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Volume 16 Number 2, Summer 2019, Pages 448-767   


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The Relative Efficacy of Recasts and Prompts on Past Tense Use of ESL Learners

    Choo Siow Chin, Siti Zaidah Zainuddin & Stefanie Pillai


The objective of the study is twofold: to investigate the effects of corrective feedback (CF) on the accuracy of past tense use, and to compare the relative effectiveness of recasts and prompts on the accuracy of past tense use. The participants of the study consisted of 105 secondary school ESL learners in Malaysia. The target structure of CF was the regular and irregular past forms. CF was provided contingent upon the occurrence of past tense errors according to the type of corrective feedback (i.e., recasts, prompts and no corrective feedback) assigned to participants. By employing a pre-post- and delayed- post-test design, learning outcomes were measured by means of an oral production test (OPT), a written production test (WPT) and an untimed grammaticality judgment test (GJT). The results revealed that participants, regardless of type of corrective feedback, showed both short-term and long-term gains in accuracy of past tense use. However, on the delayed effects of CF, the findings suggest that the effects of prompts may be more durable compared to recasts or control. It was found that the effectiveness of corrective feedback was also affected by other mediating factors, including learners' proficiency level, prior knowledge and the morphological structure of the target linguistic feature.

Keywords: oral corrective feedback, recasts, prompts, past tense