LINGUIST List 24.966

Sun Feb 24 2013

Review: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition: Mackey (2012)

Editor for this issue: Joseph Salmons <>

Date: 02-Jan-2013
From: Ferit Kilickaya <>
Subject: Input, Interaction, and Corrective Feedback in L2 Learning
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Book announced at

AUTHOR: Alison MackeyTITLE: Input, Interaction, and Corrective Feedback in L2 LearningSERIES TITLE: Oxford Applied LinguisticsPUBLISHER: Oxford University PressYEAR: 2012

REVIEWER: Ferit Kilickaya, Kocaeli University

SUMMARYThis book, part of the textbook series ‘Oxford Applied Linguistics’,investigates how interaction, together with input and corrective feedback, isinvolved in second language learning. It reviews a considerable amount ofresearch carried out over the last two decades as well as very recent work.The book is composed of four parts with two chapters each, for a total ofeight chapters. The structure enables readers to read chapters independentlyof others as it is organized thematically.

In Part One, under the theme of ‘Theoretical foundations and methodologicalapproaches’, Chapter 1, entitled ‘Introduction to the roles of input,interaction, and feedback in L2 learning’,the author provides a clear and concise overview of the interaction approachand associated constructs such as input, feedback, and output. When discussingthese, the author first presents the historical development of interactionresearch and then focuses on studies within the framework of interaction andlearning, pointing to work dealing with these constructs. This chapter laysthe foundation for the next chapters by providing a synthesis of research, andbrief but effective overviews of findings of studies conducted over the lasttwo decades.

Chapter 2, ‘Methodology in interaction research’, highlights the keyconsiderations used in interaction research. As indicated throughout the book,second language development is assured through interaction, and in thischapter, a detailed review of typical tasks used in such research has beenprovided. In the course of this review, these tasks are provided in categoriesdepending on the characteristics of the tasks, such as whether they are openor closed, and whether they encourage one-way or two-way communication. Thechapter also focuses on introspective methods such as stimulated recalls andthink-aloud protocols considered invaluable ways of getting participants torecall their thinking.

In Part Two, under the theme of ‘Contextual and instructional factors andapplications in interaction-driven L2 learning’, Chapter 3, entitled‘Classrooms, laboratories, and interlocutors’, examines how context plays arole in interaction. It also presents a range of views based on studiesconducted in laboratory settings and in classrooms. In other words, a criticalperspective is provided on how interaction occurs and which factors affectinteraction in both laboratory and classroom contexts such as what learnersnotice in the feedback provided (learners’ noticing of feedback) andinterlocutor effects.

Chapter 4, entitled ‘Tasks and the provision of learning opportunities ininteraction’ deals with task-based instruction and focus-on-form instruction(FFF) and how these types of instruction can foster second language learningthrough interaction. In this vein, the chapter focuses on tasks andinteraction and how they evolve in particular settings. As mentioned withregard to previous chapters, the discussion is guided through brief summariesof the studies conducted in this area, pointing to different types of tasksand factors that might affect interaction such as planning time andfamiliarity.

In Part Three, under the theme of ‘Cognitive and learner differencesinfluencing the interaction-learning relationships’, Chapter 5, entitled‘Learner characteristics: age and interaction-driven L2 learning’, discusseswhat interaction-based research says about how age and interaction affectsecond language learning in children and older learners. It is noteworthy thatthe author covers a wide body of literature on both populations, drawingattention to the need for research on older adults, especially ininteraction-driven second language learning.

Chapter 6, entitled ‘Cognitive processes: the role of working memory ininteraction-driven learning’, focuses on the role of working memory (WM) ininteractive activities in second language classrooms and it discussesdifferent models of WM such as Baddeley’s four-part model. Several issuesemerge in the discussion such as verbal working memory and phonologicalshort-term memory and how research links these issues to language proficiency.

In Part Four, under the theme of ‘Understanding and extending interactionresearch’, Chapter 7, entitled ‘Negotiation, corrective feedback, and recastsin SLA’ further extends the discussion provided in the introductory chapterand focuses on how interaction can be improved through interactionalmodifications, implicit and explicit feedback, recasts, error correction andhow learners can structure their interlanguages.

Chapter 8, ‘Driving interaction research forward’, presents social, cognitive,and pedagogical directions for future interaction research. As Mackeysuggests, questions about interaction research should be geared towards howinteraction can impact second language learning, rather than whether itaffects learning. Although this chapter might be seen as a conclusion, itreally serves as the first step toward further research to be conducted in theinteraction-driven second language learning, noting gaps in the relatedliterature and suggesting directions.

