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Different approaches to the nature and function of feedback

Feedback is information that is given to the learner about his/her performance of a

learning task, usually with the objective of improving this performance; ( some
examples in the language teaching: the words yes, right!, said to a learner who has
answered a question, a raised eyebrow in response to a mistake in grammar, comments
written in the margin of an essay);
Feedback has 2 main components:
1. Assessment ( evaluarea): in assessment, the learner is simply informed how well or
badly he/she has performed ( a percentage grade on an exam would be an ex);
2. Correction: in correction, some specific information is provided on aspects of the
learner's performance: through explanation,or provision of better or other alternatives,
or through elicitation of these from learner; correction can and should include
information on what the learner did right, as well as wrong and why;
The teacher has to accept that mistakes are a natural and useful part of language
learning; when the teacher gives feedback on them the purpose is to help and promote
Approaches to the giving of feedback
A. The provision of assessment:
1. Audio-lingualism: negative assessment is to be avoided since it functions like a
punishment and may inhibit and discourage learning;positive assessment promotes
2. Humanistic methdologies: a crucial function of giving assessment is to preserve and
promote positive self-image of the learner as a person and language learner;
assessment should be positive and non-judgemental;
3. Skill theory: for successful acquisition of a skill, the learner needs feedback on how
well he/she is doing;
B. The correction of mistakes:
1. AUDio-lingualism: there should be little need for correction: people learn by
getting things right in the first place and having their performance reinforced;
2. Cognitive code-learning: mistakes are not regrettable, but an integral and
important part of language learning; by correcting them we discover a wat to
bring the learner closer to the target language;
3. Communicative approach: not all mistakes need to be corrected: the main aim of
the language learning is to receive and give meaningful messages, and
correction should be focused on mistakes that interfere with this aim;
4. Monitor theory: correction does not contribute to real acquisition of the
language, but only learner's conscious monitoring of speech and writing;so
the main activity of the teacher should be to provide comprehensible input
( stimul, informatie) from which the learner can acquire language, not to correct;