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Teachers’ perceptions and understanding of pragmatics in English language teaching at a Swedish upper secondary school
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Learning a new language involves, in addition to learning grammar and lexical features, also acquiring the ability to understand the pragmatic meaning and intention that is built around an utterance in a culturally based context. Pragmatic features include speech acts, politeness, turn-taking, humor and so on. What these features have in common is that depending on the context, the intended message can vary. This creates an aspect of language learning and teaching that until recently has not been awarded a great deal of attention. Studies have shown that if students are introduced to and taught pragmatic features explicitly when learning a new language, their ability to understand and communicate has increased. The main purpose of this essay is, therefore, to investigate how pragmatics are introduced to students at a Swedish upper secondary school, and if the teachers have thought of the impact pragmatic features can have on the student’s future pragmatic competence when taught in the classroom. The study was conducted through semi-structured interviews with six English teachers at the school and their experience of teaching the subject varied. The interviews showed that the teachers were not familiar with the term pragmatics. However, they all worked with pragmatic features in the classroom even though, how it was introduced, varied among the interviewed teachers. Through the interviews, the teachers brought up different problematic aspects of teaching pragmatic features to the students. It could include the different proficiency levels of the students, the many varieties of the English language, and the teacher’s lack of sufficient knowledge of the topic. The interviews show that the research conducted on the topic has not made it all the way down to the teachers. Instead, the focus in language teaching, is still on grammar and lexical items, whereas pragmatic competence is not recognized on a broader scale.   

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keywords [en]
Pragmatics, Pragmatic competence, Teaching, Upper secondary school, Awareness
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Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-152330OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-152330DiVA, id: diva2:1179033
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Available from: 2018-09-18 Created: 2018-01-31 Last updated: 2018-09-18Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf