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Using peer correction in teaching writing skill to help

Writing skill which includes language, private knowledge and skill, emotion and the interaction of personal opinion is difficult and challenging to learn and develop for many students in EFL contexts in general and in Vietnam in particular. In Vietnam, there are many teachers of English who even believe that teaching writing skill to EFL learners is more complex than teaching other communicative skills (Mazdayasna &Tahririan, 2001). Although language learners have to learn hard to have good compositions, they still have made a variety of errors or mistakes when writing. In other words, EFL learners often feel stressful and anxious when writing in a foreign language (Spratt & Leung, 2000). Consequently, language teachers and researchers have made an effort to know how they can do to help students be able to minimize their mistakes in their writing. However, they also admit that it is impossible for them or any teacher to read and correct all the students’ compositions on writing lessons because “correcting written work is time-consuming” (Ur, 1999, p.74), especially for large classes. Peer feedback (also peer correction, peer response or peer review) with its advantages can be a promising way which can be used to encourage students to read and give comments and suggestions together for enrichment of their peers’ writings before the final versions of their products are submitted to their teachers. Peer correction works as a vital part in the process approach to teaching writing because it helps learners realize their learning level as well as their demands for enhancement of writing ability. Brown (1994) and Gipps (1994) have the same opinion that feed back is one of the main factors in the process of English learning and teaching. Many other researchers, for example, Paulus (1999), Min (2006) promote the idea that verbal and written feedback should be applied to foster writing skills. This strategy, thus, has been used popularly on the writing lessons of many English classes in Vietnam consisting of those at centre of Informatics and Foreign Language, Thai Nguyen College of Education, Thai Nguyen Uni. Ur (1999, p.74) states that peer correction can help us not only save time, but also develop the “critical reading” skill for “content, organization, style and language accuracy”. Additionally, peer feedback can receive an efficient method to make students to have critical thinking of writing and assessment skills than teacher feedback. In other words, peer feedback helps learners make good use of their own effort to make their writings expressive and effective. However, in spite of its roles and impact on the process of writing, peer feedback has not been paid much attention in Vietnam. Some researchers such as Tran (2007), Phan (2007) who are interested in peer response in writing introduce their point of view, knowledge and experience about this topic in their researches which show the present state of employing peer feedback learners’ attitude and especially offer some suggestions to better the current response training.