ArticlesVol. 3, No. 2 (2003)

Can Corrective Feedback Bring About Substantial Changes in the Learner Interlanguage System?

Satoko Yamamoto

Teachers College, Columbia University

Abstract

The 2003 Applied Linguistics and Language Education (APPLE) Award Winning M.A. Essay in TESOL
This paper explores the role of corrective feedback in communicative language classrooms. Seven empirical studies investigating the effectiveness of corrective feedback are examined to determine if corrective feedback can lead to substantial changes in learners’ interlanguage systems over the long term and to find out what factors are necessary for effective feedback. The review of literature reveals that corrective feedback can have an impact on learners’ interlanguage systems if teachers follow the necessary procedures: assessment of learners’ needs, analysis of the nature of errors, and employment of methods that pinpoint errors to make learners notice a mismatch between their output and the target form. However, corrective feedback over a short period is not sufficient and the availability of numerous opportunities to receive corrective feedback and follow-up exposure seems to be a crucial factor in deciding the efficacy of feedback.