Oral corrective feedback in Vietnamese EFL classrooms: effects of awareness-raising activities on teachers’ beliefs and practices
Oral corrective feedback (CF) is a topic of interest for both second language acquisition researchers and second/foreign language teachers. CF has received extensive research attention for the past few decades. This research agenda has revealed that CF is beneficial for, and an integral part of, language teaching and learning, and the effectiveness of CF is mediated by the manner of delivery, the targets, and the situations in which it is provided. Research has also shown that teachers’ CF varies across classrooms and contexts, and teachers in some contexts hold beliefs which may result in counterproductive practices. However, little is known about whether, how, and the extent to which teachers can change their beliefs and practices to enhance the effectiveness of their CF provision. This study was, therefore, designed to investigate the effects of awareness-raising activities, including opportunities to consider students’ beliefs and SLA research findings, on Vietnamese EFL high school teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding CF. To achieve this aim, three studies were designed. Study 1 investigated Vietnamese secondary EFL students’ beliefs about CF through questionnaires with 250 students and follow-up interviews with 15 of them. The findings of this study were used as the main input for Study 2, which examined the impact of students’ beliefs on teachers’ beliefs regarding CF. A teacher professional development (PD) program, involving 12 Vietnamese EFL teachers and comprising a seminar on students’ CF beliefs and follow-up experiential learning activities, was designed for this study. Data included interviews before the seminar, written reflections during eight weeks of follow-up activities, and interviews by the end of the program. The findings showed that although the teachers did not explicitly acknowledge the influence of their students’ beliefs on their beliefs, they nevertheless tended to change their own beliefs in ways that would cater for their students’ CF preferences. The findings were interpreted in relation to the sociocultural and contextual factors. Study 3, possibly the most significant one, investigated the impact of research findings on teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding CF. To realise this aim, a PD program, comprising a workshop on recent CF research findings combined with follow-up activities, was provided for another group of 12 Vietnamese EFL teachers. Data included interviews and classroom observations before and after the intervention and written responses to reflective activities. The findings showed that the teachers changed their beliefs significantly regarding various aspects of CF, especially CF types and CF timing. The changes in the teachers’ beliefs were found to lead to the changes in their actual CF practices although the relationship of change was complex and nonlinear. This research makes several novel contributions. Firstly, it contributes to the limited body of knowledge on the relationships between teachers’ and students’ beliefs, and between teachers’ beliefs and practices, regarding CF in Vietnamese EFL classrooms, a hitherto underexplored context. Secondly, it is the first attempt that has been made to shed some light on the extent to which teachers modify their beliefs to cater for their students’ preferences for CF. Thirdly, it makes the first attempt to date, to explore whether, how, and the extent to which teachers’ changes in beliefs lead to changes in actual classroom CF provision. The findings have several important implications for pedagogy concerning CF, in-service teacher training, and research methods regarding the impact of teacher PD. Based on these findings, a conceptual framework of teacher knowledge base regarding CF and the role of PD in effecting change has been developed. This framework is hoped to assist PD designers, educators, and researchers in enhancing the effectiveness of PD concerning CF and beyond.