Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer


Vol. 25 No. 2 (2022)

Incongruence Between Learning Style and Written Corrective Feedback Type: Mediating Effect of Implicit Theory of Learning Style

July 4, 2021


Implicit theory (Dweck, 2000) suggests that learners’ theories about the malleability of their individual traits (learning style, here) determine the extent to which they can stretch their learning style (Gregersen & MacIntyre, 2014; Young, 2010) and benefit from the instruction that mismatches their preferred styles. The present study aimed at investigating the extent to which Iranian EFL learners with inductive vs. deductive learning styles would benefit from the written corrective feedback (WCF) that does not match their learning styles (i.e., implicit vs. explicit WCF). The study also examined if their success (or lack of) in style stretching and improving their written accuracy is due to the implicit theory (entity vs. incremental) they hold about their learning style. The result showed that students with an incremental theory significantly improved their written accuracy more than those with an entity theory. Also, the findings revealed that inductive learners were more successful in adapting to the mismatched WCF (explicit) and made greater improvement in their written accuracy than deductive students who received implicit WCF.


  1. Adrada-Rafael, S. (2017). Processing the Spanish imperfect subjunctive: Depth of processing under different instructional conditions. Applied Psycholinguistics, 38, 477–508.
  2. Aronson, J., Fried, C. & Good, C. (2002). Reducing the effects of stereotype threat on African American college students by shaping theories of intelligence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 113–125.
  3. Bandura, M., & Dweck, C. S. (1985). The relationship of conceptions of intelligence and achievement goals to achievement-related cognition, affect and behavior. Unpublished manuscript, Harvard University
  4. Beer, J. S. (2002). Implicit self-theories of shyness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
  5. , 1009–1024.
  6. Bitchener, J. (2008). Evidence in support of written corrective feedback. Journal of Second Language Writing, 17, 102–18.
  7. Bitchener, J., & Ferris, D. (2012). Written corrective feedback in second language acquisition and writing. Routledge.
  8. Bitchener, J. and Storch, N. (2016) Written corrective feedback for L2 development. Multilingual Matters.
  9. Bitchener, J. & Knoch, U. (2008). The value of written corrective feedback for migrant and international students. Language Teaching Research Journal, 12, 409–431.
  10. Bitchener, J. & Knoch, U. (2009). The relative effectiveness of different types of direct written corrective feedback. System, 37, 322-329.
  11. Bitchener, J. & Knoch, U. (2010). The contribution of written corrective feedback to language development: A ten month investigation. Applied Linguistics, 31, 193–214.
  12. Blackwell, L. S., Trzesniewski, K. H. & Dweck, C. S. (2007). Implicit theories of intelligence predict achievement across an adolescent transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention. Child Development, 78, 246-263.
  13. Chandler, J. (2003). The efficacy of various kinds of error feedback for improvement in the accuracy and fluency of L2 student writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12, 267–296.
  14. Charkins, R. J., O’Toole, D. M. & Wetzel, J. N. (1985). Linking teacher and student learning styles with student achievement and attitudes. The Journal of Economic Education, 16, 111–120.
  15. Chen, L. H., Chen, M. Y., Lin, M. S., Kee, Y. H., Kuo, C. F. & Shui, S. H. (2008). Implicit theory of athletic ability and self-handicapping in college students. Psychological Reports, 103, 476–484.
  16. Coffield, F., Moseley, D., Hall, E., & Ecclestone, K. (2004). Should we be using learning styles? What research has to say to practice? Learning and Skills Research Centre.
  17. Cohen, A., Oxford, R. & Chi, J. (2001). Learning styles survey. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA). Retrieved from http:// carla. umn. edu/ maxsa/ documents/ LearningStyleSurvey_MAXSA_IG.pdf
  18. Crum, A. J. & Langer, E. J. (2007). Mind-set matters: exercise and the placebo effect. Psychological Science, 18, 165–171.
