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Master of Arts (M.A.)

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explicit feedback, recasts, task-based


Task-based language teaching has received increasing attention in second language acquisition research over the past decade (Révész, 2007). However, the target form comprises conveyance of meaning in task-based classroom to some degree. In the area of Chinese acquisition as a second language the role of recasts and explicit feedback has not been the subject of much investigation, as two types of technique to compensate learners’ attention on form. Few empirical studies have explored their short-term and long-term effects on Chinese language acquisition in task-based classroom. To test the conclusions of some research about corrective feedback in the area of SLA, the present study examined the effects of these two techniques respectively.

The study employed an immediate-test and posttest design. The participants were 53 adult, beginning level Chinese language learners who study Chinese as a second language, naturally assigned to one of the two comparison groups and a control group. The comparison groups differed as to whether they received recasts or explicit feedback while completing communicative tasks. The control group also practiced the tasks; however, they received neither recasts nor explicit feedback from their instructors in the process and they participated in the testing sessions.

Results analysis of collected data yielded three main findings. First, learners receiving explicit feedback immediately outperformed those who received recasts for certain structures. Second, learners receiving explicit feedback sometimes yielded some long-term advantages over those who did not receive any feedback, followed by the recast group even after a period of time. Third, the performance of the participants varied according to the complexity of the target forms.

The results imply that explicit feedback and recasts can facilitate the production of certain target language forms in beginning Chinese communicative class. The effects of explicit feedback and recasts depend on the chosen forms. It is congruent with Long’s (1998) and Ellis’s (2007) speculation that the roles of various feedbacks differ according to different linguistic features. It also provides further evidence for Leeman’s (2000) conclusion that recasts may be differentially effective when the learnabililty of the target linguistic feature vary. Finally, the findings lend some support to the insight derived from Long that focus-on-form should be integrated into task-based language teaching (Long, 1996, 2000; Long & Robinson, 1998).


First Advisor

Zhijun Wang