Chiến lược chữa lỗi bài viết trong giảng dạy kỹ năng viết cho người học ngoại ngữ

Trong những năm gần đây đã có rất nhiều những tranh luận xung quanh hiệu quả của việc chữa lỗi bài viết cho người học ngoại ngữ trong giờ giảng dạy kỹ năng Viết. Những nghiên cứu đầu tiên về chữa lỗi viết được thực hiện bởi Truscott (1996). Ông cho rằng, không nên chữa lỗi ngữ pháp trong bài viết của người học, bởi việc này không hiệu quả đối với việc nâng cao kỹ năng Viết cho người học. Phản đối quan điểm của Truscott, Ferris (2008) cho rằng, việc xử lý lỗi viết, bao gồm việc chữa lỗi của giáo viên, là rất quan trọng trong việc giảng dạy kỹ năng viết. Xung quanh vấn đề này còn có rất nhiều nghiên cứu về cách tiếp cận lỗi của người học ra sao cho phù hợp cũng như các chiến lược chữa lỗi hiệu quả cần được áp dụng như thế nào trong giờ dạy kỹ năng Viết cho người học ngoại ngữ. Do có nhiều tranh luận về các biện pháp chữa lỗi khác nhau nên bài viết sẽ nghiên cứu các chiến lược chữa lỗi với mục đích phân tích những điểm mạnh và điểm yếu khác nhau của mỗi phương pháp, để từ đó giúp giáo viên có lựa chọn chiến lược phù hợp trong giờ giảng dạy kỹ năng Viết cho người học ngoại ngữ

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Chiến lược chữa lỗi bài viết trong giảng dạy kỹ năng viết cho người học ngoại ngữ
53KHOA HỌC NGOẠI NGỮ QUÂN SỰSố 07 - 5/2017
PHƯƠNG PHÁP GIẢNG DẠY v
INTRODUCTION
During the history of teaching writing to 
EFL learners, there has been a constant dispute 
among the scholars and the teachers on the role of 
the teachers’ error feedback in learners’ second 
language acquisition (SLA). Although the issue 
of error feedback has produced a wealth of studies 
over the years, these studies have mostly looked 
at the effect of error feedback (Bitchener, 2008; 
Truscott, 2007) or the appropriateness of error 
feedback (Ferris, 2008). Even that many feedback 
strategies have been mentioned and studied in 
LÊ THU HƯƠNG*
*Đại học Kinh thế Quốc dân, ✉ lethuhuongp@gmail.com 
Ngày nhận: 13/3/2017; Ngày hoàn thiện: 26/4/2017; Ngày duyệt đăng: 10/5/2017
CHIẾN LƯỢC CHỮA LỖI BÀI VIẾT 
TRONG GIẢNG DẠY KỸ NĂNG VIẾT 
CHO NGƯỜI HỌC NGOẠI NGỮ 
TÓM TẮT
Trong những năm gần đây đã có rất nhiều những tranh luận xung quanh hiệu quả của việc chữa 
lỗi bài viết cho người học ngoại ngữ trong giờ giảng dạy kỹ năng Viết. Những nghiên cứu đầu tiên 
về chữa lỗi viết được thực hiện bởi Truscott (1996). Ông cho rằng, không nên chữa lỗi ngữ pháp 
trong bài viết của người học, bởi việc này không hiệu quả đối với việc nâng cao kỹ năng Viết cho 
người học. Phản đối quan điểm của Truscott, Ferris (2008) cho rằng, việc xử lý lỗi viết, bao gồm 
việc chữa lỗi của giáo viên, là rất quan trọng trong việc giảng dạy kỹ năng viết. Xung quanh vấn 
đề này còn có rất nhiều nghiên cứu về cách tiếp cận lỗi của người học ra sao cho phù hợp cũng 
như các chiến lược chữa lỗi hiệu quả cần được áp dụng như thế nào trong giờ dạy kỹ năng Viết 
cho người học ngoại ngữ. Do có nhiều tranh luận về các biện pháp chữa lỗi khác nhau nên bài 
viết sẽ nghiên cứu các chiến lược chữa lỗi với mục đích phân tích những điểm mạnh và điểm yếu 
khác nhau của mỗi phương pháp, để từ đó giúp giáo viên có lựa chọn chiến lược phù hợp trong 
giờ giảng dạy kỹ năng Viết cho người học ngoại ngữ. 
