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VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY – HOCHIMINH CITY

UNIVERSITY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES & HUMANITIES


FACULTY OF ENGLISH LINGUISTICS & LITERATURE

AN INVESTIGATION INTO ADULT LEARNERS’ AND


TEACHERS’ PREFERENCES FOR ORAL
CORRECTIVE FEEDBACK
IN ENGLISH FOR COMMUNICATION CLASSES

A project report submitted to the


Faculty of English Linguistics & Literature
in partial fulfillment of the Master’s degree in TESOL

By
VU MAI PHUONG

Instructed by
Le Hoang Dung, PhD
Nguyen Thi Kieu Thu, PhD
Chu Thi Le Hoang, PhD

HO CHI MINH CITY, JULY 2015


Table of Contents
ABSTRACT………………………………………………………………… ............... 3
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION…………………………………………. ............... 4
1.1 Background to the study ...................................................................................... 4

1.2 Aims of the study ................................................................................................. 5

1.3 Research questions ............................................................................................... 5

1.4 Significance of the study...................................................................................... 5

1.5 Scope of the study ................................................................................................ 6

1.6 Outline of the project report ................................................................................. 6

CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW…………………………………… ............. 8


2.1 Corrective feedback ............................................................................................. 8

2.1.1 The contribution of CF to L2 learning and acquisition................................. 9

2.1.2 CF types ........................................................................................................ 9

2.1.3 The timing of CF ......................................................................................... 12

2.1.4 CF providers................................................................................................ 12

2.1.5 Error types ................................................................................................... 13

2.2 Teachers’ and learners’ perceptions of oral CF ................................................. 13

2.3 Conceptual framework ....................................................................................... 15

CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY…………………………………………. ............. 16


3.1 Research questions ............................................................................................. 16

3.2 Research design ................................................................................................. 16

3.3 Research site and participants ............................................................................ 16

3.3.1 The learner subjects .................................................................................... 16

3.3.2 The teacher subjects .................................................................................... 17

3.4 Instruments ......................................................................................................... 18

3.4.1 Questionnaire to the learners .......................................................................... 18

3.4.2 Questionnaire to the teachers .......................................................................... 19

3.5 Data collection procedure .................................................................................. 19


3.6 Data analysis procedure ..................................................................................... 19

CHAPTER 4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION…………………………… .............. 21


4.1 Analysis of data.................................................................................................. 21

4.1.1 General preferences for oral CF .................................................................. 21

4.1.2 The timing of oral CF ................................................................................. 22

4.1.3 CF types ...................................................................................................... 23

4.1.4 CF providers................................................................................................ 24

4.1.5 Types of errors ............................................................................................ 24

4.2 Discussion of results .......................................................................................... 26

4.2.1 General preferences for correction of spoken errors ................................... 26

4.2.2 The timing of oral CF ................................................................................. 27

4.2.3 CF types ...................................................................................................... 27

4.2.4 CF providers................................................................................................ 28

4.2.5 Types of errors ............................................................................................ 28

4.3 Summary of major findings ............................................................................... 29

CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION………………………………………………............ 31
5.1 Conclusion ......................................................................................................... 31

5.2 Pedagogical implications ................................................................................... 31

5.3 Limitation of the study ....................................................................................... 31

5.4 Recommendation for further study .................................................................... 32

REFERENCES………………………………………………………………. ........... 33
APPENDICES……………………………………………………………. ................ 36
Appendix 1: The questionnaire on oral corrective feedback (Student version)....... 36

Appendix 2: The questionnaire on oral corrective feedback (Teacher version) ...... 38


LIST OF TABLES
Table 1 Demographic Characteristics of Learner Subjects
Table 2 Demographic Characteristics of Learner Subjects
Table 3 General preferences for oral CF
Table 4 Preferences for the timing of oral CF
Table 5 Preferences for CF types
Table 6 Preferences for CF providers
Table 7 Types of errors ranked in order of importance by the learners
Table 8 Types of errors ranked in order of importance by the teachers
Table 9 Differences between students’ preferences and teachers’ perceptions
Table 10 Similarities and differences between teachers’ and learners’
preferences

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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1 Continuum of CF types in order of explicitness
Figure 2 Conceptual framework

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ABSTRACT

The present paper reports the results of a descriptive study on preferences for oral corrective

feedback (CF) particularly concerning whether, when, which, how, and by whom errors

should be corrected, addressing from the perspectives of both teachers and learners in English

for Communication classes. The research involves collecting data from 79 adult learners and

27 teachers in an English language center using questionnaires. It can be inferred from the

results that although both teachers and learners have positive attitudes towards oral CF, adult

learners showed a greater preference for it than teachers thought. The learners reported that

they preferred immediate CF while the teachers did not concur with that expectation.

Disagreement between learners and teachers regarding their beliefs about grammatical errors

also arose, with the learners emphasizing the importance of grammatical error’s treatment

more than the teachers. Another discrepancy was found between the teachers and learners

regarding their preferences for explicit correction and teachers as CF providers. Based on the

research findings, the paper will conclude with some pedagogical implications and a

recommendation for further study in the line of research on oral CF.

Keywords: oral corrective feedback, adult learners, preferences

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the study

For Vietnamese students who have been mostly exposed to the Grammar Translation
Method at secondary and high schools, speaking is always the most challenging task. Making
phonological, grammatical, lexical and discourse errors is inevitable during their
communication process in English. Therefore, an important principle of teaching speaking is
that in addition to providing opportunities for practice, it is not only productive but also
critical to give learners appropriate feedback so that they can learn from their mistakes and
have “good models of speaking and interaction” (Goh, 2012, p.23). In that way, being a
feedback-provider is considered one of significant roles that a teacher needs to fulfill during
his or her instructional practices. However, teachers’ responses to learners’ errors still rely
heavily on their intuition rather than any prescribed principles (Ellis, 2009). All teachers, in
some time of their career, may agonize about whether, when and how to give oral corrective
feedback (CF) effectively to different types of learners in different pedagogical contexts.
Individual learner differences such as age, gender, learning styles or language
learning aptitudes have been acknowledged to be among contributory factors mediating the
effectiveness of CF (Rezaei, Mozaffari & Hatef, 2011). Particularly, learners’ age was
attributed to the pedagogical effectiveness of oral CF (Lyster & Saito, 2010). Given that CF
is provided for the benefit of learners, it is worthwhile that teachers are well aware of how
and when learners at different ages would prefer to be corrected. In Vietnam the number of
adults studying nonacademic English as a foreign language represents a significant segment
of learners in adult education programs. CF especially for adult learners is not a simple task
since it requires considerable tact as well as sensible decisions in the part of a teacher right
after an error in an utterance has been noticed. Thus, teachers’ instructional practices of CF
tend to rely on their pedagogical perspectives (Russel, 2009), as well as their past classroom
learning and teaching experiences (Agudo, 2014) while learners enter the classroom with a
variety of beliefs and expectations (Ellis, 1994) which might clash with those of their
teachers. Therefore, discovering learners’ attitudes towards and preferences for error
correction is an essential effort to resolve this dilemma.
One of the important areas of study on corrective feedback is the exploration of
learners’ and teachers’ perceptions which can make significant contributions and
improvements to pedagogical practices. Han (2002) posited that in communicative language
teaching, CF may significantly enhance the learning process only when the teacher can bridge

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the gap “between a teacher’s intention and a student’s interpretation”, and “between a
teacher’s correction and a student’s readiness for it” (p.24). However, the amount of research
to date on this respect is surprisingly limited, which creates a serious literature gap needed to
be filled (Russel, 2009). The current study, therefore, is motivated by the lack of empirical
research comparing the learners’ and teachers’ preferences of oral CF in Vietnamese EFL
contexts.
While CF clearly involves in both oral and written discourse, this study focuses
mainly on oral aspect which has been considered to be more challenging for both researchers
and teachers in the process of error correction (Ok & Ustacı, 2013). Compared to written one,
oral CF serves a more significant role in providing explanation or clarification for learners to
take better notice of their errors. Oral CF, for this reason, is well worth investigating in
different EFL contexts so that pedagogical suggestions can be invoked for effective treatment
of oral errors.

