BURNOUT OR FADE AWAY: THE WRITTEN FEEDBACK DILEMMA

E. Shine

American University of Sharjah (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
This research examines the emotional and practical responses of students to the written feedback they received on written work as well as the instructor’s perspectives of the process. Feedback on both content and grammar are considered as well as the impact this feedback had on the student recipients. Research indicates that students ask for corrections on their work, but there is little evidence that this leads to positive changes in writing (Chandler, 2003; Cumming, 2002; Hedgecock & Leftkowitz, 1994; Hyland & Hyland, 2001). The reactions of the students who took part in the research reveal that, although they wanted the feedback, they often made little use of it and even expressed some disappointment with it. Grammar feedback led to misunderstandings. Content feedback was less of a problem, but when not understood, students seldom sought clarification. Also, there are often mismatches between what instructors intend to do and actually do (Lee, 2009). It seems that feedback on writing needs to be handled carefully if it is understood at all for difficult to pinpoint reasons particular to the context, the feedback focus and the perceptions of the participants (Conrad & Goldstein, 1999; Leki, 1990). In order to provide the type of intensive detailed feedback that some students and instructors believe is necessary, instructors face long hours applying pen to paper for little immediate sign of improvement. The misunderstandings and disappointments recorded from both sides of the desk suggest assisting students to become more confident writers needs to be achieved without the burnout intensive written feedback leads to.