An Explanation of the Effectiveness of Written Corrective Feedback in Second-Language Acquisition




Wagner, Jason Paul

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The purpose of this study is to provide a theoretical explanation for the effectiveness of Written Corrective Feedback (WCF) in increasing second-language (L2) students’ grammatical accuracy. WCF is examined via Skill Acquisition Theory (SAT) in order to account for uneven patterns of its effectiveness. As the study demonstrates, WCF is effective at increasing accuracy for some grammatical categories, but not for others. This SAT analysis also clarifies the seemingly contradictory findings in the literature regarding WCF’s overall effectiveness. Under SAT, for an instructional strategy for grammar to be effective, it must: (1) impart adequate and clear declarative knowledge of grammatical constructions and (2) provide a practice procedure whereby L2 students can proceduralize and eventually automatize grammatical knowledge. WCF that can accomplish these two goals is effective at increasing L2 students’ grammatical accuracy over time, whereas WCF that cannot is ineffective even when used over a substantial span of time.



Linguistics, English as a Second Language (ESL), Language, Defining Grammatical Complexity, Second Language Acquisition, Second Language Pedagogy, Second Language Teaching Strategies, Skill Acquisition Theory, Written Corrective Feedback