Từ khóa: chữa lỗi, giảng dạy tiếng Anh, kỹ năng Viết.
some researches, far too little attention has been 
paid to analyze and compare error feedback 
types themselves without referring to any other 
related components such as self-correction, 
writing practice or different linguistic error 
categories in specific cases. Therefore, the aim 
of this paper is to fill the gap by reviewing recent 
researches into commonly applied feedback 
strategies only on EFL learners’ writing skills 
with deep analysis and then supports teachers in 
selecting the most appropriate strategies in their 
own writing classes. 
54 KHOA HỌC NGOẠI NGỮ QUÂN SỰSố 07 - 5/2017
v PHƯƠNG PHÁP GIẢNG DẠY
ERROR FEEDBACK AND EFL 
LEARNERS’ WRITING SKILL
Recently, researchers have shown an 
increased interest in the effect of error feedback 
on EFL learners’ writing including Truscott 
J., Ferris D.R., Roberts or Abedi. The issue of 
whether error correction works or not continues 
to be controversial and the strongest debate 
is being made by two big names Truscott and 
Ferris in the field of EFL error feedback. 
Truscott (1999; 2007) strongly argues against 
the effectiveness of grammatical feedback in 
EFL writing by pointing out the numerous 
problems in practice such as the teachers’ lack 
of knowledge or the learners’ different behaviors 
with the teachers’ feedback. Therefore, it is his 
belief that error correction is of little benefit or 
even counterproductive so it should be kept aside 
in EFL writing classrooms. In an earlier study 
of Zamel (1985), the quality of error feedback 
is doubted as the teachers are neither consistent 
nor systematic in providing feedback to learners. 
Championing the case against Truscott’s 
firmly held position, Ferris and Roberts (2001) 
argue that Truscott’s arguments were premature 
and also strongly give the rapidly growing 
research evidence pointing out that error 
correction is widely seen as an essential factor 
in writing improvement by the teachers and 
learners, providing it is selective, prioritized and 
clear. Regarding this point, the study of Ferris 
and Roberts (2001) emphasizes the importance 
of accuracy in writing and therefore error 
correction has contributed a lot in the learners’ 
written output accuracy. Fathman and Walley 
(1990) conduct a study on the effect of error 
feedback on learners’ improvement in writing. 
Two groups including one group receiving error 
feedback and one receiving little feedback were 
observed. It has been demonstrated that the 
former did much better in grammatical writing 
than those received little feedback. 
Finally, Ferris and Roberts (2001) conclude 
that controversy continues as regards whether 
error feedback improves learners’ writing 
accuracy and their writing ability. As Bitcherner 
(2008) reminds us, it has been too early to draw 
out the conclusive answer to the question of 
whether error feedback is effective to improve 
EFL learners’ accuracy. As a result, the teachers 
cannot dismiss the learners’ strong desire for 
error feedback. While there seems to be growing 
evidence showing that some strategies for 
error feedback may be more effective than the 
others, the research to date has tended to focus 
on investigating the different types of feedback 
strategies for the discussion of efficiency and 
prominence for the sake of the EFL learners’ 
writing skill improvement. 
OVERVIEW OF WRITTEN ERROR 
FEEDBACK STRATEGIES
In the analysis of Ferris (2008), error is 
widely seen as crucial writing development by 
the teachers. In the present study, the learners’ 
errors are also welcomed on their writing for the 
progress of writing ability. 
