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Title: The role of corrective feedback and individual differences in second language learning
Authors: Martakush, Al Khansaa
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The question of corrective feedback (CF) effectiveness in second language (L2) learning is still under debate. Research has shown that a number of variables can play a role in determining how a certain CF technique works for L2 learning. However, this research has raised more questions that did it answer, especially with regards to how individual differences among learners impact the way CF works for those learners. The present study is an attempt to further our understanding of the topic. It aims at investigating the effects of recasts as one CF strategy on learning English past tense by ESL learners and the extent to which learners’ individual differences in anxiety, motivation and attitude might mediate these effects using a methodology that has not been implemented by any other study in this respect. More specifically, the study examined a) whether recasts lead to learner uptake/repair of past tense errors, and if so, whether recasts characteristics (full vs. partial), the part of the target structure (regular vs. irregular) mediate the rate of uptake/repair, b) whether recasts help learners improve accuracy in the use of past tense, and if so, whether recasts effectiveness are mediated by the type of the target structure and learners individual differences. To this end, 40 participants at a lower-intermediate level in English took part in this study and formed a recasts group (N=20) and a control group (N=20). Learners were involved in 5 treatment sessions with the researcher on one-to-one basis where they completed a number of tasks designed to maximize the chance of producing past tense and receiving recasts when errors occurred in its use in the case of the recasts group. Learners’ use of past test was tested three times employing a pre-test, immediate post-test and delayed post-test design. For each testing session, two measures were administered; an oral production measure and a written production measure. To measure learners’ individual differences in relation to the three constructs involved in the study, learners completed two questionnaires and their heart rate was monitored using heart rate monitors to detect their anxiety levels. The results demonstrated that recasts led to a very high rate of uptake following regular and irregular past tense errors, however, the rate of repair was greater for irregular past errors than the regular. Recast characteristics mediated recasts effectiveness with partial recasts generating a higher rate of uptake and repair compared to full recasts. Results of the testing sessions revealed that recasts helped learners improve their accuracy in the use of past tense, in particular for the regular past tense in both the oral and written measures. Moreover, among the three ID factors investigated in this study, only anxiety had an impact on the role of recasts in the oral test only with the low-anxiety recasts group outperforming the control groups in the delayed post-test. On the other hand, motivation and attitude measured by the four subscales of the AMTB did not seem to impact the way recasts work on the learning of the simple past tense. As such, the present study has fostered current perspectives on the role of CF and ID in L2 theory and pedagogy.
Description: Ph. D. Thesis.
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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