Teacher Feedback and the Acquisition of Simple Past Tense: A Case of EFL Learners

Karim Shabani, Elham Ghasem Dizani


English language teaching has been seeking new ways to teach grammar interactively. The present research looked into the crucial role of interactional feedback and focus on form in the acquisition of simple past tense in speaking tasks within a mixed-method approach. The study was conducted by the participation of 59 upper-intermediate learners between 17 to 30 years of age in 10 treatment sessions in an Iranian EFL (English as a foreign language) context. The learners were assigned into four groups of implicit, explicit, mixed, and control. The number of the structures focused in each interactional group varied, i.e. the implicit group received feedback as simple past, while the explicit was given corrective feedback (CF) on both simple past and past continuous. However, the mixed group dealt with simple past, past continuous, and also pronouns. Findings highlighted the effectiveness of CF since all the interactional groups could outperform the control group, which received no feedback type. Regarding the number of the structures focused, it was found that although implicit group only focused on a single structure, it could not outperform other groups. In other words, both explicit and mixed group performed significantly better than the implicit group in spite of being focused on more than one grammatical point. In sum, it could be inferred from the current study that the kind of feedback given to the learners, i.e. implicit or explicit, can lead to more opportunities of learning rather than being focused on a single structure. Therefore, teachers should provide learners with the correct form wherever possible without considering the number of points corrected in each feedback but by paying attention to the degree of explicitness of the CF given to the learners.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jse.v5i3.7771


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