A number of different ways in which errors 
can be corrected have been identified based 
on a theoretical view on how feedback works 
for acquisition by methodologists and SLA 
researchers. Delgado (2007) takes the view that 
the teachers decide ... the text will 
be given back to the learner for their consultation 
of the electronic resources to compare his/her 
errors with illustrated language samples. To some 
extent, it can assist learners in self correction. 
Following the report of Milton, by using Mark 
My Words, the learners’ revisions were successful. 
In her paper, Ellis points out some obvious 
benefits of this option. Firstly, electronic 
feedback can eliminate the domination of the 
teachers in providing correct forms. Moreover, 
a usage-based approach is more reliable as 
it can avoid fallible teachers’ intuition about 
grammatical correctness. The last point which 
is undeniable is the role of this feedback type 
in promoting the role or the independence of 
learners in their writings.
REFORMULATION 
The last option offered in Ellis’s paper (2008) 
is reformulation. To some extent, reformulation 
is similar to the use of concordances which aims 
to provide learners with a resource for their 
error correction. However, reformulation places 
the responsibility on the learners for the final 
decision whether and how to correct their errors. 
In order to identify an error, the teacher will 
construct a native-speaker version of the part 
which contains an error. As cited by Ellis (2008, 
p.103), the idea for reformulation is “to preserve 
as many of the writer’s ideas as possible while 
expressing them in their own words so as to 
make the piece sound native-like”. Then the 
writer revises by deciding which of the native-
speaker’s reconstructions to accept. 
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At this point, reformulation is completely 
different from direct error correction. Sachs and 
Polio (2007) reports that the main difference 
between these two types was the matter of 
presentation and task requirements and there 
is no relation with the kinds of errors that were 
corrected. As in an example conducted by 
Sachs and Polio (2007), the learners are shown 
their corrected stories, study the stories in 20 
minutes and take notes if they want. The next 
day, they were given a clean sheet of paper and 
asked to revise their stories without looking 
at the corrected texts or notes. The correction 
group produces more accurate revisions than 
the reformulation group. As pointed out, 
reformulation is a technique is not only for 
assisting learners with their surface level 
linguistic errors but also for drawing attention to 
higher order stylistic and organizational errors. 
Accordingly, reformulation is by far a technique 
for teaching writing composition in sense of 
linguistic error revision but it is also far more 
than the path to lead the writers to the native-like 
style and their self-control in writing process.
APPLICATION OF DIFFERENT 
ERROR FEEDBACK STRATEGIES IN 
EFL WRITING CLASSES
Over the past years there has been a dramatic 
increase in the studies which investigate whether 
the certain kinds of feedback works more than 
the others in helping EFL learners’ writing 
improvement (Bitchener et al, 2005). 
A good number of studies have distinguished 
between direct and indirect strategies and 
investigated the extent to which they facilitate 
greater accuracy. A recent study by Abedi et al. 
(2010) involves the effect of direct and indirect 
feedback on Iranian Pre-intermediate EFL 
learners’ writing achievement. In the study, 
30 pre-intermediate learners were randomly 
divided into two groups: group one (DFG) 
receiving direct feedback on their writing 
through error correction and group two (IFG) 
receiving indirect feedback. In DFG, the teacher 
underlined the learners’ writing errors and gave 
learners the correct form so that they can aware 
of their errors and the corrected ones for their 
writing improvement. In IFG, the metalinguistic 
strategy was also applied at the same time with the 
error codes without metalinguistic explanation. 
The errors were detected by underlining or using 
error codes; for example, “S.P” means spelling 
error or “W.O” means word order error and 
then delivered to learners so that learners had to 
correct the errors by themselves and handed in 
the corrected writings in the following lessons. 