1.2 Aims of the study

Due to the unbalance in research on those issues mentioned above in the domain of
error correction, the objectives of the proposed study are firstly, to identify EFL teachers’ and
adult learners’ perceptions of effective oral CF and secondly, to compare these perceptions to
explore how they coincide or differ from each other.

1.3 Research questions

In order to achieve the aforementioned aims, the three research questions below form
the central core of this study:
1. What are EFL adult learners’ preferences for oral corrective feedback?
2. What are EFL teachers’ preferences for oral corrective feedback?
3. Are there any significant differences between EFL adult learners’ preferences and
teachers’ preferences for oral corrective feedback?

1.4 Significance of the study

The necessity for comparative studies of learner and teacher views on CF have been
accentuated by Schulz (2001) when he stated that “language learning could be hindered if
learners have specific beliefs regarding the role of grammar and corrective feedback and if
their expectations are not met” (p.256). This argument has drawn widespread support among
researchers (Lyster, Saito & Sato, 2013; Sarab & Naeim, 2013). Thus, the significance of this

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research lies in its potential contribution to the insights into oral CF from the perspective of
teachers and learners as well.
Furthermore, some authorities in the field have endeavored to propose some general
guidelines in giving CF in the classroom. However, how learners and teachers perceive the
practice of error treatment may have considerable influence on the effectiveness of those
guidelines. Findings from the research on teachers’ and learners’ perceptions of CF, in
combination with those from the CF effectiveness research, may exert positive effects on
teaching practice and learning behaviors (Lyster et al., 2013). The present study will
hopefully provide EFL teachers and ELT practitioners with helpful information on common
perceptions and preferences for oral CF among adult EFL learners.
Finally, based on the results of the study, EFL teachers can benefit by taking time to
reflect on their experience of CF. Vásquez and Harvey (2010), in an endeavor to raise
graduate students’ awareness about CF through a classroom-based research replication, noted
that teachers’ perceptions of CF are just limited to affective dimension of error correction – in
other words, their major concern just centered on learners’ feelings, self-esteem and
motivation when giving CF. In fact, there exists other aspects of CF which require teachers
to have more sophisticated understanding of this issue. It is expected that this study can
encourage language teachers to become more aware of their own current practices so that
they can figure out their own effective ways to give oral CF.

1.5 Scope of the study

The current research has made no attempt to define any standards on whether, when,
which, or how student errors should be corrected. It confines itself to explore and compare
the preferences expressed by the teachers and learners for oral CF concerning the timing, CF
strategies, types of errors and CF providers at Hochiminh City University of Pedagogy
Foreign Language Centre – Branch 4 without extensive discussion on the effectiveness of
different CF types.

1.6 Outline of the project report

This paper is organized into five chapters. Chapter 1 describes the background to the
study, states the aims, the significance and the scope of the study, and thus, frames the
research questions. In the next chapter, chapter 2, the CF literature concerning the potential
contribution of CF to L2 learning and acquisition, CF types, choice of error types, CF
providers and timing for CF is presented. Chapter 3 includes a description of the

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methodology employed in the research involving research design, research site, participants,
data collection instruments and procedure. Included in chapter 4 is the analysis of data and
the research findings as well as a discussion of results. Finally, a conclusion, some
pedagogical implications and a recommendation for further study are embraced in chapter 5.

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CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Corrective feedback

Feedback, as suggested by Lynch (1996), generally entails (1) cognitive feedback


which comments on the comprehensibility or accuracy of learner utterances and (2) affective
feedback in which the teacher expresses approval or disapproval for what the learner has said.
Corrective feedback is the term concerning “how competent speakers react to learners’
language errors” (Lyster & Ranta, 1997, p.38). In classroom settings, CF is specifically
defined as the teacher’s response to a learner utterance which contain language errors so that
those errors can be noticed and corrected. CF can be provided either in written or in oral
form, explicitly or implicitly.
Throughout the annals of pedagogical theory, how the teacher responds to student
errors has been repeatedly reviewed among principles in various teaching methods. In the
Grammar-Translation Method, the teacher is directly responsible for giving learners explicit
correction. The Direct Method, on the other hand, appreciates self-correction and therefore,
the teacher is expected to get students to self-correct by any means possible. In the Audio-
Lingual Method, student errors are avoided at all costs and thus, immediate CF is essential
whenever errors occur. Errors are most tolerated from the perspective of the Communicative
Approach. Consequently, there is a general consensus among Communicative Language
Teaching practitioners that tolerance of errors should be emphasized in fluency-based
sessions and noticed later with an accuracy-based activity (Larsen-Freeman & Anderson,
2011).
In the extensive literature on the area of CF, there have been various attempts in
search for relevant answers to the below issues: (1) the contribution of CF to L2 learning and
acquisition, (2) the efficacy of different CF types, (3) the timing of CF, (4) the choice of CF
providers, and (5) the choice of errors to correct. These issues has become the framing
questions for a majority of research on error correction in foreign language classroom since
they were first raised by Hendrickson in 1978. However, over the past three decades it is
fairly to say that there has been no one single agreement upon none of those matters. One of
the reasons for the lack of consensus on the CF research is attributed to the numerous
variables which are claimed to mediate its effectiveness.

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2.1.1 The contribution of CF to L2 learning and acquisition

A marked characteristic of oral CF is that it may or may not be noticed by the learner.
There exists more research confirming the facilitative role of CF on language accuracy than
fluency, and on written errors than oral ones. The practice of oral CF in the teaching of
second language speaking has generated several studies with contrasting views: those that
consider it to be beneficial and those that see it as discouraging and thus, potentially
detrimental. Most existing research literature so far has advocated the pedagogical
effectiveness of corrective feedback in various instructional contexts. A recent study by Sato
and Lyster (2012) yielded conflicting findings, suggesting that CF does not impede, but may
have contributed to learners’ fluency development. The lack of appropriate feedback is
identified as one of the reasons which accounts for the low motivation on the part of students
to take part in classroom tasks involving speaking (Nunan, 1999). Considering the fact that
corrective feedback is of paramount importance in learners’ approaching “native-like”
competence (Saville-Troike, 2006), it should, therefore, become a crucial component of
second language learning pedagogy

2.1.2 CF types

In Lyter and Ranta’s study (1997), six types of feedback employed by the teacher
participants were distinguished and discussed in detail, including explicit correction, recasts,
clarification requests, metalinguistic feedback, elicitation, and repetition.
 Explicit correction
As the name suggested, in explicit correction, the learner is directly informed that his
or her answer was incorrect, then the correct form is provided by the teacher.
(1) L: On May.
T: Not on May, in May. We say, “It will start in May.”
 Metalinguistic feedback
This type of CF is further subcategorized into metalinguistic comments,
metalinguistic information and metalinguistic questions.
(2) L: Yesterday rained.
T: Yesterday it rained. You need to include the pronoun “it” before the verb. In
English we need “it” before this type of verb related to weather.

