features vary according to the type of corrective feedback provided?
3. Does accuracy in the use of these features vary as a result of the interaction of feedback type and time?
Seventy five low intermediate level ESL students studying at two language schools in Auckland, New Zealand participated in this study as the subjects. The students had different L1 backgrounds, had studied English for 8 years, and had the average age of 22.7 years. They were randomly assigned into four different groups: group 1 received direct corrective feedback plus written and oral metalinguistic explanation (Direct CF + W&O), group 2 received direct corrective feedback and written metalinguistic explanation (Direct CF + W), group 3 received direct corrective feedback without additional metalinguistic explanation (Direct CF only), and group 4 did not receive at all (No CF).
Written metalinguistic given in this study was in the form of short explanation of the use of articles supplemented with some examples. Oral metalinguistic explanation was a 30-minutes lesson in which the researcher explained the rules and example about the use of articles that the students had on their returned writings, including also a short exercise in which students wer...

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...esearcher in this study. First, it might be helpful for teachers to help students by giving mini lesson as the supplemental lesson for writing class. He further maintained that this mini lesson would also help teacher to save their time because they do not have to give one on one conference to discuss certain grammatical difficulties that students have. Second, teacher should employ single focus approach in delivering feedback. Teacher may discuss with students to determine on what grammatical features the feedback should be focused. After the feedback have been given for some time and the teacher starts to notice some improvements, then the focus could be shifted on another difficulties, including content, organization, etc.

Works Cited

Bitchener, J. (2008). Evidence in support of written corrective feedback. Journal of Second Language Writing, 17, 102-118.

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