In fact, using the indirect feedback was 
shown to exert a positive effect on writing ability 
development compared to the direct ones. As a 
result, the learners performed better on writing 
test through exposure to the indirect feedback, 
not the direct counterpart. As stated in their 
research, Abedi and his colleagues’ statistics also 
supports Truscott’s belief that provision of direct 
feedback on EFL writing is ineffective since 
the learners of DFG have shown no significant 
improvement compared to their peers in IDG. 
Besides the greater improvement of IFG in 
producing new writing pieces, one more reason 
for better progress in indirect feedback could be 
considered as the learners’ effort in locating and 
providing codes which can lead to consciousness 
raising task or more encouragement and 
independency. Therefore, in their research, 
Abedi and his colleagues confirmed the idea of 
indirect error feedback over the direct ones. 
Sharing the same view, Bitchener’s finding 
also adds to the growing body of research that 
indirect feedback is more effective than direct 
feedback in helping learners improve accuracy 
of their writing. Ferris (2002) states that indirect 
error feedback is more beneficial than direct 
one because it pushes learners to engage in 
hypothesis testing which helps the learners to 
induce deeper internal processing and internalize 
the correct forms. 
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However, empirical evidence to date 
suggests that there is no advantage for indirect 
error feedback over direct error feedback. In 
fact, Chandler finds that direct correction was 
more prominent than any other types of indirect 
correction in producing more accurate writing. 
Chandler hypothesizes that a teacher’s direct 
correction helps EFL learners internalize the 
correct form more productively because indirect 
feedback, though it demands greater cognitive 
processing, delays confirmation of learners’ 
hypotheses. She also reports that her EFL 
learners favoured direct correction. 
As stated by Ferris (2002), direct feedback 
may be appropriate for beginner learners and 
when the errors are “untreatable” which learners 
are not able to self-correct like vocabulary or 
pragmatics errors. However, Ferris (2002) also 
points out the danger of direct error feedback 
is that the teacher may misinterpret learners’ 
meaning and put words into their mouth. 
Furthermore, the hypotheses could not yet be 
confirmed since results from studies exploring 
the efficacy of direct and indirect feedback are 
inclusive. It is worth noticing the arguments 
that direct and indirect feedbacks were equally 
efficient. At this point, Ferris (2008) expose 
that indirect correction was proved to be most 
effective in enhancing learners’ accuracy in 
subsequent writing whereas learners receiving 
direct feedback made the most accurate 
revisions. The last point given by Chandler 
(2003) as the opponent of Bitchener (2008) that 
direct feedback contributes most in accuracy 
achievement, not only in revisions but also 
in subsequent writing. In brief, these findings 
suggest that contrary to pedagogical suggestions 
in the EFL writing literature, indirect written 
error feedback may not be superior to direct 
error feedback. 
In the study of Delgado (2002), indirect 
strategy was applied between coded and uncoded 
groups. The research shows that learners 
benefited from coded feedback over uncoded 
feedback which encourages EFL the teachers 
to continue providing learners with coded 
feedback. According to Deng (2010, p. 601), the 
teachers reported making the most frequent use 
of indirect coded feedback followed by direct 
feedback. Indirect coded feedback is preferred 
due to its efficiency in saving marking time. 
Direct feedback is preferred as some the teachers 
think it is not sufficient to just give learners the 
codes. One teacher noted “Codes alone are not 
enough. I correct the errors so they can work on 
these and avoid the same errors next time”. 
Besides the ebullient debate on direct versus 
indirect feedback, Ferris and Roberts (2001) also 
support the benefit of error feedback on learners’ 
writing as long as error feedback is selective or 
focused. From the view of learners in the paper 
of Deng (2010, p.602), they seem to prefer 
comprehensive or unfocused feedback because 
it helps to eradicate all errors. Only 7% of the 
learners prefer selective or focused feedback 
with the argument that unfocused feedback is 
de-motivating “I don’t like my teacher mark 
so many on my paper it looks so much and I 
don’t know how to start”. 
Accordingly, Delgado (2007) concludes 
that there appears to be mismatch between the 
strategies expected by the teachers and learners. 
