Recasts and English language proficiency





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The research question in this project was: Do recasts increase English language proficiency? The author examined the number of times an ESL student used past-tense verbs correctly before and after hearing recast correction and before and after hearing explicit correction. Explicit correction (which increased correct verb use by 20%) was found to be more effective than recasting (which decreased correct verb use by 6%). The decrease in correct verb use after recasts suggests that recasting was less effective than providing no correction. Recasts, therefore, did not promote immediate correct form language proficiency. Recasts did, however, appear to promote more expansive student communication -- an element that the author believes is important to overall language growth. The author's conclusion is that an approach which combines recasting with explicit correction, allowing a student to focus on both correct form and content expression, is most effective in increasing long-term, overall English language proficiency and growth.

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