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Does Teacher Feedback Make a Difference in Second Language Learning?

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1 Does Teacher Feedback Make a Difference in Second Language Learning?
Dr. Roy Lyster McGill University Montreal, Canada

2 Teaching in the 80s Krashen said that feedback was useless, and harmful, and would cause anxiety (more recently, see Krashen, 1994; Truscott, 1996). (I did not want anxious students, so I provided very little feedback.) Researchers said that errors would diminish over time. (I wanted to be patient, so I provided very little feedback.) My students had studied their L2 for 8 years… (How long would it take for errors to work themselves out?)

3 Serge and the Negotiation of Form
I observed a teacher named Serge who provided feedback without causing any any observable anxiety (Lyster, 1994). There was good-natured humour and the communication flow did NOT stop. Serge “negotiated form” with his students: Serge: How is formal correspondence different in English and French? Student 1: The thing at the bottom Serge: The thing at the bottom?! Student 1: The final salutation…

4 Feedback Terminology Error correction Negative feedback
Corrective feedback Interactional feedback Negotiation of meaning Negotiation of form

5 Rationale for Feedback: Transfer-appropriate Learning
The context in which learning occurs should resemble the context in which the learning will be put to use (Segalowitz, 2000): Language features learned in isolated grammar lessons may be remembered in similar contexts (e.g., during a grammar test), but hard to retrieve in the context of communicative interaction. Language features noticed during communicative interaction may be more easily retrieved in communicative contexts.

6 Teachable Moments: Focus on Form
Providing feedback “in the heat of the moment” when a learner really has something to say, rather than waiting till later… How can teachers do this? How can they focus on form during meaningful interaction? By providing different types of interactional feedback: recasts or prompts.

7 Recasts In a recast, the teacher implicitly reformulates the student’s utterance, minus the error. Example 1: Student: Before someone will takes* it. Teacher: Before someone takes it. Example 2: Student: Or an* boat. Teacher: Yes, that’s true that it could be a boat, but there they’re giving addresses.

8 Frequency of Recasts Recasts are the most frequent type of feedback in a wide range of classroom settings: elementary immersion classrooms (Lyster & Ranta, 1997; Mori, 2002) university-level foreign language classrooms (Doughty, 1994; Roberts, 1995) high school EFL classrooms (Tsang, 2004) adult ESL classrooms (Ellis, Basurkmen, & Loewen, 2001; Panova & Lyster, 2002)

9 Theoretical Value of Recasts
Based on claims that children frequently repeat their parents’ recasts during L1 acquisition, recasts have been promoted as an effective type of feedback; Some researchers hypothesize that recasts help learners to notice the gap between interlanguage forms and target forms, thus serving as “negative evidence”: Doughty (2001) Long (1996) Long & Robinson (1998)

10 Practical advantages…
Recasts provide supportive scaffolding that helps learners participate in lessons when the target forms in question are beyond their current abilities. Recasts are ideal for facilitating the delivery of complex subject matter (Lyster, 2002).

11 Disadvantages of Recasts
Recasts do not lead to any self- or peer-repair: when there is repair, the student can only repeat the teacher’s reformulation; In L2 classrooms, many recasts can be ambiguous and therefore do not help learners to notice their mistakes (Lyster, 1998).

12 Ambiguity of Recasts Recasts Compete with Non-Corrective Repetition
T6: What smells so good? Allen? St: *Sap maple*. T6: Maple sap. That’s good. Non-corrective repetition: T6: What do we call the baby of a hen? Nicole? St: Chicks. T6: Chicks. That’s good.

13 Ambiguity of Recasts Recasts Compete with Signs of Approval Example 1:
T5: What are orders?..Yes? St: It’s, just like uhh *you say us*, ‘do this, do that’ T5: Exactly, it’s when someone tells us ‘Do that, go there, eat that’. Example 2: T6: A hole in which a rabbit lives, Patrick? St: A *din*. T6: A den, that’s good.

14 Perlette and the Water Cycle
T5: What’s a stream again? Yes? StA: It’s like a small lake. T5: A small lake we said? StA: It’s *an little* river. T5: That’s it. It’s a little river, O.K.? Because a lake is a, a place where there’s water but it’s a ... Sts: Like a circle. T5: And so she finds herself near a forest. What do they do in the forest? Will? StB: They cut down trees. T5: They cut down trees.

