Plenaries | Plenàries | Plenarias

1st International Conference on Written Corrective Feedback in L1 and L2 (WCF23)

Dana Ferris University of California, Davis, USA 

Roy Lyster

McGill University, Canada

Rosa Manchón Universidad de Murcia, Spain

Hossein Nassaji University of Victoria, Canada 

Research and Practice in written corrective feedback: Focus on L1 Acquisition, Dana Ferris, University of California, Davis, USA


Most written corrective feedback (WCF) research, especially from the second language acquisition/applied linguistics side, has focused on L2 learners. Nonetheless, as discussed in my co-authored book with John Bitchener (Bitchener & Ferris, 2012), there is a long history (nearly 100 years now) of research on how the treatment of language error does (or does not) help L1 student writers, especially in contexts below the university/postsecondary level. Most of the published work or reviews of this research base conclude that WCF offers little to no benefit to L1 students and in fact may do more harm than good (e.g., Santa, 2006). However, as I and others have argued, some of these earlier studies have research design flaws or limitations that make their conclusions at least worth questioning. In particular, research studies that conclude that WCF is not valuable to L1 student writers tend to apply outdated pedagogy (e.g., traditional grammar instruction with rigid exercises, rather than WCF provided in the context of authentic student writing with opportunities for students to revise after receiving feedback) and to measure student uptake using only objective grammar tests rather than analyzing students’ own writing. It is not surprising that bad pedagogy would yield bad results, but it doesn’t have to be this way. While the acquisition processes and literacy experiences of young L1 writers are not identical to those of older L2 writers, there are still many lessons from the existing L1/L2 research base that can apply to teaching L1 students and/or mixed classes of L1/L2 writers. In this plenary, I will provide a historical frame for this research, discuss the current state of WCF research focused on L1 learners, and suggest some applications for teachers of L1 writers in secondary and postsecondary level instruction.


Dana Ferris (Ph.D. Applied Linguistics, University of Southern California, USA) is Professor in the University Writing Program at the University of California, Davis. She has been a teacher of L1 and L2 university-level writers for nearly 40 years and began researching written feedback in the 1990s. She has published numerous articles on her own research and is the author of Treatment of Error in L2 Student Writing (2nd Ed., Michigan, 2011) and co-author with John Bitchener of Written Corrective Feedback in Second Language Acquisition and Writing (Routledge, 2012). She was the founding editor-in-chief in 2015 of the Journal of Response to Writing and co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Second Language Writing from 2017-2020

Oral corrective feedback as a catalyst for second language development, Roy Lyster, McGill University, Canada

The multifaceted roles of oral corrective feedback (OCF) in second language (L2) instruction continue to attract the attention of both researchers and practitioners interested in how it can most effectively be integrated into classroom interaction in ways that benefit L2 development. Theoretical perspectives that run the gamut from cognitively to socially oriented suggest that OCF is not only beneficial but may also be necessary for moving learners forward in their L2 development. After reviewing the purpose of OCF and its relationship to written corrective feedback, this talk will identify types of OCF that either provide correct forms (recasts) or withhold correct forms (prompts), as well as different types of learner responses to OCF. The potential for OCF and subsequent learner responses to affect L2 development is then addressed along with the ways in which OCF can serve a pedagogical strategy enabling teachers to scaffold classroom interaction so that learners can take increasingly more responsibility for their own learning. Challenges that teachers must contend with in order to provide OCF effectively are then presented before concluding with future directions for professional learning opportunities designed to make L2 research on OCF relevant for L1 and L2 teachers.

Roy Lyster is Professor Emeritus of Second Language Education at McGill University in Montreal (Canada). He was co-recipient with colleague Leila Ranta of the 1998 Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education and was presented the Robert Roy Award by the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers in 2017. He was co-president then president of the Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics from 2004 to 2008. He is author of a module called Content-Based Language Teaching published by Routledge in 2018, and three books: Learning and Teaching Languages Through Content published by Benjamins in 2007, Vers une approche intégrée en immersion published by CEC Publishing in 2016, and Scaffolding language development in immersion and dual language classrooms (with D. J. Tedick) published by Routledge in 2020. 

