way, it gets the students involved in guided learning, which may cause long-term retention.
To take this idea one step further, Ferris (2002) reported that direct (overt) error correction led to more correct revisions (88%) than indirect error feedback (77%). Over the course of the semester, however, it was noted that students who received indirect feedback reduced their error frequency ratios substantially more than those who received direct feedback. Chandler (2003) also claimed that overt correction has a beneficial effect on learning since it provides them with more information, presents an opportunity to receive on-the-spot feedback and does not confuse them. Last but not least, overt correction disallows them to make inappropriate hypotheses.
Tsang (2004) analyzed 18 non-native English lessons on teacher feedback and learner uptake at secondary levels in Hong Kong across Forms 1 to 5 (equivalent to Grades 7 to 11) and different types of lessons (Reading, Writing, Speaking, General English). 945 minutes of lessons were transcribed and analyzed. Findings revealed that overt correction was the most frequent type of feedback used by the teacher. Lyster (2004) and Rosa and Leow (2004) conducted research on corrective feedback. The researchers used corrective feedback with participants and divided them into three groups: 1) implicit feedback in the form of recasts, 2) explicit feedback, and 3) a control group. In Lyster’s study, the explicit feedback group outperformed the implicit group. Both experimental groups out-performed the control group. Similar results were also revealed in Rosa and Leow’s. The aforementioned studies indicate that explicit feedback is of value to the improvement of learners’ language learning process (Ellis, 2006).
Ellis et al. (2006) investigated learners’ use of the English past tense marker –ed following exposure to either explicit corrective feedback (metalinguistic information) or implicit corrective feedback (recasts). The Results revealed that learners who received corrective feedback containing metalinguistic information significantly outperformed learners in the recast and control groups on tests of both implicit (oral elicited information) and explicit (grammaticality judgments) L2 knowledge. According to Ellis et al. (2006), “explicit feedback seems more likely to promote cognitive comparison that aids learning” (p. 364). Additionally, it is in line with the results of Carroll’s (2001) study concluding that metalinguistic corrective feedback and not recasts also seem to promote generalization of the –ed form to new contexts.
In Mackey and Goo’s (2007) study, eleven L2 learners of Arabic and their two teachers watched videotaped corrective feedback (CF) episodes from their own classroom interactions. Results showed that, on the whole, only 36% of the CF was perceived in the way that teachers had intended (e.g. instances where CF targeted a morphosyntactic error were accurately understood by the learners as morphosyntactic CF). Explicit CF (either containing metalinguistic information or clearly eliciting self-repair) was more accurately perceived than implicit CF (recasts and negotiations for meaning). In her study, Sheen (2007a) examined the efficacy of implicit feedback (recasts) and overt correction together with metalinguistic comments on adult ESL learners’ acquisition of definite and indefinite articles. The results revealed that overt correction group outperformed the implicit group in learning in both immediate and post-tests. She concluded that overt correction is more helpful than implicit correction in a classroom context.
Dabaghi and Basturkmen (2009) found that overt correction is more beneficial than implicit correction since it raises awareness of corrected feature in learners and reduces the number of errors compared to the group who received implicit correction. In view of the vital role of attention in learning (Doughty, 2001; Schmidt, 2001), the fundamental cause for the better performance of the overt correction group over the implicit one may be awareness. There is one important caveat to this argument; that is, overt correction is effective for morphological and not so well for syntactic features. In addition, Dabaghi and Basturkmen (2009) suggested the reasons for the effectiveness of overt correction feedback compared with implicit one: (1) explicit correction created more attention; (2) the fact that learners were explicitly corrected on their errors created a contrast with the form in their interlanguage; (3) the provision of the correct form in implicit correction may not have been effective because it was less clear to learners what was wrong with their erroneous utterances and without such understanding, hypothesis revision was not possible; and (4) learners most likely perceived the explicit corrections as corrective feedback requiring them to correct their errors whereas this was not the case with the implicit feedback. They concluded that implicit corrections may be more meaning-based than explicit corrections. The learners may not notice their teacher providing error treatment. As an alternative, students may identify it as the teacher maintaining the flow of communication. In their view, overt correction helps learners with target grammar features since the information in this error treatment type helps the learners confirm rules in their developing L2 grammars. As implicit correction may not provide enough information, overt correction may be more effective than implicit correction in allowing learners to understand what is wrong with their erroneous utterance.
Regarding the benefits of overt correction, Ortega (2009, p. 75) assumed that “when two or more implementations of negative feedback are compared, the more explicit one leads to larger gains” and continued to say that this finding “is hardly illuminating” because it mirrors the findings of the meta-analysis by Norris and Ortega (2000) concerning the superiority of explicit instructional treatments over more implicit ones (see also Spada & Tomita, 2010). The significant role of direct written corrective feedback on students’ linguistic error was supported by other studies (Bitchener, 2008; Bitchener & Knoch, 2009; Sheen, 2010) that reported on the short-term effectiveness of written corrective feedback.

