Investigating ESL/EFL students’ approaches in response to revision processes: A case study

Journal Article
Alsharif, Amerah Abdullah . 2017
Publication Work Type: 
Research study
written corrective feedback, revision processes, ESL/EFL students approach to revision
Magazine \ Newspaper: 
Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies
Issue Number: 
Volume Number: 
Publication Abstract: 

The issues surrounding giving feedback to second language (L2) learners have attracted the interests of a number of researchers to date. Most continue to wonder how to give L2 students effective feedback. Some studies found that ESL/EFL students focus mainly on surface-level issues, those that relate to grammatical and mechanical aspects of writing, when attending to teacher feedback. Others found that students attend to meaning-level feedback as well, which relates to meaning changes, such as sentence clarification or the request to add a topic sentence. This raises a question: why do some students focus on surface-level issues while others focus on meaning-level issues? This study aimed to identify and understand the revision approach of six highly motivated ESL/EFL learners, analyzing their texts and confirming the results from their own point of view. We employed three data sources: structured and retrospective interviews, the students‘ written texts, and the tutors‘ written feedback. The students‘ revised drafts were analyzed using Faighly and Witte‘s (1981) taxonomy of revisions, which helped to clarify the dominant features of the students‘ revisions. Even though the students were at the same proficiency level, half of them focused on broader meaning-level changes (labeled as global-oriented students) and the other half were inclined to focus on surface-level changes (labeled as local-oriented students). Determining whether learners are local or global in their orientation is important in increasing the impact of feedback in perfecting students‘ writing. Further investigation on this issue may significantly improve the way in which written feedback is provided and utilized.

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