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The role of feedback in Malaysian ESL secondary school classrooms


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Othman, WM 2012 , 'The role of feedback in Malaysian ESL secondary school classrooms', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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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.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Othman, WM
Keywords: oral corrective feedback, secondary school classrooms, Malaysian ESL classrooms, role of corrective feedback
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