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A Cross-language Analysis of Language Tutors’ Corrective Feedback and Learners’ Uptake and Repair when Learning via Videoconferencing Tool, Utah State University

19 Sep 2015

Lead Investigators

Dr. Ko-Yin Sung, Utah State University Frederick Poole, Utah State University


Advances in technology have produced an abundance of digital tools for language teachers and learners. Videoconferencing tools, which allow learners to engage in authentic communication in a digital environment, show much promise for developing language skills. However, research surrounding such tools is still in its infancy.

This study will examine the effectiveness of online teaching strategies by analyzing corrective feedback (CF) used by native-speaking language tutors and second language learner responses to CF. Intermediate language learners from three different language courses (French, Arabic, and Chinese) will engage in 10 authentic conversations with native-speakers over a five week period. Following the conversation sessions learners will be given a quiz to measure their retention of corrected errors. In addition, a survey will be administered to all participants regarding their experience.

The results of this study will help inform videoconferencing software developers of the specific needs of language learners of different languages as well as online educators of best practices for foreign language teaching in a digital face-to-face environment.


The researchers in this study will use Tedick and Gotari’s (1998) CF definitions to code CF strategies employed by native-language tutors. Errors corrected by language tutors for each learner will be compiled and used for a follow-up quiz to determine the long-term effectiveness of each of the CF strategies. In addition, CF strategies will be compared across languages to determine if some CF strategies are more efficient for certain languages in terms of learner uptake and repair. Finally, student perceptions of CF types and affordances of the videoconferencing tool for participants’ language learning experience will be gauged with a survey and select follow-up interviews.

In the table below, the six types of corrective feedback that will be used to code the tutor-student interactions are listed. The definitions of the corrective feedback types were taken from Tedick and Gotari’s (1998, p. 2) study.

Research Questions

Which types of corrective feedback are used most by NS French, Arabic, and Chinese tutors? How does content of CF differ across the three languages? How do learner perceptions of CF types and learning affordances of the videoconferencing tool used in this survey during a videoconferencing session differ across language?


Hypothesis 1: We anticipate finding that in the initial sessions, language tutors from each language will employ similar strategies in correcting errors, however as issues specific to each language begin to arise we expect language tutors to make adjustments that will eventually reflect CF strategies that are more compatible with the language they are teaching.

Hypothesis 2: We expect to find that NS French and Arabic tutors will focus more on grammatical errors, whereas NS Chinese tutors will focus on phonetic errors.

Hypothesis 3: We anticipate French learners reporting more positive perceptions surrounding CF and the videoconferencing tool, while Arabic and Chinese learners will report less positive perceptions due to difficulty that each language scripts presents. Also videoconferencing tools often overlook the needs of languages utilize scripts other than the Latin-alphabet.


Research results can be downloaded here.


Tedick, D. and Gortari, B. (1998). Research on Error Correction and Implications for Classroom Teaching. The Bridge, ACIE Newsletter. Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, University of Minnesota, v1. [Online]