University Of Tasmania
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The role of feedback in Malaysian ESL secondary school classrooms

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posted on 2023-05-26, 02:12 authored by Othman, WM
This study examined the role of oral corrective feedback in the context of ESL (English as a second language) in one Malaysian state. Recent studies have provided empirical evidence to support a positive role for feedback in students' second language development. However there has also been evidence that suggests that oral corrective feedback is used in only a limited way in the Malaysian context. In seeking to understand this limited use of oral corrective feedback, Malaysian teachers' views were gained and their classroom teaching behaviours were investigated. The students' views on oral corrective feedback were also gained, particularly in relation to their attitudes and feelings towards the oral corrective feedback used by their teachers. While most studies have only examined the teachers' perspective, it was a feature of the design of this study to also include the students' perspectives in order to provide a more comprehensive approach to understanding the limited use of oral corrective feedback in this context. The study data were gained from a mixed methods approach of surveys, semi-structured interviews and classroom observation sessions, collected over five months in 42 secondary schools in the state of Penang, Malaysia. Of the 172 lower secondary school English teachers who responded to the questionnaire, 6 also participated in the interviews and classroom observations. The students' survey was completed by 1843 lower secondary school students. The analysis of the qualitative data was based on a constructivist approach which utilised grounded theory and coded strategies by thematic analysis; the quantitative data were analysed using standard statistical analysis procedures (SPSS) to provide descriptive statistics of frequency distributions, median scores and Chi-square tests. The main finding from data on the teachers' perspective was that they shared similar views on issues related to the use of oral corrective feedback in classroom lessons. Interestingly, the choice of oral corrective feedback by the teachers in the observation sessions did not seem to depend on the student oral language error types, as previous studies had shown. However, there were some variations evident in the types of oral corrective feedback used for certain error types. A second main finding of the study was that students actually perceived oral corrective feedback positively. They felt positive attitudes and feelings towards the error correction received from their teachers and they were keen to receive more teacher correction. This study contributes to both the theory and practice of English teaching and learning within a lower secondary ESL classroom context. It has provided insights into how English teachers might attend more usefully to their students' English learning needs, particularly by extending their use of oral corrective feedback.


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