ESL Term:

Cognitive Feedback

ESL/EFL Glossary: A Guide to applied linguistics terminology.


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cognitive feedback: Cognitive feedback is when teachers (or anybody) display signs that they understand what a learner is trying to communicate. Essentially, the listener is signaling, "I understand." or "I don't understand." Positive cognitive feedback sometimes has a negative consequence:  Learners make mistakes, but because they are understood, they don't change their language habits.  This can result in fossilization of errors.  Therefore, some error correction may be necessary, but too much will lower self-esteem and raise learners' affective filters. There are no hard rules, but teachers will eventually develop intuition on when correction is necessary.

Cognitive feedback can be contrasted with affective feedback, where a listener (teacher) signals the extent that the want to listen.