At the end of 1980s, errors started to be seemed as a result of developmental stage, which was a turning point stated by Shaughnessy (1977). Making an error lost its highly negative connotation something that previously showed “illitratecy” and “irremedibality” of the students. Questions concerning the reasons for correcting errors, which errors should be corrected, when (in which phase of writing), how and who should correct them have been asked by researchers, (Bitchener and Ferries, 2012).
Error correction is one of the main dilemmas for most of the teachers because it looks always tricky to know when and how to correct students mistakes. The danger of over-correcting is that students will lose motivation and may even destroy the flow of the class or activity by butting in and correcting every single mistake. It’s important to know when and how errors should be corrected. Of course, every teacher may have his/her different views on it. Some of them may ask students if they are comfort with correction. Majority of students prefer to give feedback from their teachers and expect their errors to be corrected. There are different types of correction, self-correction and peer correction and teacher correction.
Without providing feedback to students in the writing classroom, students would have little logic behind doing the task of writing (Kroll, 2001). Giving feedback can be regarded as the supporter of learning process (Gibbs & Simpson, 2004). In fact, comments given to students help them gain control over what they write and develop a questioning mind which guides them to view what they write from the readers’ point of view (Sommers, 1982).
The usefulness of feedback considerably depends on the sources and providers of feedback who are considered as significant types of feedback providers is peer feedback as a learning tool, it can lead to considerable improvement and revisions of texts (Black, Harrison, lee, Marshall & William, 2003; Paulus, 1999). Similarly, teacher feedback functions as a motivator and on instructional opportunity that can encourage students and guide them to modify texts by following what is asked for in the written commentaries (Ferris, 2007).
Over the past fifty years, however, teachers’ focus has moved towards the instruction of content (Hillocks, 2005). More recently scholars have focused attention on the importance of considering both form and meaning by teachers in their revision of their students’ writing (Ityland, 2003); now teachers are encouraged to provide comments on content on the early drafts and on grammatical structures when students develop their idea completely (Raimes, 1983). Hyland and Hyland (2006) pointed out, feedback is fluidly connected to a teachers’ beliefs, knowledge, and identity as well as to social and institutional policies.
In addition, the characteristic features of effective and helpful feedback can be mentioned as, first, it should be both criterion-based and reader-based, that is, it should tell the student writer whether or not the piece of writing has achieved the intended communication purpose. It should address not only the clarity of communication and organization of ideas, but it should also show the writer the effect that the writing has on the reader. Such feedback nurtures the students’ confidence as writers, and increases their motivation to improve their writing (Hyland & Hyland, 2001; Lantolf & Pavlenko, 2001; Peterson & MacClay, 2010; Stern & Solomon, 2006). Second, effective feedback should be suggestive rather than prescriptive in order to support students’ sense of ownership of their writing. Instead of taking the form of instructions and criticisms that promote the student to think about ways of improving the draft (Peterson, 2010). Third, effective and helpful feedback should be clear and easy to decode and understand, and the criteria for success should be clear to the students (Hodges, 1997; White, 2007).
Corrective feedback is any type of written or oral comment, information or question provided to learners which indicates that there is an error in their usage of the language. It can be explicit or implicit. Explicit feedback can be overt error correction, the provision of a grammatical explanation (metalinguistic information) or a combination of the two. According to Lightbown and Spada (2006), metalinguistic typically contains grammatical terminology that refers to the nature of the error.
Unlike explicit feedback, implicit feedback signals incomprehensible language or a misformulation without interrupting the flow of the interaction. In addition, rather than serving solely as a correction effort, its primary function is often an attempt to clarify the meaning and prevent a breakdown in communication. Thus, implicit feedback includes negotiation strategies such as confirmation checks, clarification requests and comprehension checks.
Corrective feedback can be provided both orally and in written form and in response to a range of errors, including linguistic, content, organization, and even discourse and pragmatic errors. Written errors include errors of; content (e.g. story line, description, theme, main points, elaboration, etc), form (e.g. grammar use, vocabulary use, spelling, punctuation, conjunction and referencing) and presentation and layout.
According to AbuSeileek (2012), writing aspects are the features of writing skill, including content, structural organization (text level), structural organization (sentence level), grammatical accuracy, punctuation, lexicon and spelling.
Error correction has not only been a debatable topic theoretically; language teaching methodologies have also varied considerably regarding their stance on the role and usefulness of error correction (Nassaji, 2015).