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 Elicitation
Another strategy to provide CF is elicitation which prompts the learners to self-repair.
The teacher indicates the learner’s error without explicitly providing the correct form.
(3) L: I’ll come if it will not rain.
T: I’ll come if it….?
 Recasts
The teacher reformulates a part or whole of the learner’s utterance when including the
correct form in his/her response. Learners are likely to be unaware that they have committed
errors nor that their errors are being corrected.
(4) L: I went there two times.
T: You’ve been. You’ve been there twice as a group?
 Repetition
The teacher repeats a part or whole of the learner’s utterance with different intonation
patterns to make errors noticeable.
(5) L: I eated a sandwich.
T: I EATED a sandwich?
 Clarification requests
The feedback indicating that what the learner has produced is erroneous comes under
the form of phrases such as “Pardon?” or questions including a repetition of the error as in
“What do you mean by X?” (Lyster et al., 1997).
(6) L: How many years do you have?
T: Could you say that again?
In order to identify the types of oral CF which the participants perceive to be effective
in language learning, the continuum of CF types in order of explicitness below will be
employed due largely to its rich variety of CF strategies, its simplicity and comprehensibility
in terms of coding and classification. According to this categorization, reformulations
including recasts and explicit correction are readily distinguishable from prompts (i.e.
clarification requests, repetition, elicitation, and metalinguistic clues) by their revelation of
correction. Furthermore, CF can also be classified along with the distinction between implicit
and explicit types. In explicit feedback, the teacher overtly indicates that an error has
occurred while in implicit feedback, there is no straightforward indication that what the
learner said was incorrect.

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PROMPTS

Clarification Metalinguistic
request Repetition Elicitation feedback

IMPLICIT EXPLICIT

Recast Explicit
correction
REFORMULATIONS

Figure 1. Continuum of CF types in order of explicitness (adapted from Lyster et al.,


2010; Milla & Mayo, 2014).

Among the six types of CF mentioned above, it is evident that the recast is the most
common means of oral correction provided to learners, and in fact, is overused by teachers
(Lyster & Ranta, 1997). What remains inconclusive is its efficacy compared to that of other
types of feedback. The extent to which learners gain benefits in terms of oral accuracy from
prompts has been proved to be greater than from recasts (Darabad, 2013).
To evaluate the effectiveness of a feedback type, according to Lyster and Ranta
(1997), learner uptake should be taken into account. However, it has been noted lately that
uptake is not a reliable indicator with its own constraints. The absence of learner immediate
uptake in response to the teacher’s feedback might lie behind “conversational constraints” in
teacher-learner interaction (Rezaei et al., 2011, p. 24). Despite this controversy surrounding
the validity of uptake in evaluating CF efficacy, it is undeniably credible as a signal of
learner’s noticing and a good predictor of subsequent learning (Lyster & Mori, 2006).
According to the guidelines for CF practices proposed by Ellis (2009), it is advisable
to prioritize the implicit form of correction so that the learner can try self-correcting before
being explicitly corrected by the teacher. Moreover, it should be noted that as the level goes
up, learners seem to prefer more implicit correction (Genç, 2014). For oral CF to be effective,
learners need to consciously notice that a corrective move is being delivered to them. This
proposition is corroborated by a recent research (Ok et al., 2013) which found that most ELT
students preferred their oral grammar errors to be realized and corrected by themselves.

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2.1.3 The timing of CF

The present research addresses the choice of immediate or delayed CF particularly in


the context of EFL communicative classes for adult learners. In the case of delaying the
correction until later, there is a further possibility that either CF is given in front of class after
an activity finishes or it is provided for the student individually at the end of class. Even
though no general conclusion has been made about the efficacy of immediate and delayed
CF, there exists a strong consensus among many teacher educators in favor of immediate CF
in accuracy-oriented activities rather than in fluency-oriented ones (Ellis, 2009).

2.1.4 CF providers

Teacher correction is not the one and only source of CF. In fact, oral CF is not merely
confined to teacher responses but it may involve constructive feedback from peers on
students’ production of L2 and their self-correction as well. The three possibilities concerning
CF providers in the classroom setting are as follows:
 Teacher correction
“The teacher” seem like the most intuitive and obvious answer to the question “Who
should correct learner errors?” Nevertheless, teacher correction is not much advisable in
learner-centered classrooms, as learners should be encouraged to self-correct or provide oral
CF on their peers’ speaking (Ellis, 2009).
 Self-correction
Self-correction may occur when learners are able to detect the problems in their own
utterances, and more importantly, self-repair is only feasible if they “possess the necessary
linguistic knowledge” (Ellis, 2009, p.7) to utter the correct form by themselves. Self-
correction, albeit time-consuming, is assumed to be effective in promoting autonomy and
acquisition (Ellis, 2009; Méndez & Cruz, 2012).
 Peer correction
Peer correction is possible when learners can give CF on errors committed by their
classmates. Méndez and Cruz (2012) pointed out some significant benefits of peer correction,
to wit: learners are actively involved in the process of error treatment; in such a way, learners
become more independent from their teachers in their language learning; also, peer correction
can be seen as indicative of learners’ acquired linguistic knowledge. However, CF from peers
does not attract much interest from learners due to its potential unreliability when compared
to teacher correction. In a large-scale investigation involving EFL learners at several

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Japanese universities to explore their perceptions towards classroom oral error correction,
Katayama’s (2007) survey found a strong learner preference for teacher correction over peer
correction.

2.1.5 Error types

Hendrickson (1978) defined error as “an utterance, form, or structure that a particular
teacher deems unacceptable because of its inappropriate use or its absence in real-life
discourse” (p.387). This definition reasonably fits the context of communicative language
teaching. Moreover, no clear-cut distinction can be drawn between errors and mistakes since
an error, as claimed by Edge (1989), is a type of mistake which students cannot correct by
themselves. Therefore, both errors and mistakes are termed and considered similarly in this
research. Errors in this study are examined in terms of phonological, lexical, grammatical and
discourse respects.
 Phonological errors
Phonological errors are those relating to the learner’s mispronunciation at segmental
or supra-segmental level.
 Syntactic errors
Syntactic errors result from inaccurate use of determiners, prepositions, pronouns,
tenses, auxiliaries, pluralization, negation, question formation, word order and so on.
 Lexical errors
Lexical errors involve the wrong word choice in combination with other words
 Discourse errors
Discourse errors are used to refer to the incoherence of an utterance within a certain
communicative context.