By using the narrative writing test and error 
correction test, it is stated that there are no 
statistically significant differences between 
focused and unfocused strategies. Both types 
of feedback are equally effective. However, 
there is some evidence to suggest that focused 
feedback may be more effective in the long run. 
It is noted that according to Ellis (2008), it might 
be better to characterize the differences between 
the two types of feedback as “focused” versus 
“less focused” rather than “focused” versus 
“unfocused”. 
As in a research of Ellis (2008), the results 
suggest that it is essential that error feedback 
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should help learners with metalinguistic 
understanding or metalinguistic strategy should 
be applied which allows for and surely benefits 
from the conscious monitoring in writing. When 
taking direct and metalinguistic feedback into 
account, it is suggested that whether the teachers 
should combine direct and metalinguistic into 
direct metalinguistic feedback. Sheen (2007) 
takes the view that direct metalinguistic group 
in the study shows a consistent increase over 
time whereas the direct – only group shows a 
slight decrease in their writing process. At this 
point, Sheen (2007) cites the view of Schmidt 
on second language acquisition. Schmidt 
distinguishes awareness at the level of noticing 
and at the level of understanding which is a 
higher level of awareness. Noticing involves 
simply attending to exemplars of specific forms 
which direct feedback provides. Understanding 
entails knowing a rule or principle that governs 
an aspect of language which metalinguistic 
feedback contributes to. 
 In terms of reformulation, a study conducted 
by Sachs and Polio (2007) gives an insight into 
reformulation on linguistic writing accuracy. It 
is noted that different types of feedback which 
were written in a familiar way on the learners’ 
papers in purple ink, indicating the locations 
more clearly than the case in the reformulation 
conditions and the learners do not have to find 
the errors as well. Yet reformulation lets learners 
search for differences by themselves and then 
they might be better able to devote cognitive 
resources to understanding and remembering the 
corrections longer.
To sum up, the debate about the different 
effect of feedback strategies is still inconclusive. 
Ferris (2008) states that teacher may decide to 
combine different types of feedback strategies, 
depending on whether he/she expects the 
learners to focus on some certain patterns of 
error. As a result, some pedagogical implications 
which hope to contribute to the quality in writing 
instruction will be given in the following part.
PEDAGOGICAL IMPLICATION
In the study, Deng (2010) offers some 
implications on how to apply error feedback 
strategies effectively in writing instruction. 
Firstly, the researcher confirms the value 
and benefit of error feedback on the learners’ 
written output. In order to take advantage 
of error feedback strategies, teacher should 
apply focused feedback in helping learners to 
discover the rules of language by responding 
to errors selectively. Secondly, so as to avoid 
mismatches between the teachers and learners 
in feedback strategies’ preferences, it is 
recommended that the teachers should establish 
better communication with learners with 
regards to the feedback strategies used such as 
listening to learners’ views on feedback strategy 
application or discussion on the effectiveness 
of the teachers’ actual feedback methods.
Furthermore, according to Deng (2010), 
when error codes used, the teachers should pay 
attention to systematic application of error codes 
as learners can be easily confused about the 
meanings denoted by different codes. 
Moreover, Ferris (2008) suggests that learners 
have demonstrated an overwhelming desire 
for feedback and each type of error feedback 
certainly has its own benefit. In the study of 
Ferris, it was observed that direct feedback led 
to greater accuracy in text revision while indirect 
feedback resulted in the production of fewer 
initial errors. Thus, it is suggested that learners 
may be served best when the method of feedback 
is dictated by the error type and context. 
For example, when examining the actual 
error feedback strategies provided by the 
teachers, Ferris saw that direct and indirect 
feedback are used most of the time. The treatable 
errors received indirect feedback in about 59% 
of the time while untreatable errors received 
direct feedback in 65% respectively. To sum up, 
Ferris hypothesizes that perhaps teacher should 

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