  19. Cumming, A. (1995). Fostering writing expertise in ESL composition instruction: Modeling and evaluation. In D. Belcher & G. Braine (Eds.), Academic writing in a second language: Essays on research and pedagogy (pp. 375-397). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
  20. Curry, L. (1983). An organization of learning styles theory and constructs. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Montreal, Quebec. Retrieved from https://files. fulltext/ED235185.pdf
  21. De Castella, K. & Byrne, D. (2015). My intelligence may be more malleable than yours: The revised implicit theories of intelligence (self-theory) scale is a better predictor of achievement, motivation, and student disengagement. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 30, 245-267.
  22. Dekeyser, R. (1994). Implicit and explicit learning of L2 grammar: A pilot study. TESOL Quarterly, 28(1), 188-194.
  23. Dornyei, Z. (2007). Research methods in applied linguistics: Quantitative, qualitative and mixed methodologies. UK: Oxford University Press.
  24. Dornyei, Z., & Ryan, S. (2015). The psychology of the language learner revisited. Routledge.
  25. Dweck, C. S. (1996). Implicit theories as organizers of goals and behavior. In P. M. Gollwitzer & J. A. Bargh (Eds.), The psychology of action: Linking cognition and motivation to behavior. New York: The Guilford Press.
  26. Dweck, C. S. (2000). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and development. Lillington, NY: Taylor & Francis.
  27. Dweck, C. S. & Leggett, E. L. (1988). A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality. Psychological Review, 95, 256-273.
  28. Dweck, C. S. & Sorich, L. (1999). Mastery-oriented thinking. Coping, 11, 232-251.
  29. Ehrman, M. E. & Leaver, B. L. (2003). Cognitive styles in the service of language learning. System, 31, 391–415.
  30. Ellis, R. (2008). The study of second language acquisition. UK: Oxford University Press.
  31. Ellis, R. (2010). Epilogue: A framework for investigating oral and written corrective feedback. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 32, 335-349.
  32. Ellis, R., Loewen, S. & Erlam, R. (2006). Implicit and explicit corrective feedback and the acquisition of L2 grammar. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 28, 339-368.
  33. Ellis, R., Sheen, Y., Murakami, M. & Takashima, H. (2008). The effects of focused and unfocused written corrective feedback in an English as a foreign language context. System, 36, 353–71.
  34. Farrell, E., Dweck, C. S. (1985). The role of motivation processes in transfer of learning. Unpublished Manuscript.
  35. Fazio, L. L. (2001). The effect of corrections and commentaries on the journal writing accuracy of minority- and majority-language students. Journal of Second Language Writing, 10, 235–249.
  36. Felder, R. M. & Henriques, E. R. (1995). Learning and teaching styles in foreign and second language education. Foreign Language Annals, 28, 21–31.
  37. Felder, R. M. & Silverman, L. K. (1988). Learning and teaching styles in engineering education. Engineering Education, 78, 674-681.
  38. Ferris, D. (1995). Student reactions to teacher response in multiple-draft composition classrooms. TESOL Quarterly, 29, 33-53.
  39. Ferris, D. R. (1999). The case for grammar correction in L2 writing classes: A response to Truscott (1996). Journal of Second Language Writing, 8, 1–10.
  40. Ferris, D. R. (2003). Response to student writing: Implications for second language students. Routledge.
  41. Ferris, D. (2006). Does error feedback help student writers? New evidence on the short- and
  42. long-term effects of written error correction. In K. Hyland and F. Hyland (eds.), Feedback in second language writing: Contexts and issues (pp. 81–104). Cambridge University Press.
  43. Ferris, D. R. (2010). Second language writing research and written corrective feedback in SLA: Intersections and practical applications. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 32, 181-201.
  44. Ferris, D. & Hedgcock, J. S. (2005). Teacher response to student writing: Issues in oral and written feedback. In D. Ferris & S. Hedgcock (Eds.), Teaching ESL composition: Purpose, process and practice (pp. 184-222). London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  45. Ferris, D. & Roberts, B. (2001). Error feedback in L2 writing classes: How explicit does it need to be? Journal of Second Language Writing, 10(3), 161-184.
