Is Corrective Feedback in the ESL Classroom Really Effective? A Background Study

Gaston Bacquet


The use, range and efficacy of different types of corrective feedback in the ESL classroom have been widely researched, especially over the past 30 years. This paper attempts to dissect such research and to provide language teachers with an understanding of the background literature and theoretical views surrounding the subject. By summarizing different, often contrasting views on what corrective feedback is, how it works and how effective it is (or not), I strive to provide ESL teachers with a deeper understanding of the available literature and different perspectives that can hopefully better inform and shape our practice. The paper first provides definition of key terms related to corrective feedback, it proceeds to explore a range of theories and views and to look into the core studies regarding both written and spoken feedback and it ends with a short discussion on how these finding are relevant for ESL teachers.


Feedback, Fluency, Recasts, Metalinguistic Clues, Elicitation, Explicit, Implicit, Correction, Grammar Correction, Esl, Direct Feedback, Indirect Feedback

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