To feed back or to feed forward? Students' experiences of and responses to feedback in a Finnish EFL classroom

Pirjo Pollari

Feedback, Empowerment, Students’ responses to feedback, EFL teaching


Good feedback is a powerful element in learning. Ultimately, however, the impact feedback has on learning depends on how the learner responds to that feedback. So far, foreign or second language studies on feedback have mainly concentrated on different methods of error correction, not on students’ responses to feedback in general. This study aims to find out what students thought of the feedback they had received in their EFL studies. Furthermore, the study seeks to discover students’ different responses to that feedback. The data was gathered using a web-based questionnaire filled out by 140 students. The students, aged 17–19, were all from a single Finnish upper secondary school. The data was analysed mainly quantitatively. The results show that although students were primarily content with their feedback, they wanted more guiding feedback, i.e. more feed forward. They also wanted more personalised feedback as well as feedback that takes place during the learning process, and not only after it. In addition, the varimax-rotated principal component analysis brought out four different responses to feedback. The results indicate that feedback should be more differentiated to support and empower students in their EFL learning better.

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Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies