Punctuation in Swedish Upper Secondary School
Sammanfattning: Punctuation enhances the understanding and correct reading of written text by the use of spacing and conventional signs. When learning a language, the usage of correct punctuation is vital. This is especially important when learning a second language since punctuation rules vary between languages. In Swedish schools, the teaching of English as a second language has shifted focus from a grammatically oriented method called ‘grammar translation method (GTM) to a more communicative approach which could have affected the students’ knowledge of grammar. Despite the importance of correct punctuation, there have been few studies addressing the subject in Sweden. Therefore, this essay aims to examine the knowledge and use of punctuation among students and teachers in Swedish schools. In order to meet the purpose of the essay, the method was divided into four parts: (a) student questionnaires, (b) teachers’ questionnaires, (c) analysis of students written texts and (d) analysis of second language acquisition learning materials. In total, 23 9th grade students and two teachers participated in the study. Nine different textbooks were analysed to examine how punctuation is addressed. The results showed that there is a general lack of knowledge on the correct use of punctuation among the students as well as the teachers. Moreover, the students’ textbooks did not, in any form, address punctuation. The results were analysed and discussed in relation to previous research on punctuation as well as the essays theoretical framework. Finally, implications for practitioners and future research were provided. Recommendations for teachers are that they follow, to a greater extent, the curriculum and teach punctuation in Swedish upper secondary schools. However, since there seems to be a lack of knowledge among teachers regarding the use of punctuations, the results of this essay highlight the importance of including punctuation in the textbooks provided to the students.
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