Editing or revision: An examination of EFL teachers' feedback on writing drafts

Document Type : Original Article


1 Islamic Azad University, Khoy Branch

2 Ataturk University, Turkey

3 Urmia University, Iran



Second language acquisition (SLA) literature is replete with studies exploring the effect of teachers’ corrective feedback or comments on the improvement of students’ writing accuracy, with little attention paid to the true nature of the process of revision. This case study was intended to understand the type and nature of revision that writing teachers required students to make to their drafts based on the feedback they were provided. A second aim of the study was to reveal how students evaluated teachers' comments and what problems they faced in revising their writing drafts. A close scrutiny of four university teachers’ comments on the papers of 32 student-writers reveals that writing teachers provide, to a large extent, common and identical comments which mainly deal with language-bound errors and problems. They hardly seem to expect students to re-examine the text beyond its surface level. In the current study, almost 97 per cent of teachers’ comments directed students’ attention to low level skills such as punctuation, spelling and grammatical structure. Teachers’ comments did not seem to communicate to student writers the meaning of revision anything more than editing or proofreading. The results also indicated that students did not attribute any other meaning to revision than tidying-up or copy-editing. The problems students faced while revising are discussed and some pedagogical implications are offered.