2.2 Teachers’ and learners’ perceptions of oral CF

As mentioned above, there are plethora of descriptive and empirical studies asserting
the significance of corrective feedback to learners’ improvement (Lyster et al., 2010).
Nevertheless, a limited proportion of literature has been devoted to compare learners’
preference for receiving CF and teachers’ perceptions of providing feedback on oral errors
(Russel, 2009). In the preference literature, the majority of research have revealed “a
mismatch between learners’ wish to receive CF and teachers’ views on providing CF” (Lyster
et al., 2013, p.8; Sarab et al., 2013); that is to say, the general tendency for learners to value
CF and thus, prefer being corrected is actually greater than most teachers assume. Genç

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(2014) conducted a study in which the results indicated that EFL learners at both low and
high levels of proficiency opted to be given feedback on their spoken errors. With adult EFL
learners in the Iranian context of private institutes, Sarab and Naeim (2013) found that
learners, in comparison with teachers, held more positive attitudes towards error correction.
Teachers’ hesitations about providing correction have been attributed to their concerns about
the negative effects of CF on learners’ confidence and motivation. Lasagabaster and Sierra
(2005) conducted a study which involved eleven undergraduate students and ten experienced
EFL teachers to explore and compare their insights about effective feedback on error
correction. After watching a 15-minute video containing a lot of error correction moves
twice, the participants were invited to make comments, individually and then in groups, on
the efficiency of those correction moves provided by the instructor. A subsequent analysis
revealed that a large proportion of teachers’ CF went unperceived by the students. Thus, both
teachers and students in this oft-cited study believed they would benefit most from the
correction with sufficient explanations and also from the combination of different correction
strategies.
In her investigation on error correction in oral communicative activities, Hoang, T. P.
T. (2009) elicited the viewpoints of both teachers and students via questionnaires
administered at Youth Foreign Language School. She then noticed the conflict between
students’ preferences and teachers’ beliefs in three dimensions regarding (1) students’
attitudes towards making errors, (2) the proper timing of error correction, and (3) the choice
of correctors. However, her study did not cover nor mention a wide range of CF types.
Pursuing similar research objectives, Tomczyk (2013) investigated the distinctions between
teachers’ and students’ perceptions of oral CF using questionnaires and classroom
observation. Compared to the earlier study by Hoang, T. P. T., the one conducted by
Tomczyk included more options concerning various ways of providing CF. Nonetheless,
those techniques were not thoroughly distinguished and comprehensibly presented. Hence
more research accompanied with comprehensive coverage to CF types is needed in this area
to help the participants determine which techniques are best to select for oral error correction.
Jean and Simard (2011) recently attempted with high school students and teachers to
gather data on their beliefs and perceptions about grammar instruction to which CF is
specifically related. The answers from the 2321 students together with 45 teachers indicated
that ESL students expressed more willingness to have all errors corrected than their teachers
do. Teachers reported having more inclination to correct oral errors which may affect
comprehension negatively or errors related to some essential grammar points. However, this
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was not the study entirely devoted to CF issues and thus, the inquiry about this field was just
confined to learners’ grammatical errors and the frequency of oral CF which teachers
employed in response to those errors.

2.3 Conceptual framework

In the current research, the five questions posed by Hendrickson (1978) concerning
whether, when, which, how, and by whom errors should be corrected, as shown in Figure 2,
are addressed from the perspectives of both teachers and learners.

ORAL CORRECTIVE
FEEDBACK

General The timing of CF CF types CF providers Error types


preferences  Immediate CF  Explicit  Teacher  Phonological
for CF  Delayed CF: correction correction errors
 In front of  Recasts  Self-  Grammatical
 Correction of class, after an  Clarification correction errors
all spoken  Lexical errors
activity requests  Peer
errors finishes  Metalinguistic  Discourse
correction
 Correction of  Individually, feedback errors
serious errors at the end of  Elicitation
 No class  Repetition
correction

Figure 2. Conceptual framework

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CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY
3.1 Research questions

The proposed study is an exploratory one in nature as it aims to explore and compare
the perceptions of two distinct, yet closely related groups of subjects in the process of foreign
language learning and teaching – teachers and learners. In order to achieve the aims stated
above, three research questions are to be addressed by this present study:
1. What are EFL adult learners’ preferences for oral corrective feedback?
2. What are EFL teachers’ preferences for oral corrective feedback?
3. Are there any differences between EFL adult learners’ perceptions and teachers’
preferences for oral corrective feedback?

3.2 Research design

The study was conducted quantitatively. Data were collected via close-ended
questions in questionnaires. Convenience sampling was selected as the sampling design due
to the availability of EFL adult learners at the same proficiency level in the research site.

3.3 Research site and participants

3.3.1 The learner subjects

Data were collected from 79 adult EFL learners who enrolled in 4 classes of English
for Communication courses at Hochiminh City University of Pedagogy Foreign Language
Centre – Branch 4. Each course meets three times a week and aims to equip learners with
essential skills to communicate more efficiently in an international environment. Although
their central focus is on speaking and listening improvement, learners spend some time on
grammar, reading and writing. The learner subjects were generally at pre-intermediate level,
as determined by entrance and class examinations. Thus, those learners chosen as the target
participants are supposed to be homogeneous in terms of age range and proficiency level.
The table below gives factual details on background information of the learner
participants:

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Table 1
Demographic Characteristics of Learner Subjects
Characteristics of learner subjects Quantity Percentage
19-30 69 87.3%
Age range 31-39 7 8.9%
40-49 2 2.5%
Male 31 39.2%
Gender
Female 47 59.5%
<1 years 7 8.9%
1-4 years 10 12.7%
Learning experience
5-10 years 41 51.9%
>10 years 21 26.6%

It can be clearly seen from Table 1 that among the learners, a mere 88% of the
learners are young adults aged from 19-39, whereas only 3% of them belong to the old-age
groups (40-49 years old). As regards learning experience, the striking thing to note from the
table is that most of the learners have studied English for a long time, specifically 52% for 5-
10 years and 26% for over 10 years.

3.3.2 The teacher subjects

Contributing to the response community is the participation of 27 teachers at


Hochiminh City University of Pedagogy Foreign Language Centre – Branch 4 whose prior
language teaching experiences are expected to be at least 3 years. Teachers’ responses are of
paramount importance as they play a directive role in the feedback practices. Their
demographic information is summarized in the table below:

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Table 2
Demographic Characteristics of Teacher Subjects
Characteristics of teacher subjects Quantity Percentage
Age range Under 25 2 7.4%
25-30 14 51.9%
Over 30 11 40.7%
Gender Male 10 37%
Female 17 63%
Teaching 1-5 years 10 37%
experience 6-10 years 10 37%
>10 years 7 25.9%

The age profile of teacher participants ranges from 23 to 52. A majority of the
teachers were female (63%) with a large proportion in their late twenties to late thirties (mean
age was 31). At the extremes, one teacher had 3 years of prior language teaching experience,
while another teacher had over 20 years. All of the participating teachers hold a Bachelor’s
Degree in English Language Teaching or equivalent.

3.4 Instruments

Two sets of questionnaires are the main sources of data in this study: one version for
learners and the other for teachers. The reliability co-efficient Cronbach’s Alpha of the scale
was .701, which is considered acceptable.

3.4.1 Questionnaire to the learners

The first part of the learner questionnaire helps the researcher gather information on
the learners’ background information (i.e. age, gender, years and purposes of learning
English, etc.).
The second part of the learner questionnaire consists of five fundamental sections
about their views on the practice of oral CF in EFL classroom settings:
 The first section (items marked 1, 2 and 3) deals with their general preferences for
the oral CF and for the frequency of CF in classroom practice.
 The second section (items 4a, 4b and 4c) aims to collect data on the timing of
correction they prefer.