15 Perlette and the Water Cycle
T5: What do they do to transport the wood? StC: Um, you put the wood in the water and the um, how do you say ‘emporter? Sts: ‘Carries’. T5: Carries, good. StC: *Carries [] tree to an place and another person who puts the wood*. T5: That’s it. So, they put the wood in the river so it gets transported from one place to another.

16 Perlette and the Water Cycle
T5: And when he’s talking to Perlette, what happens to the fish? St: He’s going to drink her. T5: He’s going to drink Perlette? No, he’s not going to drink Perlette. St: Uhm, the fish *is friend of her*. T5: Yes, that’s it, they’re friends and they talk together. Then suddenly what happens? Yes? StD: *A person fishing took*. T5: Exactly. Right, there’s a hook with a little worm on it and so the fish turns around.[...]

17 Perlette and the Water Cycle
T5: Why does she want to warm up do you think? Yes? StA: Because she *has* too cold to go into all the [?] T5: Because she is too cold, O.K. Yes? StB: She *has* too frightened. T5: Because she is frightened, yes.

18 Experimental Studies of Recasts
Some experimental studies have shown that recasts are more effective than no feedback in laboratory settings Long et al. (1998) Mackey & Philp (1998) in a classroom setting: Doughty & Varela (1998) showed that “corrective recasting” was more effective than no feedback: St: I think that the worm will go under the soil. T: I think that the worm will go under the soil? I thought that the worm would go under the soil.

19 Prompts: Negotiation of form
Clarification request The teacher pretends that the message has not been understood and that a repetition or a reformulation is required: Pardon me? I don’t understand Repetition The teacher repeats the student’s erroneous utterance, adjusting the intonation to highlight the error: He goed?

20 Prompts Metalinguistic clues
The teacher provides comments or questions related to the accuracy of the student’s utterance, without explicitly providing the correct form: Do we say ‘goed’ in English? No, that’s not it. Elicitation The teacher directly elicits correct forms from students by asking questions such as: How do we say that in English? He what?

21 Prompts Self-repair Frequency
Prompts lead to student-generated repair because, unlike recasts, they withhold correct forms and providing clues instead, pushing students to retrieve correct forms on their own (i.e., peer- or self-repair). Frequency Prompts accounted for 38% of all feedback in French immersion classrooms (Lyster & Ranta, 1997) and 26% in Japanese immersion classrooms (Mori, 2002).

22 Porcupines, Skunks, Hares, & Giraffes
T3: The porcupine? Sara? St: It’s the pines on its back, it’s ... T3: The pines. Do we say “pines”? StD: The upines. T3: The...? StD: The quills. T3: The quills. Very good. The quills.

23 Porcupines, Skunks, Hares, & Giraffes
T3: And so the skunk, what does it do? Karen St: does...Well there’s *a stream of perfume* that doesn’t smell very good... T3: A stream of perfume, we’ll call that a ...? Sts: Liquid. T3: Liquid. A liquid . . .? StD: Smelly. T3: A smelly liquid. We also call that [..]

24 Porcupines, Skunks, Hares, & Giraffes
T3: The hare. Joseph could you tell us what its means of defense are? St: It runs fast and it hops. T3: It runs fast. StD: It jump*. T3: It jump? Sts: It jumps. T3: It jumps, from the verb. . . ? Sts: To jump. T3: To jump. It jumps about. Right, it jumps. Next, Joseph?

25 Porcupines, Skunks, Hares, & Giraffes
T3: Bigger than you would be what? St: *The giraffe*? [masc.] T3: The giraffe? [masc.] St: The giraffe. [fem.] T3: The giraffe.[fem.] But is the giraffe an animal from Canada?

26 Effectiveness of Prompts
Prompts can improve control over already-internalized forms by providing opportunities for: pushed output, hypothesized by Swain (1985, 1988) to move interlanguage development forward, practice that helps learners in the transition of declarative to procedural knowledge (de Bot, 1996; Lyster & Ranta, 1997).

27 Effectiveness of Prompts
L2 learners benefit more from being pushed to retrieve target language forms than from merely hearing the forms in the input because the retrieval and subsequent production require a deep level of processing that stimulates connections in memory (de Bot, 1996). Studies comparing recasts with prompts in classroom settings have shown that prompts are more effective than recasts: Havranek & Cesnik (2001) Ammar (2003) Lyster (2004)

28 Ammar (2003) Third-person possessive determiners in English (his and her) were targeted in three 6th-grade intensive ESL classrooms over a four-week period. One class received recasts, another received prompts, and the third received no feedback. The group receiving prompts significantly outperformed the recast group on written and oral post-tests Prompts were particularly effective for lower-proficiency learners, whereas higher-proficiency learners benefited similarly from both recasts and prompts.

