Use of Punctuation Marks by Secondary School Students: The Case of Forms Two and Three Students of Government High School Buea
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This study investigated the use of punctuation marks by secondary school students. The main research question sought to find out reasons for students poor use of punctuation marks. The instruments used for data collection were a questionnaire and test.
The questions were structured (closed-ended) and unstructured (open-ended) in order to get the respondents’ perceptions. The sample of the study included twenty (20) students from Government High School Buea (GHS).
That is From Two and Three respectively. The data was analyzed qualitatively. The findings of the study revealed that students face difficulties in identifying, mastering and using punctuation marks effectively.
It is recommended that policymakers like curriculum designers from all levels of education should encourage teachers to teach punctuation marks with more emphasis from primary, secondary to university levels.
Background of the Study
The mastery of grammar and other aspects of language continues to pose challenges to students’. This could be due to the fact that the grammar of English is not well assimilated by students. To this effect words and meanings turn to have less influence on students learning skills since they do not have a well-built foundation as far as grammar and vocabulary are concerned.
One of such is the punctuation mark. Most at times, they could be just considered as normal symbols less importance on like tenses which are used on normal bases. It will be important to note that these symbols are of great importance as far as language learning is concerned.
It is for this reason that this research is carried out on how punctuation marks are used by secondary school students and to showcase the worth of punctuation marks as far as grammar is concerned.
According to Webster, punctuation is defined as the act or practice of inserting standardized marks or signs in the written matter to clarify meaning. Some of such symbols include -semi-colon, full-stop, colon, question mark. Punctuation marks are very important as far as language learning is concerned.
This is because they are used in every piece of writing. For this reason that it is taught in all language causes from primary school sectors of education (primary, secondary, university).
However, these marks are still not well mastered by some students. Some students may not have grasped the correct use of punctuation may be because of the way it is being taught by teachers.
Some teachers may use a less practical approach and on the path of students, language as a whole is mostly learned for “learn and pass” purpose. Thus, no matter how many times it taught it is grasped by students.
Finally, this would therefore focus on how students use punctuation marks in the English language.
Statement of the problem
Due to the fact that Cameroonian students are only interested in the studying of language just for marks and not for mastery. Eventually writing and reading are always poor. This is because important aspects of English language such as punctuation marks are omitted as far as writing and reading are concerned.
In a nun-shell, conveying messages becomes difficult. For this reason that the study is being carried out to find out the use of punctuation marks and their importance in the English language use of students.
Objectives of the study
This study has the following objectives;
- To identify punctuation marks that students face difficulties in mastering.
- To find out reasons for students poor use of punctuation marks.
- To show how important punctuation marks are as far as reading writing skills are concerned.
- To propose better ways of improving the mastery of punctuation marks.
This work has the following research questions;
- What are the difficulties faced by students in mastering punctuation marks?
- What reasons could be attributed to poor mastery of punctuation marks?
- Are there punctuation marks that pose particular challenges to master by students?
- Is there any measure that could be used for better mastery of punctuation marks?