  46. Frantzen, D. (1995). The effects of grammar supplementation on written accuracy in an intermediate Spanish content course. Modern Language Journal, 79, 329–344.
  47. Gilakjani, A. P. (2012). A match or mismatch between learning styles of the learners and teaching styles of the teachers. International Journal of Modern Education and Computer Science, 4, 51–60.
  48. Goldstein, L. ( 2006 ). Feedback and revision in second language writing: Helping learners become independent writers. In K. Hyland & F. Hyland (Eds.), Feedback in second language writing: Contexts and issues (pp. 185 – 205). New York: Cambridge University Press.
  49. Gram, M. (2005). The students’ attitudes towards feedback (Unpublished master’s thesis). Essex University, Sacramento.
  50. Grant, H. & Dweck, C. S. (2003). Clarifying achievement goals and their impact. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 541-556.
  51. Gregersen, T. & MacIntyre, P. D. (2014). Capitalizing on language learners' individuality: From premise to practice. UK: Multilingual Matters.
  52. Guénette, D. (2007). Is feedback pedagogically correct? Research design issues in studies of feedback on writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 16, 40–53.
  53. Halperin, E., Crisp, R. J., Husnu, S., Trzesniewski, K. H., Dweck, C. S. & Gross, J. J. (2012).
  54. Promoting intergroup contact by changing beliefs: group malleability, intergroup anxiety, and contact motivation. Emotion (Washington, DC), 12, 1192–1195.
  55. Hayes, J. & Allinson, C. W. (1997). Learning styles and training and development in work settings: Lessons from educational research. Educational Psychology, 17, 185-193.
  56. Hedgcock, J. & Lefkowitz, N. (1994). Feedback on feedback: Assessing learner receptivity in second language writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 3, 141–163.
  57. Hong, Y., Chiu, C., Dweck, C. S., Lin, D. M. S., & Wan, W. (1999). Implicit theories, attributions, and coping: A meaning system approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 588-599.
  58. Hong, Y. Y., Chiu, C. & Dweck, C. S. (1995). Implicit theories of intelligence: Reconsidering the role of confidence in achievement motivation. In M. Kernis (Ed.), Efficacy, agency, and self-esteem (pp. 197-213). New York: Plenum.
  59. Hyland, F. (1998). The impact of teacher written feedback on individual writers. Journal of Second Language Writing, 7, 255–286.
  60. Hyland, F. (2011). The language learning potential of form–focused feedback on writing. In R. Manchon (Eds.), Learning–to–write and writing–to–learn in an additional language (pp. 159-179). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  61. Hyland, K., & Hyland, F. (2006). Feedback on second language students' writing. Cambridge University Press.
  62. Job, V. (2016). Implicit theories about willpower. In E. R. Hirt, J. J. Clarkson & L. Jia (Eds.), Self-regulation and ego control (pp. 203-225). US: Academic Press.
  63. Kang, E. & Han, Z. (2015). The efficacy of written corrective feedback in improving L2 written accuracy: A meta-analysis. Modern Language Journal, 99, 1–18.
  64. Kepner, C. G. (1991). An experiment in the relationship of types of written feedback to the development of second language writing skills. Modern Language Journal, 75, 305–313.
  65. Kim, H.R., Bowles, M. (2019). How deeply do second language learners process written corrective feedback? Insights gained from think-alouds. TESOL Quarterly, 53, 913–938.
  66. Knee, C. R. (1993). Implicit theories of relationships: Assessment and prediction of romantic relationship initiation, coping, and longevity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 360–370.
  67. Knee, C. R., Patrick, H. & Lonsbary, C. (2003). Implicit theories of relationships: Orientation toward evaluation and cultivation. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 7, 41–55.
  68. Kolb, D. (2015). Experiential learning experience as the source of learning and development. New Jersey: Pearson FT Press.
