Don't Get It Right, Just Get It Written: Making Feedback Work

Don't Get It Right, Just Get It Written: Making Feedback Work

Omar Al Noursi (Institute of Applied Technology, UAE)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6619-1.ch013


Writing is an essential skill for students, as it helps them meet persistently changing social and academic demands. They are often evaluated based on written assignments, reports, term papers, and essays. For second and foreign language learners, mastering writing is a very challenging task. Therefore, many of them find it the most difficult of the four skills. To encourage students to develop this crucial skill and consolidate their learning, providing them with clear feedback is essential. Most ESL and EFL teachers perceive feedback as paramount for students' improvement in this vital skill. However, providing effective feedback is a complex process, as many factors and issues have to be considered. This chapter deals with feedback from different angles. The aim is to demonstrate to teachers the most effective ways and alternatives of giving feedback with the aim of guiding them to choose what works best for their students under various circumstances.
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The Role Of Feedback In Esl/Efl Writing

Responding to students’ written work is a means of assisting them to write better, develop useful revision strategies, nurture confidence and think more systematically. Teachers comments are essential if not indispensable for students revising and rewriting their compositions. The role of feedback in formative assessment has been reported as very positive for improving the quality and quantity of learners’ written work, especially if given while students are in the process of writing drafts.

Tummons (2005) lists a set of feedback’s benefits. It helps:

  • To facilitate learning

  • To see whether learning has taken place

  • To provide comment for students concerning their progress, clarifying what they need to do to improve, extend or enhance learning

  • To diagnose students’ needs or barriers to learning and to inform necessary changes to the curriculum (pp. 34-5).

Knight and Yorke (2003) add to the list, saying that feedback also helps “to encourage emancipation by alerting the student to possibilities which they may not have hitherto discerned ... and to move the student into richer intellectual territory” (p. 35-36).

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