18
 The third section (items 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, 5e, 5f and 5g) attempts to find out which
CF types that they think are effective and facilitative to their learning.
 The fourth section (item 6a, 6b and 6c) obtains data on their preference for the
corrector.
 The last section (item 7) investigates the types of error which they opt for
correction.

3.4.2 Questionnaire to the teachers

The first part of the teacher questionnaire aims at gathering information about the
gender, age and teaching experience of the teacher subjects. In a similar fashion, the second
part of the teacher questionnaire follows the same five-section pattern as the learner
questionnaire.
The teachers and learners were asked to rate each item from 1 to 6 using a 5-point
scale with 5 meaning “strongly agree” and 1 meaning “strongly disagree”. As for the last
item, the participants were to rank the four types of errors in terms of perceived importance
with 4 being the most important and 1 being the least important. To minimize the
participants’ misunderstanding of any statements, both versions of questionnaire were
translated into Vietnamese and were examined whether there exist any problematic items via
a pilot study. Particularly in the third section, examples illustrated for every CF type were
added after the pilot study to avoid confusion on the part of the participants about different
types of CF.

3.5 Data collection procedure

The questionnaires were distributed to the learner respondents within one class
session and collected right after being completed while their teachers were to be asked to
respond to the matching version of questionnaire during the break time at the language
centre.

3.6 Data analysis procedure

Data collected from the survey was then analyzed in terms of frequency, and
percentage with the use of the SPSS 16 software version. In scoring the extent of the
subjects’ preferences for oral CF, the data was simplified by converting the 5-point scale
(strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree) into a 3-point scale (strongly
agree/ agree, neutral, disagree/ strongly disagree). The Mann-Whitney U test was then

19
implemented to examine whether the differences, if any, between learner and teacher
responses are statistically significant or not.

20
CHAPTER 4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
4.1 Analysis of data

The percentages of students and teachers’ responses for each item are calculated and
summarized in the following tables. Some noteworthy observable differences between
learners’ and teachers’ responses are highlighted according to the following themes: general
preferences for oral CF, favorable timing for CF, CF types, CF providers and types of errors.
Items are numbered in the order as they appeared in the questionnaire.

4.1.1 General preferences for oral CF

Table 3
General preferences for oral CF
Agree & Strongly disagree Mean SD
Item Subjects Neutral
Strongly agree & Disagree
Learners 86.1% 6.3% 7.6% 4.39 .993
1
Teachers 22.2% 11.1% 66.7% 2.52 1.221
Learners 58.2% 8.9% 33% 3.53 1.501
2
Teachers 77.8% 11.1% 11.1% 4.26 1.163
Learners 6.3% 6.3% 87.3% 1.72 .973
3
Teachers 11.1% 14.8% 71% 2.07 1.072

Table 3 presents findings on overall preferences for oral CF among learners and
teachers. In the questionnaire, Item 1 elicited responses on the extent to which the
participants approve of correcting all spoken errors. While the majority of the learners
surveyed (86.1%) showed a positive opinion about receiving CF for all the errors they make
during oral communication, only 22.2% of the teacher participants were in favor of such error
correction. The Mann-Whitney U test embedded in Table 9 reveals that students’ responses
and teachers’ responses was highly significantly different with Z = -5.928, p = .000 < .001. It
conveys that learners in general prefer having all their spoken errors corrected more than their
teachers think they should do, and that their teachers’ practice may not meet their preferences
in this regards.
More than half of the students (58.2%) opted to receive CF only on errors which may
impede listeners’ understanding. Another Mann-Whitney U test, as displayed in Table 9,
demonstrates that significantly more teacher subjects (77.8%) holding positive attitudes to

21
selected error correction than student subjects do (Z = -2.260, p = .024 < .05). Both groups of
participants (87.3% of the learners and 71% of the learners) expressed widespread
disapproval of skipping CF during or after communicative activities.

4.1.2 The timing of oral CF

Table 4
Preferences for the timing of oral CF
Agree & Strongly Mean SD
Item Subjects Strongly agree Neutral disagree &
Disagree
Learners 81% 7.6% 11.4% 4.11 1.121
4a
Teachers 25.9% 11.1% 62.9% 2.44 1.386
Learners 38% 36.7% 25.4% 3.18 1.141
4b
Teachers 77.8% 11.1% 11.1% 4.00 1.074
Learners 30.4% 31.6% 38% 2.86 1.248
4c
Teachers 40.7% 25.9% 33.3% 3.07 1.207

According to the data presented in Table 4, the most-preferred time of receiving CF


for the learner participants was immediate correction as soon as their errors have been made:
81% agreed while only 11.4% disagreed with this option. It can be concluded that immediate
CF seems to be far preferable among learner subjects to delayed CF. Furthermore, a
statistically significant difference between learners’ and teachers’ preferences of immediate
CF was claimed with Z = -5.001, p =.000 < .001 (see Table 9). Few respondents from the
teacher subjects (25.9%) showed an affinity for this timing of CF.
As far as delayed correction is concerned, another significant difference occurred
between the two groups of participants (Z = -3.338, p = .001 < .05). That is, a high
percentage of the teacher respondents (77.8%) perceived that the moment at the end of an
activity was the good timing of providing their students with CF while only 30.8% of the
learner subjects expected this delayed CF in front of the whole class. Participants’ opinions
about giving and receiving delayed CF individually (item 4c) were quite neutral overall and
did not result in any statistically significant differences between the teachers and the learners’
preferences for this timing of CF.

22
4.1.3 CF types

Table 5
Preferences for CF types
Agree & Strongly Mean SD
Item Subjects Strongly agree Neutral disagree &
Disagree
5a (Explicit Learners 84.8% 6.3% 8.9% 4.18 1.130
correction) Teachers 48.1% 18.5% 33.3% 3.19 1.272
5b Learners 88.6% 5.1% 6.4% 4.39 1.018
(Metalinguistic
Teachers 74% 11.1% 14.8% 3.81 1.075
feedback)
Learners 60.8% 27.8% 11.4% 3.73 1.140
5c (Elicitation)
Teachers 81.4% 14.8% 3.7% 4.26 .859
Learners 44.3% 45.6% 10.1% 3.48 .985
5d (Recasts)
Teachers 40.7% 48.1% 11.1% 3.44 1.013
Learners 45.6% 27.8% 26.6% 3.22 1.237
5e (Repetition)
Teachers 62.9% 33.3% 3.7% 3.74 .764
5f Learners 40.5% 21.5% 38% 2.99 1.266
(Clarification
Teachers 44.4% 25.9% 29.6% 3.22 1.281
requests)

Moving on to the issue of CF, teachers and learners face the question how oral errors
should be corrected. Table 5 reveals that metalinguistic feedback was especially favored by
the learners (88.6%) who preferred the instructors to give proper explanations of why their
utterance was erroneous. Only 6.4% of the adult learners rejected the necessity for providing
more elaborate explanations from their teachers. Explicit correction also received a high level
of acceptance among learners (84.8%). The other feedback types were distributed in
decreasing frequency as follows: elicitation (60.8%), repetition (45.6%), recasts (44.3%) and
clarification requests (40.5%).
In comparison to their teachers, the learners were more strongly inclined to explicit
CF. The largest discrepancy between teachers’ and learners’ preferences for the types of CF
occurred in explicit correction (Z = -3.837; p = .000 < .001) while the responses from the
teachers and the learners to recasts, repetition and clarification requests were similar.