EVALUATIONConsidering the review of a wide body of research conducted for the last twodecades and the suggestions on further research provided by the author, I cansafely state that the author has achieved the goals with the book, dealingthoroughly how interaction, input, and corrective feedback go hand in handwithin the framework of several differences and factors in second languagelearning. This would definitely be not only an invaluable textbook but also amust-have reference for research students and researchers alike in interactionresearch and in the field of second language acquisition.

In their chapter on the “Interactionist approach” in ‘The Routledge Handbookof Second Language Acquisition’ (2012), Mackey, Abbuhl, and Gass touch on thecore issues of the present book clearly but briefly, including theoreticalfoundations. Moreover, in the same volume, chapters on “The role of feedback”by Loewen and “Age effects in second language learning” by DeKeyser furtherenrich the discussions presented on how feedback and age can affectcommunication, interaction, and learners’ attainment in language classrooms.To fully benefit from and to utilize what is covered in the present book,readers are urged to refer to these works as well as others like these onvarious issues such as how to provide feedback to learners, differentperspectives on interaction, and how corrective and oral feedback is perceivedby both learners and teachers: Bookhart (2008), Mackey and Polio (2009),Yoshida (2010), and Lyster, Saito, and Sato (2013).

The volume is well-structured, offering independent chapters that can bestudied depending on your needs and a comprehensive review of the studies thatwill surely interest many in the second language acquisition world. The bookactually delivers a coherent sense of the discussion related to interaction,starting very first from the theoretical foundations to meet the needs ofthose new to the roles of input, interaction, and feedback in L2 learning tomore advanced issues such as cognitive and learner differences influencing theinteraction-learning relationships, cognitive processes, and the role ofworking memory in interaction-driven learning.

The book has quite a few strengths beyond my power of summary. Among others,one major strength lies in the book’s organization and the overviews of thekey interaction-driven studies on several important issues. The suggestionsprovided throughout for further research and the issues noted in each chapterare especially noteworthy since the author takes great care to presentchallenging ideas and studies. The book stresses the need for more research tobe conducted on laboratory and classroom contexts as well as older adultsespecially in interaction-driven second language learning. The author drawsthe attention to the fact that further research should be geared towards howinteraction can impact second language learning considering the factorsdiscussed throughout the book, rather than focusing on whether interactionaffects language learning or not.

I cannot help wishing that the book had been published before I completed mystudies. The only thing that I would suggest for a future edition would be theinclusion of a glossary of key terms at the end of the book. Overall, thiswill be the first book that teachers, lecturers, researchers, and students ininteraction-driven second language learning should consult for previous andcurrent research, and ideas for further research.

REFERENCESBookhart, S. M. (2008). How to give effective feedback to your students.Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

DeKeyser, R. (2012). Age effects in second language learning. In S. M. Gass &A. Mackey (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of second language acquisition (pp.24-40). New York, NY: Routledge.

Loewen, S. (2012). The role of feedback. In S. M. Gass & A. Mackey (Eds.), TheRoutledge handbook of second language acquisition (pp. 442-460). New York, NY:Routledge.

Lyster, R., Saito, K., and Sato, M. (2013). Oral corrective feedback in secondlanguage classrooms. Language Teaching, 46(1), 1-40.doi:10.1017/S0261444812000365

Mackey, A., Abbuhl, R., & Gass, S. M. (2012). Interactionist approach. In S.M. Gass & A. Mackey (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of second languageacquisition (pp. 7-23). New York, NY: Routledge.

Mackey, A., & Polio, C. (2009). (Eds.). Multiple perspectives on interaction:Second language research in honor of Susan M. Gass. New York, NY: Routledge.

Yoshida, R. (2010). How do teachers and learners perceive corrective feedbackin the Japanese language classroom? The Modern Language Journal, 94, 293-314.

ABOUT THE REVIEWERFerit Kılıçkaya is a lecturer at the Department of Western Languages andLiteratures, Kocaeli University, Kocaeli, Turkey. He received his M.A. andPh.D. degrees in English Language Teaching at Middle East TechnicalUniversity, Ankara, Turkey. His main area of interests includes computerassisted language learning (CALL), teacher education and technology, languageteaching methodology, second language education, language testing, authoringtools, and culture and language teaching. He has published articles andreviews in journals such as Teaching English with Technology, EducationalStudies, and The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology.

Page Updated: 24-Feb-2013