Face Threat Migitation in Written Feedback on Student Compositions in an English Language Classroom

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts major in English Language and Literature Teaching (Option I-Thesis)



First Advisor

Ma. Isabel P. Martin, PhD


Researches on feedback approaches in second language writing have given various suggestions on how teachers should improve student writing but teachers grapple with how best to provide effective written feedback to the students without threatening learning relationships. Teachers can use face threat mitigation strategies. This study investigates the role of face threat mitigation in written feedback on student compositions in an English language classroom. Using Brown and Levinson‘s Politeness Strategy as a framework for studying FTMs in teacher‘s written feedback, it looks at the extent on the teachers‘ use of FTM techniques in giving written feedback in compositions and their underlying reasons for using these strategies or techniques. The data shows that although more comments of praise and criticism were unmitigated, teachers use some forms of FTM techniques and strategies such as suggestions, hedges, paired acts, in- group language or personal attribution, and interrogative statements on their written feedback to soften criticism of their students‘ written works. The data also indicates that the teachers are still focused on error correction feedback in written works. Teachers make use of face threat mitigating strategies in order to bridge the ―social distance‖ between them and their students, to motivate them to write, to empathize with them, to express solidarity, to suggest corrections which will not offend the students, and to cushion criticisms of their student‘s works.

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