Instructional Science

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 145-165

First online:

The study of teachers' written feedback to students' writing: changes in theoretical considerations and the expansion of research contexts

  • Michal ZellermayerAffiliated withTel Aviv University

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This paper identifies four successive phases in the study of written feedback to students' compositions. The studies included in these phases are distinguished by views of writing instruction reflected in their theoretical frameworks: the view of writing instruction as a series of teacher provided stimuli and students' responses to these stimuli; the view that the writing class is a rhetorical community, where teacher and students interact as readers and writers over texts; the view of learning to write as a phenomenon both natural and problematic, where school may interfere with students' natural development; the view that learning to write, like all other learning, depends on successful student-teacher interactions within student's zone of proximal development. While reviewing recent studies of written feedback, the paper shows how these changing views of writing instruction are accompanied by changing theoretical perspectives for the study of the provision and processing of written feedback as well as by a gradual expansion of research contexts for looking at this problem. Finally, in view of such a line of development, it suggests an agenda for future research.