23
4.1.4 CF providers

Table 6
Preferences for CF providers
Agree & Strongly disagree Mean SD
Item Subjects Neutral
Strongly agree & Disagree
6a (Teacher Learners 77.2% 12.7% 10.1% 4.00 1.155
correction) Teachers 40.7% 29.6% 29.6% 3.07 1.238
6b (Self Learners 43.1% 39.2% 17.7% 3.53 1.153
correction) Teachers 59.3% 29.6% 11.1% 4.11 .801
6c (Peer Learners 30.4% 31.6% 38% 3.30 1.066
correction) Teachers 40.7% 25.9% 33.3% 3.56 .801

As shown in Table 6, the most favorable source of CF chosen by 77.2% of the


learners was from their teachers, whereas only less than one-third of learner respondents
(specifically, 30.4%) opted for the help from their classmates. When desired CF providers
was tested, the Mann-Whitney U test demonstrated significant differences in perceptions of
teacher correction and learner self-correction between the two groups of subjects. Although
having the teacher correct is the quickest way to provide CF, learner self-correction was
reported to be most favored by the teachers with the approval of 59.3% among them, which
was the highest percentage compared to the two other choices. There was no significant
difference found between teachers’ and learners’ responses to the item concerning peer
correction among learners (Z= -1.111; p=.266 > .05), which indicated that both groups of
participants shared similar attitudes towards this practice.

4.1.5 Types of errors

Table 7
Types of errors ranked in order of importance by the learners
TYPES OF ERRORS 1 2 3 4 Mean SD
Phonological errors 57% 17.7% 16.5% 8.9% 1.77 1.025
Grammatical errors 20.3% 22.8% 21.5% 35.4% 2.72 1.154
Lexical errors 8.9% 20.3% 40.5% 30.4% 2.92 .931
Discourse errors 13.9% 39.2% 21.5% 25.3% 2.58 1.020

24
Table 8
Types of errors ranked in order of importance by the teachers
TYPES OF ERRORS 1 2 3 4 Mean SD
Phonological errors 66.7% 25.9% 3.7% 3.7% 1.44 .751
Grammatical errors 7.4% 7.4% 33.3% 51.9% 3.30 .912
Lexical errors 3.7% 33.3% 40.7% 22.2% 2.81 .834
Discourse errors 22.2% 33.3% 22.2% 22.2% 2.44 1.086

The final issue mentioned in the questionnaire is what errors to mostly target. Among
the four types of errors mentioned in the questionnaire (phonological, grammatical, lexical
and discourse ones), phonological errors were ranked as most desirable to be corrected by a
high percentage of students (57%) and teachers (66.7%). Discourse errors ranked next in
order of preference for correction, with no significant difference between the two groups.
Receiving the least priority for correction were lexical errors for the learners, and
grammatical errors for the teachers. Grammatical errors, on the other hand, received
significantly less attention from the teachers than from the learners (Z = -2.218; p = .027 <
.005). There was a clear tendency on behalf of the teachers not to strongly emphasize the
importance of grammatical accuracy in their learners’ speaking.

Table 9
Differences between students’ preferences and teachers’ perceptions
Item Mean rank Mean rank U Z 2-tailed P Sig
(Students) (Teachers)
1 63.11 25.39 307.500 -5.928 0.000*** S
2 49.78 64.39 772.500 -2.260 0.024* S
3 50.63 61.89 840 -1.785 0.074 NS
4a 61.86 29.04 406 -5.001 .000*** S
4b 47.85 10.02 620.5 -3.338 .001** S
4c 52.14 57.48 959 -0.801 .423 NS
5a 59.82 25.02 567.5 -3.837 .000*** S
5b 58.80 38.87 671.5 -3.165 .002** S

25
5c 49.97 63.81 788 -2.114 .035* S
5d 53.87 52.43 1038 -0.224 .823 NS
5e 50.41 62.54 822.5 -1.838 .066 NS
5f 52.13 57.50 958.5 -0.803 .422 NS
6a 59.49 35.96 593 -3.588 .000*** S
6b 49.70 64.63 766 -2.285 .022* S
6c 51.66 58.89 921 -1.111 .266 NS
7a 55.48 47.70 910 -1.285 .199 NS
7b 49.80 64.31 774.5 -2.218 .027* S
7c 54.73 49.91 969.5 -0.743 .458 NS
7d 54.49 50.61 988.5 -0.591 .555 NS
Note. *p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .005

4.2 Discussion of results

4.2.1 General preferences for correction of spoken errors

Generally speaking, the data provided evidence of a positive belief on the part of both
teachers and adult learners that CF is desirable in EFL classrooms. The absence of CF was
not appreciated, whereas sizeable majorities of learners confirmed that they want to be
corrected when they make errors in speaking. In fact, most learners reported that they wanted
it for “all errors”, while the teachers stated that they just “sometimes” correct their students’
speaking as they were very concerned about learners’ annoyance and anxiety. Indeed, the
adult learners were quite demanding on their teachers when expecting all their spoken errors
be treated. This finding is consistent with what Jean and Simard (2011) reported on
receptivity to CF among ESL and EFL students. The majority of ESL students in their study
thought that oral errors should be corrected all the time. This trend can be justified on the
ground of the age factor in regard to the importance of accuracy. Jean and Simard made a
connection between adult learners and the heavy emphasis on oral accuracy when claiming
that “older students found it more important to express themselves accurately than did
younger learners” (p.477). As a result, oral CF should become an integral part in EFL
classrooms for adult learners and so teachers should not hesitate to give CF in response to
learners’ needs and expectations.

26
4.2.2 The timing of oral CF

As inferred from the survey data, there was considerable lack of agreement between
teachers and learners concerning the ideal timing of CF: The learners favored immediate CF
by which their oral errors would be corrected as soon as they were made, whereas the
teachers prefer delayed CF provided after each activity, the timing which the learner subjects
in this survey were not very fond of. It is likely the case that teachers are reluctant to employ
immediate correction frequently lest the flow of communication be interrupted. This finding
is similar to a part of the results from other studies among the teachers and students
conducted by Brown (2006), Hoang, T. P. T. (2009), and Genç (2014). The tendency for
adult learners to prefer immediate CF is understandable, because recalling errors in their own
utterances may take more effort for them than it does for children or adolescents, unless CF is
delivered to them right away after they finish their speech. One suggestion for teachers in this
situation is that they should integrate CF moves into their exchanges with students in a
natural and smooth way as if they are parts of a normal conversation. Thus teachers can
ensure that learners’ errors are to be corrected as soon as they are made without affecting
learners’ fluency in communication.

4.2.3 CF types

The results showed that most adult learners believed they could benefit a lot from
metalinguistic feedbacks. This finding mirrored the result obtained in Ok and Ustacı (2013) –
who investigated preferences of ELT students at different levels on the strategies employed in
the treatment of oral grammar errors – showing that a majority of students in all levels
preferred their instructors to provide them with explanation and examples for the correct
usage. Learners’ strong inclination towards metalinguistic feedbacks can also have its own
implications for classroom practice. To respond appropriately to this tendency, teachers
should embed more elaborate explanations when providing the reasons for the correction.
Another point that emerged from this study is the need to receive explicit CF within
the adult learner population. The majority of learner respondents from Smith’s (2010) study
also reported a preference for explicit CF due to its succinctness while their teachers were
sometimes unwilling to use this strategy for fear of denying learners the chances to correct
themselves.

