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Spelling knowledge of grade 5 elementary school students

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Patrícia Regina de Souza
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: Presidente Prudente. 2019-03-06.
Institution: Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp). Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia. Presidente Prudente
Defense date:
Advisor: Ana Luzia Videira Parisotto

This study was conducted in the Graduate Program in Education at UNESP’s FCT (School of Sciences and Technology) along the research thread “Educational Processes, Teaching, and Learning.” Despite demanding that students follow normative standards for educated writing, schools do not usually provide learning opportunities that can help them understand spelling rules. As a result, students — at all school levels — show great difficulty in applying spelling rules. This spelling shortcoming is oftentimes due to teaching practices that fail to solve students’ doubts about spelling; the use of tasks of a mechanical nature to teach spelling has not encouraged them to reflect on the spelling system in order to deliberately and explicitly internalize its rules. Hence, this study has elected the following guiding questions: What is the spelling knowledge of Grade 5 elementary school students? What are the major spelling mistakes found in texts produced by Grade 5 elementary school students? What is the relationship between the degree of spelling clarification in the classroom and the quality of students’ intentional transgressions? This study aimed specifically at investigating the spelling knowledge of Grade 5 elementary school students based on the analysis of their spelling mistakes and by observing the relationship between the degree of rule explanation and the quality of intentional transgressions. To this end, this study adopted a qualitative-quantitative case-study design with multiple data collection tools, namely dictation of existing and madeup words, intentional misspelling tasks, text production, and interviews. Overall, the data analysis indicates that despite performing above average in the proposed activities, students with good spelling ability cannot explain spelling rules satisfactorily. On the other hand, below-average performers in relation to spelling tend to underperform in all tasks that require spelling knowledge. Thus, it should be emphasized the importance of a systematic, contextualized, reflective, and explicit mode of teaching of spelling that takes into account the students’ learning pace, linguistic variation, and nature of spelling mistakes as these factors can negatively impact the internalization of the spelling system. Moreover, it should be noted that public policies that encourage teachers to fill existing gaps in their professional education are indispensable since teachers cannot teach spelling to their students in a reflective manner if they themselves do not know the spelling system in depth. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 17/04339-3 - Learning how to spell: What do 5th-grade students know?
Grantee:Patrícia Regina de Souza
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Master