How Might Cognitive Factors Affect Iranian EFL Learners’ Response to Feedback Provided on Writing? An Individual Differences Perspective
Keywords:Feedback, individual differences, language learning aptitude, working memory
The researchers exploring the effectiveness of feedback have normally contrasted groups of learners receiving different types of feedback treatments. However, since there are always individual responses to any pedagogical treatment within a group of students and the effects of feedback can vary significantly even in participants receiving the same kind of feedback in the same experiment, the present study used a qualitative case study approach and techniques such as narrative construction and qualitative comparative analysis to see how the individuals with different cognitive characteristics (namely, language learning aptitude and working memory) respond to various types of feedback (namely, direct feedback, indirect feedback with error codes and metalinguistic feedback with explanations) provided on linguistic aspects of their writings and how these characteristics might impact their learning from the feedback. The comparison of the students’ responses to the feedback provided indicated that different individuals respond to and benefit from the learning potentials of different types of corrective feedback in different and their own unique ways. In fact, the learners having higher levels of aptitude and working memory were better able to resolve their problems and improve their writing as a result of the feedback received. On the whole, the findings of the present study confirm the important role of considering learners’ individual characteristics in any pedagogical intervention.
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