27
4.2.4 CF providers

The learners participating in this study valued teacher correction more than the
teachers themselves. This preference may be largely influenced by the traditional practice in
which teachers assume full authority in many classrooms where they gain their learning
experience and foster their belief in language learning. However, given that adult learners are
cognitively mature language users, they are reasonably capable of processing the cues and
correcting their incorrect language use by themselves. Although it is time-consuming to wait
for the learner to self-repair, most of the teachers said that learners’ self-correction with the
teacher’s help should be prioritized because learners may notice and thus, remember the CF
better when they can actively engage in reformulating their own erroneous utterances. This
finding reflects recommendations from many previous researchers, e.g. Ellis (2009),
Shanshan (2012), Ok and Ustacı (2013), Tomczyk (2013). Thus, this discrepancy between
learners’ and teachers’ perceptions can be harmonized with the teacher’s attempt to
encourage self-correction from the learners prior to teacher correction so that classroom
dynamics can be maintained via teacher-learner interaction (Li, 2014). Teachers can consider
their choice of CF providers based on the regularity of an error occurring during the student
talking time. Teacher correction should be highlighted in the case of errors repeatedly made
by many learners in the class.

4.2.5 Types of errors

Overall, the data show that adult learners, as well as their teachers, were more
favorably inclined towards the importance of phonological accuracy in learners’ speaking,
which indicates that proper English pronunciation is the major concern for most adult EFL
learners. The significance which the participants placed on pronunciation in this study
supports findings by other researchers in and out of Vietnam. Hoang, T. P. T. (2009) also
noticed from her survey that in oral communicative activities, both teachers and students
underlined the greatest importance on the treatment of phonological errors. Similarly,
Katayama (2007) also discovered a great interest in the correction of phonological errors
from the students. According to her, the underlying reasons for this preference were in some
way linked to: (1) the difference between Japanese and English phonology, which has created
a formidable barrier many Japanese EFL learners to acquire English pronunciation, accent
and intonation patterns; and (2) the absence of native English-speaking teachers in secondary
and high schools in Japan, which has led to the lack of L2 exposure in many classrooms. The
above interpretation can apply to the result of this study as well.

28
The finding from the present research shows that syntactic errors are considered the
least important by the teachers, and thus, they should be least likely to correct. In Chinese
EFL context, through classroom observation and teacher interviews, Shanshan (2012)
deduced that there existed a relationship between error types and teachers’ choice of giving
oral CF. Particularly noteworthy in her study is the finding that despite their high frequency
of occurrence, “syntactic errors received CF at the lowest rate” (p. 494). By way of
explanation, the teacher participants said that syntactic errors were not serious enough for
them to distort the meaning of a whole utterance. Syntactic errors were assumed to mainly
occur due to learners’ careless use of grammatical rules, and thus, they could be easily
noticed and corrected by the learners themselves. On the contrary to this assumption, the
learners in the current study valued CF on syntactic errors committed in their speech more
than the teachers did, which generated a significant difference between the two groups’
preferences for this type of errors. Adult learners’ past education in junior and senior high
schools may help to explain the origin of this discrepancy. In Vietnam, much of English
learning time in high schools is devoted to preparing students for the national High School
Graduation examinations and university entrance examination primarily through grammar-
oriented instruction. In consequence, learners are frequently alerted to syntactic errors by
their past learning experience in high school while teachers instructing in English for
Communication classes pay more attention to meanings rather than language structures when
providing CF. Accordingly, a structure-of-the-day approach, as suggested by Ellis (2009),
could be the answer to this conflict: Teachers should specify “some linguistic targets for
correction in different lessons” (p.14) so that learners are not overwhelmed with constant
grammar correction without feeling that teachers do not give adequate CF on their syntactic
errors.

4.3 Summary of major findings

The purposes of this study were to investigate teachers’ and learners’ preferences for
oral CF in English for Communication classes. Out of the 19 items of the questionnaire, ten
items received significantly different responses from the teachers versus the learners,
specifically for the following items: 1 (CF on all spoken errors), 2 (CF on errors which
interfered with communication), 4a (immediate CF), 4b (delayed CF, at the end of an
activity), 5a (explicit CF), 5b (metalinguistic feedbacks), 5c (elicitation), 6a (teacher
correction), 6b (learner self-correction) and 7b (syntactic errors). Some coincidences and

29
discrepancies between teachers’ and learners’ preferences for oral CF can be summarized as
follows:

Table 10
Similarities and differences between teachers’ and learners’ preferences
prefer oral CF to no CF
Similarities Both teachers and learners want pronunciation errors to have
corrected most
Teachers preferred Learners preferred
to correct only the errors that to have all their oral errors
interfere with communication corrected
Differences
delayed CF, after the activity immediate CF
implicit CF explicit CF
learner self-correction teacher correction

To summarize, the questionnaire findings reveal that both teachers and learners have
positive attitudes towards oral CF. However, according to the data within the constraints of
this study, analysis of the results revealed that adult learners who participated in
communicatively oriented courses showed a greater preferences for CF on all spoken errors
they have made than teachers thought. This study also exposed disagreement between
learners and on the appropriate timing of CF: the learners reported that they preferred
immediate CF while the teachers did not concur with that expectation. Faced with the choice
of either correcting immediately after the learner’s inaccurate utterance or delaying the
correction until later, the teachers are inclined to the latter.
Noticeably, both teachers and learners believe that spoken errors relating to
phonology should receive the highest attention for CF. Notwithstanding this concurrence, the
results revealed that there was much less agreement between learners and teachers regarding
their beliefs about grammatical errors, with the learners emphasizing the importance of
syntactic error’s treatment more than the teachers.
Of the six types of CF, both groups positively welcomed metalinguistic feedbacks and
elicitation. However, a discrepancy was found between the teachers and learners regarding
their preferences for explicit correction. Regarding the choice of correctors, teachers were the
most favored source of CF among the learners, whereas the participating teachers highly
valued self-correction elicited from the learners.

30
CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION
5.1 Conclusion

The present study aims to give a true reflection of teachers’ perceptions and adult
learners’ expectations regarding oral CF provision in English for Communication classes.
Through the research, teachers can relate the findings to their personal experience in their
own language classrooms. They are also encouraged to critically review and evaluate their
existing CF practices and thus to conduct CF in accordance with the cognitive and affective
needs of their particular learners. Knowledge of some similarities as well as differences in
learners’ and teachers’ preferences for oral CF can assist the teachers in preliminarily
evaluating whether their instructional practice meets their students’ needs and expectations.
5.2 Pedagogical implications

Based on the findings, some pedagogical implications have arisen from the present
study. The results should be assuring to teachers who extensively incorporate CF into
communicative-based oral interaction in their adult EFL classrooms. Although most adult
learners, according to the findings discussed above, express a strong preference to receive
oral CF on all the errors they make, in reality, it is an impossible task for teachers. To meet
this expectation, instead of ignoring learners’ errors as if there is nothing wrong with their
utterances, teachers should at least make the effort to provide CF on those errors (1) which
they can identify, (2) which they consider serious, or (3) which are the focus of a lesson. In
addition, the most important principle of doing any kinds of correction is that no students are
singled out for particular criticism (Harmer, 2007).
Given that it is impossible for teachers to deal with each individual’s preference in the
class, they may somehow adjust their instructional practices to match their learners’ common
expectations. Nonetheless, learners’ expectations and needs for particular aspects of oral CF
do not necessarily indicate the efficacy of such feedback in reality. Under certain
circumstances, teachers should justify the rationale behind their pedagogical practices to
learners and thus, minimize problems caused by the potential mismatch in beliefs between
learners and teachers.

