Do Two Wrongs Make a Write(r)? Some Effects and Non-effects of WCF on Arabic L1 Students’ English Academic Writing

  • Anthony Solloway


Within the field of second language (L2) writing pedagogy there exists a substantial body of work—and an on-going debate of some not inconsiderable length and controversy—on the putative effects (or otherwise) of written corrective feedback (WCF) on the formal accuracy (surface-level mechanics and orthographic correctness) of student compositions (cf. e.g., the claims and counterclaims in the exchanges between Chandler, 2003, 2004; Ferris, 1999; Truscott, 1996, 1999, 2004). The “key question” at the heart of the matter for writing teachers, state Sheen, Wright, and Moldawa (2009, p. 557), is whether or not WCF assists “writers to improve their written accuracy in writing over time.” However, cogent answers to this (deceptively simple) question have thus far proven to be elusive. Indeed, as remarked by (Ferris, 2004, p. 49) “despite the published debate and several decades of research activity in this area, we are virtually at Square One.” In addition to a relative lack of satisfying answers to the question of the efficacy of WCF in L2 writing there is also a relative dearth of research in this area with Arabic L1 students. Indeed, at the time of writing, the only papers on WCF in an Arabic L1 context of which the present teacher-researcher is aware are Diab (2006), who conducted research into teachers’ and students’ error correction preferences in Lebanon, and Gobert (2010) and Schneider (2010), both of whom carried out WCF research in classrooms in the United Arab Emirates.1 It is the small sub-body of literature on WCF with Arabic L1 students of English to which the present study aims to contribute.


Mixed Model ANOVA Speech Error Orthographic Correctness English Writing Relative Dearth 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony Solloway
    • 1
  1. 1.United Arab Emirates University (UAEU)Al AinUAE

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