Feedback types and L2 learning: Research evidence and implications for instructed L2 learning, Rosa M. Manchón, University of Murcia, Spain


Providing feedback on second language (L2) students’ writing is a central task for L2 teachers, which in part explains why the study of feedback has been and still is a central concern in research on classroom L2 learning. Yet, researchers and teachers alike are still left wondering (i) why some learners seek and benefit from WCF and some do not; and, importantly, (ii) whether potential learning benefits are associated with the feedback itself and the manner in which it is provided, and/or with the way in which learners themselves engage with the (type of) feedback provided on their writing.

In this plenary I will first review the theoretical arguments in support of the learning potential of providing and engaging with diverse types of written corrective feedback in classroom L2 learning. I will then synthesize pedagogically-relevant research evidence on the short-term and long-term learning benefits of different types of feedback that vary in terms of (i) their degree of explicitness (direct/indirect) and comprehensiveness (focused/unfocused); and (ii) the medium (paper-based or screen-based feedback) and timing (synchronous vs. asynchronous) of feedback provision. The synthesis will address both what we know about the effects of feedback types on the characteristics of students’ written texts, and the available evidence on whether different feedback types lead to deeper/lower processing on the part of the students. This analysis will lead to a discussion of pedagogical implications of current academic work. The talk will finish with suggestion for future pedagogically-relevant research directions. 

Rosa Manchón is Professor of Applied Linguistics in the Department of English at the University of Murcia, Spain. Her research explores L2 writing from the perspective of the connection between L2 writing and L2 learning. Her work has appeared in the form of journal articles in flagship journals, book chapters, and edited journal special issues and books. The latter include Writing in foreign language contexts. Learning, teaching, and research (Multilingual Matters, 2009), Learning to write and writing to learn in an additional language (John Benjamins, 2011), L2 writing development. Multiples perspectives (De Gruyter, 2012), Task-based language learning. Insights from and for L2 writing (John Benjamins, 2014. With Heidi Byrnes), Handbook of second and foreign language writing (De Gruyter, 2016.With Paul Matsuda), Writing and language learning. Advancing research agendas (2020, John Benjamins), Handbook of second language acquisition and writing (2022, Routledge. With Charlene Polio), Research methods in the study of L2 writing processes (under contract/2023, John Benjamins. With Julio Roca), “L2 writing and feedback processing and use in pen and paper and digital environments. Advancing research and practice” (guest-edited issue in Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 2023. With Yvette Coyle), and “Individual differences and L2 writing: Expanding SLA research” (guest-edited issue in Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 2023. With Cristina Sanz). She has also served the profession in various capacities, including work for professional associations and different editorial positions: She is past Editor of the Journal of Second Language Writing (2008-2014) and current Chief Editor of the book series “Research Methods in Applied Linguistics”, published by John Benjamins.

Written corrective feedback research: Findings, methodological issues, and how to move forward, Hossein Nassaji, University of Victoria, Canada


Written corrective feedback (WCF) is an essential component of second and foreign language teaching, widely used by teachers in various language classrooms. However, how it should be provided and the extent to which it assists language learning have been issues of considerable debate in the literature. In the past few decades, a growing body of research has explored the potential benefits of WCF. While most of the past studies have been comparative, focusing on examining differences and similarities in the effects of different feedback types, current research has moved beyond such comparisons to a broader consideration of the role of feedback and the processes that facilitate its impact. In this presentation, I will first examine some of the major findings in this area of research and how they can inform both L1 and L2 writing instruction. I will then focus on methodological issues and what continues to challenge us when conducting corrective feedback research. I will conclude with insights about how to move forward and what to expect from future research.


Hossein Nassaji is Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Victoria, Canada. He has published extensively in the areas of L2 instruction and corrective feedback. His recent books include The Cambridge Handbook of Corrective Feedback in L2 Learning and Teaching (2021, CUP, with E. Kartchava), Corrective Feedback in L2 Teaching and Learning (2017, Routledge, with E. Kartchava), and Interactional Feedback Dimension in Instructed L2 Learning (2015, Bloomsbury). He has delivered over 60 keynote and invited speeches at national and international conferences, including his most recent plenary speech at the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL), USA. He is the co-editor of Language Teaching Research and Editor of the Grammar Teaching Volume of The TESOL Encyclopaedia of English Language Teaching published by Wiley. He has received several awards, including the Twenty-First Mildenberger Prize of the Modern Language Association of America and the Research Excellence Award of the Faculty of Humanities, University of Victoria. He has also been recently elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the highest academic honor for the country’s distinguished scholars and leaders.