Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 11-9-2017


Grounded in sociocultural theory, written feedback activities in second language (L2) writing provide the social interactions that help learners develop their psychical functions within the zone of proximal development (ZPD) as they co-construct knowledge with teachers and peers through guided learning (De Guerrero & Villamil, 2000). Written feedback can also help student writers improve their writing proficiency, including organization of their texts and awareness of the mechanics of the language necessary for successful communication of the intended message (Chandler, 2003; Ferris, 2006; Jahin, 2012; Kamimura, 2006).

Regarding the eminence of feedback in L2 writing, a large body of research has been conducted to investigate different aspects of feedback in L2 writing classrooms, however much of the feedback research has put teachers at the center of the focus. Research on students’ perceptions of feedback only began to develop in the 1990s, thus this study builds on the growing literature, with particular focus on students’ perceptions of written feedback in L2 writing in Indonesian EFL context.

Framed within Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), this study aimed to examine: (1) second language learners’ preferences of written feedback, (2) its benefits as they perceive, (3) how they incorporate feedback in their writings, and (4) cultural influences that shape the perceptions, within the context of an after-class EFL writing course at a state university in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Guided by qualitative research methodology, data for this study were collected from a sample of seven students majoring in English Education. The data were analyzed quantitatively through frequency count and qualitatively through thematic content analysis by identifying the themes emerged related to the issues under discussion.

The results of data analysis showed four findings. First, students preferred direct than indirect form of feedback. Furthermore, they preferred their peers to provide feedback focusing on local issues but expected feedback focusing on global issues from the teacher. Second, students’ perceptions of written feedback revealed three benefits, namely; improving writing quality and skills, encouraging critical reasoning, and promoting learner autonomy. Third, students received more feedback from peers than the teacher but incorporated more teacher feedback than peer feedback in their writings. During the composing process, they also made self-revisions whose total number was larger than that of written feedback provided by their peers and teacher combined. Further analysis showed that the reasons why they incorporated or rejected/ignored the received written feedback came from some factors related to the feedback provider, the feedback receiver, and the written feedback provided. Finally, students valued more teacher feedback than peer feedback, which indicated the influence of hierarchical culture. However, power distance between the teacher and the students and face-saving strategy which is commonly practiced in a collectivist society did not seem to have much influence on students’ perceptions of written feedback.


perception, written feedback, peer feedback, teacher feedback, form of feedback, focus of feedback, second language writing, ESL, EFL, Sociocultural theory, ZPD, and Indonesia.

Document Type




Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Holbrook Mahn

Second Committee Member

Rebecca Blum-Martinez

Third Committee Member

Pisarn Chamcharatsri

Fourth Committee Member

Todd Ruecker