Motivating the Unmotivated: Making Teacher Corrective Feedback Work

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Amirkabir University of Technology

2 University of Tehran

Abstract

It is often wrongly assumed that the provision of teacher corrective feedback naturally entails learners' attendance to and application of it, but learners have repeatedly been reported not to pay attention to teacher feedback due to lack of motivation and the distracting effect of the grades they receive. The present study was an attempt to tackle this problem. To do so, the technique named Draft-Specific Scoring (Nemati & Azizi, 2013) was implemented. In DSS, learners receive both teacher feedback and grades on their first drafts; however, they are given up to two opportunities to apply teacher feedback and revise their drafts accordingly. The scores they receive may improve as a result of the quality of revisions they make. Students’ final scores will be the mean score of the grades they receive on the final drafts of each assignment. 57 Iranian intermediate students attending the ‘Advanced Writing’ course at University of Teheran, with an age range of 21 to 27 took part in this study. The gain score analysis and the SPANOVA used showed the superiority of DSS over more traditional methods in improving learners’ overall writing proficiency as well as fluency and accuracy of their written texts. Moreover, no adverse effect was observed for the treatment group regarding the grammatical complexity of their texts. This indicates that in order to make teacher feedback work, there are a number of intervening variables one needs to consider, the most important of which being learners’ motivation to attend to teacher feedback.

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