Improving the practice of giving feedback on ESL learners' written compositions

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Zeenat Shariff

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Lilian Vikiru

Third Supervisor/Advisor

Monica Hendricks


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


There has been increased research in the area of feedback in students' written compositions since Truscott's (1996) article that strongly argued against error correction in ESL learners' writing. Many of these research studies have, however, concentrated on the effect of teacher written corrective feedback on ESL learners' writin (Bitchener & Knoch, 2008;Ferris,2002; Haines,2004). Little attention has been given to the use of alternate feedback strategies to supplement teacher written feedback on leaners' writing. Besides, many of these studies have been more concerner with describing students' responses rather than trying to improve teachers' feedback practice. This study was, therefore, aimed compositions through use of self-correction and conferencing on ESL learners' compositions to supplement improved teacher written feedback.

The study, conducted in a form 3 (year 10) ESL class in secondary school in Dar es salaam, Tanzania, employed a qualitative approach; action research design. Data collected from interviews, observations, informal conversations and feedback exit slips with students and the subject teacher formed the basis of reflections and analysis.

The findings show that the use of these strategies lead to improved quality of learners' written compositions and learners' increased motivation and confidence in writing. The study concludes by recommending the use of these strategies to improve the practice of providing feedback on ESL learners' compositions to i,prove their writing skills.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library