29 Lyster (2004) Grammatical gender in French was targeted by three 5th-grade immersion teachers in different ways that permitted comparisons of three oral feedback options: prompts, recasts, and no feedback. A comparison group received no form-focused instruction nor any pre-planned feedback on grammatical gender. The analysis of eight proficiency measures administered over time showed that the group receiving prompts distinguished itself by being the only group to significantly outperform the comparison group on all eight measures.

30 When to use recasts… Depending on the interactional context, learners are likely to notice the corrective quality of many recasts, especially when: the recasts have been shortened and/or provided with added stress to highlight the error the target forms are beyond the students’ current abilities.

31 When to use prompts… Learners benefit from being pushed to produce modified output by means of prompting, especially when: recasts might be perceived ambiguously as approving students’ use of non-target forms students have reached a developmental plateau in their use of the non-target forms (i.e., fossilized forms) and need to automatize target forms.

32 Conclusion Continued recasting of what students already know is likely ineffective for ensuring continued development of L2 accuracy. Continued prompting of learners to draw on what they have not yet acquired will be equally ineffective. Effective L2 teachers need to orchestrate the use of both recasts and prompts, without abandoning one at the expense of the other.

33 References Ammar, A. (2003). Corrective feedback and L2 learning: Elicitation and recasts. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, McGill University, Montreal. Braidi, S. (2002). Reexamining the role of recasts in native-speaker/nonnative-speaker interactions. Language Learning, 52, 1-42. de Bot, K. (1996). The psycholinguistics of the output hypothesis. Language Learning, 46, Doughty, C. (2001). Cognitive underpinnings of focus on form. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Cognition and second language instruction (pp ). New York: Cambridge University Press. Doughty, C., & Varela, E. (1998). Communicative focus on form. In C. Doughty & J. Williams (Eds.), Focus on form in classroom second language acquisition (pp ). New York: Cambridge University Press. Havranek, G., & Cesnik, H. (2001). Factors affecting the success of corrective feedback. EUROSLA Yearbook, 1, Krashen, S. (1994). The input hypothesis and its rivals. In: N. Ellis (ed), Implicit and Explicit learning of Languages. London: Academic Press, pp Leeman, J. (2003). Recasts and second language development: Beyond negative evidence. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 25, Long, M. (1996). The role of the linguistic environment in second language acquisition. In W. C. Ritchie & T. K. Bhatia (Eds.), Handbook of language acquisition: Vol. 2. Second language acquisition (pp ). San Diego, CA: Academic Press. Long, M., Inagaki, S., & Ortega, L. (1998). The role of implicit negative evidence in SLA: Models and recasts in Japanese and Spanish. Modern Language Journal, 82,

34 References Long, M., & Robinson, P. (1998). Focus on Form: Theory, research, and practice. In C. Doughty & J. Williams (Eds.), Focus on form in classroom second language acquisition (pp.15-41). New York: Cambridge University Press. Lyster, R. (1994b). La négociation de la forme : stratégie analytique en classe d’immersion. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 50, Lyster, R. (1998). Recasts, repetition, and ambiguity in L2 classroom discourse. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 20, Lyster, R. (2002). Negotiation in immersion teacher-student interaction. International Journal of Educational Research, 37, Lyster, R. (2004). Differential effects of prompts and recasts in form-focused instruction. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26: Lyster, R., & Ranta, L. (1997). Corrective feedback and learner uptake: Negotiation of form in communicative classrooms. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 19, Mackey, A., & Philp, J. (1998). Conversational interaction and second language development: Recasts, responses, and red herrings? Modern Language Journal, 82, Oliver, R., & Mackey, A. (2003). Interactional context and feedback in child ESL classrooms. The Modern Language Journal, 87, Swain, M. (1985). Communicative competence: Some roles of comprehensible input and comprehensible output in its development. In S. Gass & C. Madden (Eds.), Input in second language acquisition (pp ). Rowley, MA: Newbury House. Swain, M. (1988). Manipulating and complementing content teaching to maximize second language learning. TESL Canada Journal, 6,

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