Corrective feedback, or the treatment of learner errors, describes the tools of a teacher’s trade. Too much correction may discourage learners while too little may lead learners to habitual or embedded errors in their use of the target language.

 

According to Lyster and Ranta (1997, pp. 46-49), a taxonomy of corrective feedback can be described as follows:

 

1. Explicit correction refers to the explicit condition of the correct form. As the teacher provides the correct form, he or she clearly indicates that what the student said was incorrect.

 

2. Recasts involve the teacher’s reformulation of all or part of a student utterance, minus the error.

 

3. Clarification requests indicate to students either the teacher has misunderstood their utterance or that the utterance is ill formed in some way and that a reformulation is necessary.

 

4. Metalinguistic Feedback contains either comments, information, or questions related to the well-formedness of the student’s utterance, without explicitly providing the correct form.

 

5. Elicitation has three different techniques as teachers:

 

a. Elicit completion of their own utterance by strategically pausing to allow students to “fill in the blank” as it were.

 

b. Use questions to elicit the forms

 

c. Ask students to reformulate their utterance

 

6. Repetition refers to the teacher’s repetition, in isolation, of the student’s erroneous utterance. In most cases, teachers adjust their intonation so as to highlight the error

 

Lyster, R. & Ranta, L. (1997). Corrective feedback and learner uptake: negotiation of form in communicative classrooms. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 19, 37-66.

 

A broader and simplified list of feedback strategies and examples is created below (TLW).

Note that most strategies may be used in student to student interaction as well as by a teacher:

 

1) Explicit correction: (No, you need past tense for that)... straight forward correction...

 

2) Recasts: (I see... THEY are chickenS)... this is simply to restate student errors using acceptable forms...

 

3) Clarification requests: (Do you mean ________ ?)... trying to get at the heart of the matter, the gist of what the other is trying to say…

 

4) Metalinguistic explanation/exploration (Meta Talk): (Past tense uses regular and irregular forms)... an outright grammar 'mini-lesson'.

 

5) Elicitation: (Tell me about the picture... What do you DO?)... an attempt to engage the student in target language by asking questions…

 

6) Repetition: (Oh, you went there... or with error: Goed?)... in the first case, a form of agreement, in the other, a mirroring of  error...

 

7) Confirmation checks: (Did you say _________ ?)... trying to establish joint understanding so the conversation can develop...

 

8) Comprehension checks: (Do you understand?, Is that right?)... trying to receive feedback about the clarity of overall meaning...

 

9) Rephrasing: (Oh, you stayed home from school yesterday...)... aims to expand the student’s knowledge or to polish the utterance...

 

10) Back-channeling: (Oh my! Really? or Hmmm...)... a summons to continue or signal that our interest is piqued, that we’re listening...

 

11) Paralanguage: includes pitch, volume, and intonation, as well as gestures and facial expressions (‘body language’) and may not necessarily be tied to speech. This is a complex and often overlooked form of communication. Worthy of further contemplation.

~ TLW Curricular Approach page ~

~ List of Feedback Types and Descriptions ~

 

 

 

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