Toward the end of 20th century and at the beginning of the 21th century, numerous second language studies were conducted to determine the effectiveness of direct and indirect instruction by giving several types of corrective feedback. Many of them provided evidence that direct instruction and corrective feedback facilitates second language acquisition (Ayoun, 2001; Dekhinet, 2008; Dodigovic, 2007; Lyster & Izquierdo, 2009; Nassaji, 2009). There is research evidence showing that direct and indirect feedback has no different effects on student accuracy in writing (Robb, Ross & Shortreed, 1986; Semke, 1984). However, there are students which suggest that indirect feedback brings more benefits to students’ long term writing development than direct feedback (Ferries, 2003; Fratzen, 1995; Lalende, 1982) through “increased student engagement and attention to forms and problems” (Ferris, 2003, p.52). The danger of direct feedback, according to Ferries (2002), is that teachers may misinterpret students’ intention and meaning and put words into their mouths. Direct feedback, however, may be appropriate for beginner students and when the errors are “untreatable”, that is when students are not able to see correct form, such as syntax and vocabulary errors. (Ferris, 2002, 2003).
Scholars later divided corrective feedback into six different types such as explicit correction that clearly indicating that the students utterance was incorrect then the teacher provides the correct form, recast which is the way that without directly indicating that the students utterance was incorrect, the teacher implicitly reformulates the students error or provides the correction, clarification request that by using phrases like “Excuse me?” or “I don’t understand” the teacher indicates that the message has not been understood or that the students’ utterance contained some kind of mistake and that a repetition or a reformulation is required, elicitation which the teacher directly elicits the correct form from the student by asking the question or by pausing to allow the student to complete the teachers’ utterance or by asking students to reformulate the utterance(elicitation questions differ from questions that are defined as metalinguistic clues in that they require more than yes/no response). And finally repetition that the teacher repeats the students’ error and adjusts intonation to draw students’ attention to it. (Tedic”,D. & Gortari”,B. (1998)).
The results of various studies show that in order to achieve a devised result in the process of learning a second/foreign language, learners’ errors should be responded properly (Nicholas, 2013). The effect of corrective feedback on improving verbal and nonverbal proficiency of the learners is evaluated positive by Bitcher (2008). Nassaji (2009) studied the effect of two types of corrective feedback, i.e. explicit correction and elicitation, on grammatical mistakes of a group of second language learners. The result of this investigation shows the explicit correction was more effective than elicitation in a short period of time.
Electronic feedback uses computer as a means to give written CF to the learners. In this sense, with the useful tools in the computer, the learners are able to receive completely precise feedback about spelling, grammatical features. Chang et al. (2012) claimed that in their online survey, with three close-ended questions and two open-ended questions, undergraduate participants preferred e-feedback for its accessibility, timelines, and legibility. McGrath and Leadbeater (2016) conducted two studies about the acquisition and attitude of the learners about the use of digital media for writing composition, especially electronic feedback. In both studies, the instructors, comments and interviews were employed on electronic copies of the students’ written drafts that could be revised and resubmitted. The analysis of study 1 revealed that unexplained editing changes made the learners more confused. In contrast, the learners had more responsibilities in revision session in their written product with the support of detailed comments. On the other hand, in study 2, the learners had a positive attitude about the convenience, legibility, organization, and quantity of feedback when provided electronically. So, by computer mediated corrective feedback the user may have access to different types of computer-based facilities that may help in providing feedback for students regarding their errors and mistakes. According to Yeha and Lob (2009), corrective feedback or error correction provided via written computer-mediated communication could play an important role in developing learners’ metalinguistic awareness, especially marking up text with colored annotations and focusing the learners’ attention on limited information. This makes corrective feedback an effective way to draw learners’ attention to error and the feedback about it in the written text. As the use of computer-mediated corrective-feedback method has become more common in writing classes, different studies have looked for more innovative ways to aid learners in developing their writing abilities (Hyland & Hyland “,2006) and called for a test of the effectiveness of new technologies on teaching learners how to write (Ware & Warschauer, 2006).
Building on the idea that CALL might be developed to reflect ideal conditions for L2 development, position paper by Chapelle (1998) identified features of interaction that could be directly applied to instruction in a computer-mediated environment, such as making key linguistic features salient, supporting modified interaction between the learner and interlocutor, and providing opportunities for learners to notice their errors, to modify their output, and to receive comprehensible input. Based on hypothesis regarding ideal second language acquisition (SLA) conditions, such as the importance of interaction, exposure to comprehensible input, and opportunities for output and feedback (Long, 1996; Pica, 1994). These principles were later expanded upon by Doughy and Long (2003) to include features of task-based language learning and teaching.
In the last few decades a rich body of empirical evidence demonstrating on the efficacy of interactional features in computer-mediated environments, with studies demonstrating positive benefits for a wide range of L2 skills, including comprehension (e.g. Yanguas”,2012), vocabulary (e.g. Smith, 2004), proficiency (e.g. Payne & Whitney, 2002), and the quality and quantity of pragmatic studies (e.g. Sykes, 2005″,2014).