Vol 3 No 1 (2017)

Published: 2017-03-29

Editorial Section

Editors' Introduction

Grant Eckstein, Betsy Gilliland

This article introduces the first issue of the third volume of Journal of Response to Writing.  

Featured Articles

Creating the climate and space for peer review within the writing classroom

Helen Dixon, Eleanor Hawe

Substantive and on-going critique of the quality of one's writing is necessary if students are to experience writing as a recursive process. However, students’ willingness to critique their texts and those of others is dependent upon the creation of a trusting and mutually supportive learning environment. Using the naturalistic setting of an elementary school writing classroom, attention is drawn to the ways in which two teachers nurtured competence and communication trust (Reina & Reina, 2006) between themselves and students, and among students. Consideration is also paid to teachers’ creation and use of public and private spaces to promote interactions that helped writers revise and recraft substantive aspects of their writing in an ongoing and iterative manner.

Teachers’ (formative) feedback practices in EFL writing classes in Norway

Drita Saliu-Abdulahi, Glenn Ole Hellekjær, Frøydis Hertzberg

This qualitative study reports on teachers’ (formative) feedback practices in writing instruction. Observations and interviews were used to collect data from ten upper-secondary teachers of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) writing classes in Norway. The findings indicate that while the teachers attempt to comply with the requirements of the national curriculum regarding formative assessment, and acknowledge the pivotal role of feedback in that pedagogy, the dominant tendency is still to deliver feedback to a finished text. As such, there is limited use of feedback for the current text and no resubmission for new assessment, while feedforward is reduced to the correction of language mistakes, which does not foster writing development except for language accuracy. The limited use formative feedback suggests the need for more systematic professional development of the teachers.

The effect of mid-focused and unfocused written corrections on the acquisition of grammatical structures

Ahsan Pashazadeh

Studies that have reported delayed positive effects for written corrective feedback (WCF) have typically targeted the use of articles for first- and subsequent-mention functions, using narrowly focused corrections that lack ecological validity. Not much is known about how different grammatical features react to mid-focused and unfocused WCF options, which enjoy more ecological validity. This study investigates the delayed effect of different types of WCF on English as a foreign language (EFL) learners' accurate use of three features of English grammar (articles, infinitive, and unreal conditional). Four groups of participants (N = 77) were treated with different feedback options (mid-focused corrections, unfocused corrections, unfocused corrections plus revision, and no corrective feedback). WCF did not produce lasting accuracy gains, nor did it help corrected students outperform uncorrected students on a delayed posttest. 

Audiovisual commentary as a way to reduce transactional distance and increase teaching presence in online writing instruction: Student perceptions and preferences

Anna Grigoryan

The rapid increase in online learning programs has led to an increase in the number of students taking composition courses online. As a result, there is a need to develop teaching practices and approaches to feedback designed specifically for online learning environments, which serve a largely nontraditional student population. Addressing a current gap in the literature regarding approaches to feedback that meet the needs of nontraditional students, this quasi-experimental study used a process model of composition and post-positivist and social constructivist epistemological orientations to measure student perceptions and preferences when provided with text-only feedback or a combination of textual and audio-visual commentary. Results indicate that the majority of students, if given the choice, prefer a combination of audio-visual and text-based commentary to textual feedback alone because they consider it helpful and feel that it enhances their overall understanding of instructor feedback by providing more detail and by using auditory and visual modes of communication. Students also liked audio-visual feedback because they considered it a form of personalized and individualized interaction, and some felt that it helped them spend more time and effort on revision. 

Teaching Articles

Moving beyond corrective feedback: (Re)engaging with student writing in L2 through audio response

Jennifer Ahern-Dodson, Deborah Reisinger

This article examines teacher feedback on student compositions in an Advanced French Composition course at a Research 1 institution. Our study suggests that when teachers combine written corrective feedback with audio comments, their engagement in grading compositions may rise significantly. As teachers bring renewed energy to familiar responding practices, they shift from “grader” to “reader.” These findings have important implications for teacher training and the role of feedback in L2 courses.