A Comparison of Iran’s EFL and New Zealand’s ESL Teachers’ Stated Beliefs About Oral Corrective Feedback and Their Actual Classroom Practices
Despite a growing attention to the field of teachers’ oral corrective feedback (OCF) beliefs and practices, studies have been limited in scope to certain aspects of OCF and their research contexts. Drawing upon Gass’s (1997, 2018) framework of theoretical contributions and Zheng’s (2015) model of Complex System Theory, this study explored teachers’ OCF beliefs, error correction practices, and the relationship between the two across Iran’s EFL and NZ’s ESL contexts. It also investigated the possible factors that can affect the beliefs and practices, and the link between the two.
Methodologically, the study used an exploratory multiple-case study approach as it was the most effective approach to obtain data on aspects of teachers’ beliefs and practices both within a single and across two instructional contexts. Five Iranian EFL and five NZ ESL teachers of intermediate/upper intermediate classes were asked to complete a background questionnaire, take part in a belief elicitation interview, be observed twice during their classroom teaching, and take part in a stimulated recall interview. Qualitative data analysis was used to analyse the collected data.
The findings showed that while teachers’ OCF beliefs can vary both within and across contexts, overall, Iranian teachers held stronger beliefs about the importance of oral error correction than the NZ teachers. With regards to OCF practices, similarly, the findings indicated that error correction practices can differ both within and across contexts. In comparing the two contexts, noticeable variations were observed with regards to aspects of Iranian and NZ teachers’ OCF practice. As for the relationship between teachers’ beliefs and practices, the results revealed many instances of non-alignment between the two across both contexts. In addition, potential factors that could affect teachers’ OCF beliefs, error correction practices, and the alignment between the two were also identified. Finally, this study suggests that the simultaneous interaction of these complex factors be considered when exploring teachers’ beliefs and practices.
The findings are significant in that they enhance our understanding of the fields of teacher belief and OCF by providing a Complex System Theory explanation for different dimensions of teachers’ beliefs systems, and the interconnectedness of teachers’ beliefs, practices, and contexts. Replicative studies are suggested in other contexts to determine the generalizability of the findings.