  69. Kormos, J. (2012). The role of individual differences in L2 writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 21, 390-403.
  70. Kozhevnikov, M., Evans, C., & Kosslyn, S. M. (2014). Cognitive style as environmentally sensitive individual differences in cognition: A modern synthesis and applications in education, business, and management. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 15, 3–33.
  71. Lalande, J. F. (1982). Reducing composition errors: An experiment. Modern Language Journal, 66, 140–149.
  72. Lee, I. (2004). Error correction in L2 secondary writing classrooms: The case of Hong Kong. The Journal of Second Language Writing, 13, 285–312.
  73. Leki, I. (1991). The preferences of ESL students for error correction in college level writing classes. Foreign Language Annals, 24, 203–218.
  74. Levy, S. & Dweck, C. S. (1998). Trait-focused and process-focused social judgment. Social Cognition, 16, 151–172.
  75. Liu, T. C. & Graf, S. (2009). Coping with mismatched courses: students’ behaviour and performance in courses mismatched to their learning styles. Educational Technology Research and Development, 57, 739-752.
  76. Maltby, J., Day, L., Giles, D., Gillett, R., Quick, M., Langcaster-James, H. & Linley, P. A. (2008). Implicit theories of a desire for fame. British Journal of Psychology, 99, 279–292.
  77. Mueller, C. M. & Dweck, C. S. (1998). Praise for intelligence can undermine children's motivation and performance. Journal of personality and social psychology, 75, 33-52.
  78. Ommundsen, Y., Haugen, R. & Lund, T. (2005). Academic self-concept, implicit theories of ability, and self-regulation strategies. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 49, 461–474.
  79. Oxford, R., Ehrman, M. & Lavine, R. (1991). Style wars: Teacher-student style conflicts in the language classroom. In S. Magnan (Ed.), Challenges in the 1990s for college foreign language programs (pp.1-25). Boston: Heinle and Heinle.
  80. Peterson, K., DeCato, L., & Kolb, D. A. (2014). Moving and learning: Expanding style and increasing flexibility. Journal of Experiential Education, doi:10.1177/1053825914540836
  81. Polio, C., Fleck, C. & Leder, N. (1998). ‘If only I had more time’: ESL learners’ changes in linguistic accuracy on essay revisions. Journal of Second Language Writing, 7, 43–68.
  82. Rahimi, M. (2015). The role of individual differences in L2 learners’ retention of written corrective feedback. Journal of Response to Writing, 1, 19-48.
  83. Rahimi, M. (2021). A comparative study of the impact of focused vs. comprehensive corrective feedback and revision on ESL learners’ writing accuracy and quality. Language Teaching Research, 25, 687-710.
  84. Reid, J. M. (Ed.). (1995). Learning styles in the ESL/EFL classroom. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.
  85. Robb, T., Ross, S. & Shortreed, I. (1986). Salience of feedback on error and its effect on EFL writing quality. TESOL Quarterly 20, 83–93.
  86. Sachs, R. & Polio, C. (2007). Learners’ uses of two types of written feedback on L2 writing revision task. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 29, 67–100.
  87. Sheen, Y. (2007). The effect of focused written corrective feedback and language aptitude on ESL learners’ acquisition of articles. TESOL Quarterly, 41, 255–283.
  88. Sheen, Y., Wright, D. & Moldawa, A. (2009). Differential effects of focused and unfocused written correction on the accurate use of grammatical forms by adult ESL learners. System, 37, 556–69.
  89. Sheppard, K. (1992). Two feedback types: Do they make a difference? RELC Journal, 23, 103–110.
  90. Shintani, N. & Ellis, R. (2015). Does language analytical ability mediate the effect of written feedback on grammatical accuracy in second language writing? System, 49, 110-119.
  91. Samie, S. (2021). Corrective feedback and EFL learning style. Journal of Management and Training for Industries, 8, 27-36.
