An investigation of implicit vs. explicit oral corrective feedback on Chinese pupils’ use of past tense

Qin XIE, Chingyee YEUNG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This experimental study investigated the relative effectiveness of two broad categories of oral corrective feedback (i.e., implicit vs. explicit feedback) on primary pupils’ use of past tense. Data was collected from a primary school in Hong Kong involving 24 pupils in two experimental groups and one control group. A pre-test was given in the first week to ensure the three groups were equivalent at the beginning. Afterwards, students were asked to retell a story, during which students in one experimental group received implicit oral feedback on their use of past tense, while those in the other experimental group received explicit feedback. The control group did not receive immediate oral feedback. All three groups received an immediate post-test at the end of story retelling, and a delayed post-test two weeks later. Test scores were analysed to examine changes within each group and differences across groups. The study found both experimental groups outperformed the control group, but there was no significant difference between the two experimental groups, except that the group receiving explicit feedback tended to outperform the implicit group, especially in repairing regular verbs. The findings suggest both types of oral corrective feedback could be given to ESL learners during form-related classroom instruction. Copyright © 2018 Qin Xie & Chingyee Yeung.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-75
JournalLanguage Education & Assessment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018



Xie, Q., & Yeung, C. (2018). An investigation of implicit vs. explicit oral corrective feedback on Chinese pupils’ use of past tense. Language Education & Assessment, 1(2), 59-75.


  • Oral feedback
  • Feedback types
  • Primary ESL learners
  • Student publication