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Recasts
Recasts are an attempt to imitate the way in which real-life correction happens. Typically, it is the way people in the street or in shops react to learners’ errors, and it is generally how parents correct their children. Recasts are an indirect and gentle way of giving feedback, in which the teacher reformulates all or part of an utterance into a correct or more appropriate version of what a learner is trying to say. Recasts are defined as “utterances that rephrase a child’s utterance by changing one or more sentence components, subject, verb or object, while still referring to its central meaning” (Long, 1996, p. 434). According to Lyster and Ranta (1997), recasting is “the teacher’s reformulation of all or part of a student’s utterance, minus the error” (p. 46).
As said by Nicholas, Lightbown, and Spada (2001), recasts are “utterances that repeat a learner’s incorrect utterance, making only the changes necessary to produce a correct utterance, without changing the meaning” (pp. 732-3). Besides, Ohta (2001) put forward that “recasts are immediately subsequent to the erroneous utterance and that they may contrast with learner’s utterances phonologically, morphologically, syntactically, or semantically, but are based on the learner’s erroneous utterance and maintain semantic contiguity with it” (p. 141). In other words, “a response was coded as a recast if it incorporated the content words of the immediately preceding incorrect NNS utterance and also changed and corrected the utterance in some way (e.g., phonological, syntactic, morphological, or lexical)” (Braidi, 2002, p. 20). Another description, from Philp (2003),
called a native speaker’s recast a provision of “a target-like version” to a non-native speaker. She added, “recasts are congruent with the learner’s own production and juxtapose the incorrect with the correct” (p. 100). Even, Recasts are also viewed as “utterances in which the caretaker produces an expanded grammatically correct version of a prior child utterance” (Mitchell & Myles, 2004, p. 162). Likewise, Sheen (2004) defined recasts as “the reformulation of the whole or part of a learner’s erroneous utterance without changing its meaning” (p. 278). And, Sheen (2006) defined a recast as “the teacher’s reformulation of all or part of a student’s utterance that contains at least one error within the context of a communicative activity in the classroom” (p. 365).
A recast occurs in episodes such as the following examples:
(۱)NNS (nonnative speaker): what what they doing?
NS (native speaker): what are they doing? (←recast)
NNS: yeah
NS: they’re signing a contract. (Mackey & Philp, 1998, p. 344)

(۲)Jose: I think that the worm will go under soil.
Teacher: I think that the worm will go under soil? (←repetition)
Jose: (no response)
Teacher: I thought that the worm would go under the soil. (←recast)
Jose: I thought that the worm would go under the soil.
(Doughty & Varela, 1998, p. 124)

(۳)S: Yesterday two boys, Joe and Bill visit their rich uncle
T: Visited
S: Visited their rich uncle. (Ellis et al., 2006, p. 362)
(۴) T: When you were in school?
L: Yes, I stand in the first row.
T: You stood in the first row?
L: Yes, in the first row, and sit, ah, sat the first row.
(Ellis & Sheen, 2006, p. 576)
In Line 1, a learner’s utterance that contains an error (Line 2) triggers the recast (Line 3), which reformulates the utterance and corrects the error.

(۵)S: Any person who is very great poet, I would be.
T: Oh, okay. All right. A great poet? You would be a great poet? (Sheen, 2004)

(۶)S: There was fox.
T: There was a fox. (Sheen, 2007a, p. 307)

In their study, Loewen and Philp (2006) explained the features of recasts as follows:
“۱) Recasts are generally provided incidentally in the course of focus-on-meaning interaction in response to nontarget-like utterances;
۲) Recasts retain the central meaning of the learner’s utterance while changing the lexical, morphosyntactic, or phonological form;
۳) Recasts provide positive evidence and negative feedback rather than providing overt correction” (p. 537).
A large number of researchers distinguished CF types in terms of explicitness, but this has been proven problematic.

Figure 2.1 From “Focus on Form: Theory, Research and Practice” by M. Long and P. Robinson
(۱۹۹۸).

As Figure 2.1 shows, recasts, for instance, are wildly regarded as implicit (Long, 1996, 2006; Long & Robinson, 1998), yet research indicated

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