  92. Stefanou, C. & Révész, A. (2015). Learner differences and the acquisition of second language article use for generic and specific plural reference. The Modern Language Journal, 99, 263–282.
  93. Stipek, D. & Gralinski, J. H. (1996). Children’s beliefs about intelligence and school performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88, 397–407.
  94. Storch, N. (2010). Critical feedback on written corrective feedback research. International Journal of English Studies, 10, 29-46.
  95. Storch, N. & Wigglesworth, G. (2010). Learners’ processing, uptake, and retention of corrective feedback on writing: Case studies. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 32, 303–334.
  96. Suzuki, W., Nassaji, H. & Sato, K. (2019). The effects of feedback explicitness and type of target structure on accuracy in revision and new pieces of writing. System, 81, 135-145.
  97. Swain, M. (2006). Languaging, agency and collaboration in advanced second language learning. In H. Byrnes (Ed.), Advanced language learning: The contributions of Halliday and Vygotsky (pp. 95–108). London: Continuum.
  98. Swain, M. & Lapkin, S. (2003). Talking it through: Two French immersion learners’ response to reformulation. International Journal of Educational Research, 37, 285–304.
  99. Tamir, M., John, O. P., Srivastava, S. & Gross, J. J. (2007). Implicit theories of emotion: Affective and social outcomes across a major life transition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 731–744.
  100. Truscott, J. (1996). The case against grammar correction in L2 writing classes. Language learning, 46, 327-369.
  101. Truscott, J. (1999). The case for ‘the case against grammar correction in L2 writing classes’: A response to Ferris. Journal of Second Language Writing, 8, 111–122.
  102. Truscott, J. (2004). Evidence and conjecture on the effect of correction: A response to Chandler. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12, 96–104.
  103. Truscott, J. (2007). The effect of error correction on learners’ ability to write accurately. Journal of Second Language Writing, 16, 255–272.
  104. Qui, D. & Lapkin, S. (2001). Exploring the role of noticing in a three-stage second language writing task. Journal of Second Language Writing, 10, 277–303
  105. Van Beuningen, C.G., De Jong, N.H. & Kuiken, F. (2008). The effect of direct and indirect corrective feedback on L2 learners’ written accuracy. ITL-Review of Applied Linguistics, 156, 279–296.
  106. Van Beuningen, C.G., De Jong, N.H. & Kuiken, F. (2012). Evidence on the effectiveness of comprehensive error correction in second language writing. Language Learning, 62, 1–41.
  107. Wallace, B. & R.L. Oxford. (1992). Disparity in learning styles and teaching styles in the ESL classroom: Does this mean war? AMTESOL Journal, 1, 45-68.
  108. Waller, L. (2015). Motivation and written corrective feedback: How students' implicit theories of writing intelligence influence their writing motivation and orientation to written corrective feedback (Unpublished master’s thesis). Michigan State University, USA.
  109. Waller, L. & Papi, M. (2017). Motivation and feedback: How implicit theories of intelligence predict L2 writers’ motivation and feedback orientation. Journal of Second Language Writing, 35, 54-65.
  110. Werth, L. & Forster, J. (2002). Implicit person theories influence memory judgments: The circumstances under which metacognitive knowledge is used. European Journal of Social Psychology, 32, 353–362.
  111. Yates, G. C. R. (2000). Applying learning style research in the classroom: Some cautions and the way ahead. In R. J. Riding, & S. G. Rayner (Eds.), Interpersonal perspectives on individual differences, Vol. 1: Cognitive styles (pp. 347–364). Ablex.
  112. Young, T. (2010). How valid and useful is the notion of learning style? A multicultural investigation. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2, 427-433.
  113. Zacharias, N. T. (2007). Teacher and student attitudes toward teacher feedback. RELC Journal, 38, 38-52.
  114. Zhang, L. F. (2013). The malleability of intellectual styles. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  115. Zhang, S. (1987). Cognitive complexity and written production in English as a second language. Language Learning, 37, 469-481.