Online Peer Feedback in Beginners’ Writing Tasks

Lessons Learned

  • Constanza Tolosa
  • Martin East
  • Helen Villers

Abstract

This study contributes to the body of research that aims to understand
the relationship between online communication and foreign language
(FL) learning, in particular when teachers seek to provide authentic
opportunities for interaction for their learners. The study was
motivated by efforts made in the New Zealand context to overcome the
geographic limitations of interaction between FL learners and native
speakers. We report on the findings of an exploratory study into an
online reciprocal peer tutoring program established to enhance the FL
learning of a group of beginner eleven-year old students of Spanish,
with particular focus on the benefits of written corrective feedback. The
project aimed to examine the processes by which students tutored each
other in the online environment as they responded to each other’s texts.
The analysis of the students’ messages focused on (1) the aspects of
language corrected by the tutors, (2) the frequency with which tutors
accurately identified and provided input on errors, (3) the types of
feedback provided by the tutors, and (4) what the learners did with the
corrections and feedback. The findings indicate that the students were
willing to contribute to peer correction and used different strategies
and correction techniques to foster attention to linguistic form,
although they were not always capable of providing accurate feedback
or metalinguistic explanations.

Published
2013-04-15