Feedback on writing in the English classroom: in-service teachers’ beliefs and practices
Western Norway University of Applied Sciences,
September 2016 - December 2017
The present pilot project is an intervention study focusing on the impact of in-service courses on English language teachers' beliefs and practices regarding feedback on writing.
Research into the impact that in-service training has in Norway is important given the substantial investment the government is making to improve the quality of English teachers. Research of this kind should also be of interest to the broader professional community given that studies on the beliefs and practices of language teachers engaged in in-service teacher education are limited (Borg 2015).
The aim of this pilot project is to assess the impact that in-service training has on teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding feedback on writing in the English classroom. This is a topic of substantial current international interest (see e.g. Lee et al. 2016; Hyland 2016). The focus of the study is on feedback provided to the pupils while they are engaged in the learning process (feedback for learning). Teacher feedback can be a powerful and effective tool for encouraging and consolidating learning (see e.g. Hyland & Hyland 2006, Wiliam 2011). Nevertheless, research studies do not always report positive impact of feedback on pupils’ performance, revealing that the effectiveness of feedback depends on a number of factors, including the type and quality of the feedback provided and the beliefs, knowledge and skills of the teachers providing the feedback. These are the issues that the current project focuses on (see research questions below). The participants in the study are in-service primary- and lower-secondary school teachers taking a teacher training course in English for teachers in years 5-10. The data collected will include:
- a questionnaire about English teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding the teaching of writing and provision of feedback on writing.
- examples of pupils’ written work and the feedback teachers provide on this.
- teachers’ reflections on their written feedback.
A comparison of the baseline data and those collected at the end of the course will allow us to assess the impact of the course on teachers’ beliefs and practices and we hope will enable us to address the following research questions:
1. What are the beliefs and reported practices of in-service teachers regarding the provision of feedback on writing in the EFL (English as a foreign language) classroom?
2. What is the relationship between the beliefs and reported practices of in-service teachers and their actual practices when it comes to the provision of feedback on writing in the EFL classroom?
3. Does an intervention in the form of a course with a strong focus on feedback for learning lead to changes in in-service teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding feedback on writing?