5.3 Limitation of the study

Data comparisons in the present study indicated some significant discrepancies


between learners as a group and teachers as a group on the majority of items in the
questionnaire. However, the data should be cautiously interpreted as this study has some

31
inherent limitations. First of all, there is possibility that serious mismatches exist between
what teachers believe and what they do in the classroom. Secondly, the study sample is not
sizeable and truly random enough to make any broad generalizations. Therefore, further
research using a larger sample size and classroom observation should be carried out to
generalize and triangulate the findings.

5.4 Recommendation for further study

The previously mentioned limitations of this study lead to implications for future
research. The study only employed questionnaires as the sole instrument of data collection,
which cannot to elicit learners’ and teachers’ justification for their choice of CF preferences
and their attitudes towards the use of oral CF in a foreign language classroom. In future
studies, interviews, classroom observation, or reflection via research diaries should be used to
obtain more data on reasons for the participants’ choice of CF practice and reveal a more
vivid picture of how CF is perceived by teachers and students. In addition, more future
researcher may adopt experimental design to examine the efficacy of different CF types not
only when given separately but also in combination with one another.

32
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APPENDICES
Appendix 1: The questionnaire on oral corrective feedback (Student version)
Dear students,
This questionnaire aims at collecting data for a study entitled “An investigation into
students’ and teachers’ preferences for oral corrective feedback in speaking classes”.
Please answer this questionnaire to the best of your knowledge either by checking the
appropriate box () or by writing your answers in the space provided if you have other ideas.
Your responses will greatly contribute to the success of the study. The data will be used for
the research purposes only, not for other purposes.
Thank you for your time and help.
I. Background information
1. Gender:
2. Age:
3. Years of learning English:
4. Years of studying English for Communication:
II. Questions
From questions 1-8, please answer by putting a tick () into the boxes.
(5= strongly agree, 4=agree, 3=not sure, 2=disagree, 1=strongly agree)
1 2 3 4 5
1. I want the teacher to correct all errors I make in
speaking English.
2. I want the teacher to correct only the errors that
interfere with communication.
3. I want my teacher to let me speak freely without error
correction.
Others: …………………………………………………………………………………………..

1 2 3 4 5
4. When making oral errors, I want to be corrected…..
a. immediately, in front of everyone
b. later, at the end of the activity, in front of everyone
c. later, in private
Others: …………………………………………………………………………………………..

5. When making oral errors, I want Example 1 2 3 4 5


the teacher to…..
a. point out the error and L: On May.
explicitly provide the T: Not on May, in
correction May. We say, “It
will start in May.”
b. explain why the utterance is L: Yesterday
incorrect rained.
T: Yesterday it
rained. You need to

36
include the pronoun
“it” before the verb.
In English we need
“it” before this type
of verb related to
weather.
c. prompt me to self-correct L: I’ll come if it
will not rain.
T: I’ll come if it….?
d. present the correct form when L: I went there two
repeating all or part of my times.
utterance T: You’ve been.
You’ve been there
twice as a group?
e. indicate the error by repeating L: I eated a
it and wait for me to correct it sandwich.
T: I EATED a
sandwich?
f. indicate the error by asking for L: How many years
clarification and wait for me to do you have?
correct it T: Could you say
that again?
Others: ……………………………………………………………………………………..

6. When making oral errors, I want the 1 2 3 4 5


teacher to
a. show me what the errors are and give
the correct answer
b. show me what the errors are and let
me correct my errors by myself
c. ask my friends to help me correct the
errors
Others:
…………………………………………………………………………………………..

For question 7, please rank from 1 to 4 in order of importance:


7. Among these types of errors: phonological errors, syntactic errors, lexical errors and
discourse errors, I think the types of errors that need to be corrected most are:
 Phonological errors
 Syntactic errors
 Lexical errors
 Discourse errors
Thank you for your cooperation.

37
Appendix 2: The questionnaire on oral corrective feedback (Teacher version)
Dear teachers,
This questionnaire aims at collecting data for a study entitled “An investigation into
learners’ and teachers’ preferences for oral corrective feedback in speaking classes”.
Please answer this questionnaire to the best of your knowledge either by checking the
appropriate box () or by writing your answers in the space provided if you have other ideas.
Your responses will greatly contribute to the success of the study. The data will be used for
the research purposes only, not for other purposes.
Thank you for your time and help.
I. Background information
1. Gender:
2. Age:
3. Years of teaching English:
4. Years of teaching English for Communication:
II. Questions
From questions 1-6, please answer by putting a tick () into the boxes.
(5= strongly agree, 4=agree, 3=not sure, 2=disagree, 1=strongly agree)
1 2 3 4 5
1. I think the teacher should correct all errors learners
make in speaking English.
2. I think the teacher should correct only the errors that
interfere with communication.
3. I think the teacher should let learners speak freely
without correction
Others: …………………………………………………………………………………………..

1 2 3 4 5
4. When learners make errors, the teacher should
correct…..
a. immediately, in front of everyone.
b. later, at the end of the activity, in front of
everyone.
c. later, in private.
Others: …………………………………………………………………………………………..

5. When learners make an error, the Example 1 2 3 4 5


teacher should…..
a. point out the error and provide L: On May.
the correction T: Not on May, in
May. We say, “It
will start in May.”
b. explain why the utterance is L: Yesterday
incorrect rained.

38
T: Yesterday it
rained. You need to
include the
pronoun “it” before
the verb. In English
we need “it” before
this type of verb
related to weather.
c. prompt the student to self- L: I’ll come if it
correct will not rain.
T: I’ll come if
it….?
d. present the correct form when L: I went there two
repeating all or part of student times.
utterance T: You’ve been.
You’ve been there
twice as a group?
e. indicate the error by repeating L: I eated a
it and waiting for the student sandwich.
to correct it T: I EATED a
sandwich?
f. indicate the error by asking for L: How many years
clarification and wait for the do you have?
student to correct it T: Could you say
that again?
Others:
…………………………………………………………………………………………..

6. When learners make errors, the teacher 1 2 3 4 5


should
a. show them what the errors are and give
the correct answer
b. show them what the errors are and let
them correct their errors by themselves
c. ask their friends to help them correct
the errors
Others:
…………………………………………………………………………………………..

For question 7, please rank from 1 to 4 in order of importance:


7. Among these types of errors: phonological errors, syntactic errors, lexical errors and
discourse errors, I think the types of errors that need to be corrected most are:
 Phonological errors
 Syntactic errors
 Lexical errors
 Discourse errors

39
Thank you for your cooperation.

40