Teachers’ Written Corrective Feedback Approaches in the Korean Secondary EFL Context
: Teachers’ Beliefs, Perceptions and Practices

  • Young Kim

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


The central focus of this study is to explore Korean EFL secondary school teachers’ stated beliefs concerning teachers’ written corrective feedback in writing classes. The study aims to investigate the nature and extent of the teachers’ stated beliefs, perceptions and current practices concerning their written corrective feedback, as well as Korean EFL secondary students’ perceptions concerning their teachers’ written corrective feedback. This is based on the assumption that Korean EFL secondary school students can benefit from their teachers’ corrective feedback on their written English. The study places written English education in South Korea in its sociocultural, socio-political and socio-economic context using Vygotsky’s (1978) sociocultural theory (SCT).

Four main research questions are defined to examine the complexities embedded in Korean EFL secondary school teachers’ stated beliefs concerning written corrective feedback and their adoption of such approaches in their writing classrooms. The first question explores the stated beliefs of Korean EFL secondary school teachers with regard to written corrective feedback, the second examines Korean EFL secondary school teachers’ perceptions concerning their written corrective feedback, the third examines Korean EFL secondary students’ perceptions concerning their teachers’ written corrective feedback, and the fourth explores, on the basis of two teacher participants, the nature of the teachers’ corrective feedback practices implemented in their writing classes.

The study uses a mixed methods approach (Creswell, 2003; Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004; Morse, 2003; Tashakkori & Creswell, 2007; Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998, 2003) employing semi-structured student questionnaires, semi-structured teacher interviews and document analysis. The data sets were compared to identify the phenomena embedded in the formulation of both teachers’ and students’ perceptions and their possible influence on actual feedback practice in the classroom. The participants were 70 Korean secondary school students in an EFL language school in South Korea and 8 Korean and English bilingual teachers.

The findings indicated that Korean EFL secondary school teachers hold varying beliefs regarding feedback approaches and that their feedback approaches are constructed based on the complexities of such beliefs as well as specific contextual factors. Furthermore, a high percentage of students found the teachers’ written feedback beneficial in improving their writing. Their teachers also reported that appropriate corrective feedback was essential for secondary school students’ EFL writing development. In terms of the students’ and teachers’ perceptions of corrective feedback approaches, most students indicated that teachers focused on grammar and sentence structure as areas for improvement, while the findings from the teacher interviews showed mixed results, indicating that they use their own systems and apply different criteria for providing feedback: i) for beginners, they focus on simple grammatical or vocabulary errors; ii) for advanced students, they focus on the logical flow of their ideas, as well as the sentence structure. Also, the majority of the students responded that they preferred indirect feedback (e.g. coding or underlining), followed by comprehensive direct feedback, i.e. teachers’ provision of the correct form in their written work (Ellis, 2009). However, in the interviews, only one teacher out of eight expressed a preference for using indirect feedback, while the rest employed a mixture of the two types of feedback approach. Moreover, the findings obtained from analysis of samples of two teachers’ (T2 and T8) written feedback on nearly 120 student essay papers showed that their approaches were widely individualized and context-dependent and there were tentative indications of discrepancies between teachers’ beliefs and their actual feedback practices (Borg, 1998, 1999, 2011; Breen et al., 2001; Pajares, 1992).

Date of Award25 Jun 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorSally M Thomas (Supervisor)

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