1-1. Purpose of this study
・To introduce better way of teaching English reading into EFL classes.
・To consider current way of teaching English reading.
・Reading is the most important skill in four skills because we can get information a lot from texts.
・Learners can get successful experiences of English reading.
2. Current situation of ELT in Japan
1-1. Teaching reading in junior high school
1-2. Teaching reading in high school
3. Research Questions
・How does schema or background knowledge influence EFL learners’ English reading?
・How should teachers introduce schema reading into EFL reading classes?
4. Effective way of teaching reading in Japanese secondary school.
4-1. Schema reading
4-2. THIEVES strategy
5-1. Summary of this project
5-2. Further research
I read six articles about English reading with using schema for EFL junior hish school students. There were two common issues which support my research questions.
The first issue is the way of activating schema in English reading classes. Shen, Y. (2008) addressed that reading process can be divided into three parts: pre-reading, while-reading, and post-reading. In the process of pre-reading, which includes webbing, brainstorming, strip sentences, songs, role-play, predicting, initial discussion, guessing the title or the ending, word list of prediction, opinion poll, and charts, students read texts once to activate schema or get background information. Teachers need not to care what students found then. In the process of while-reading, teachers will explain the text basing on the global meaning of the text. This process can train students to think orderly and logically. Finally, in the process of post-reading, the students will learn useful phrases in the text. The students will write an article or an essay with using the phrases learned in the text. In this way the students can be found how much they have understood the text (input) and how much they can speak out (output).
Also, Khataee, E. (2019) mentioned the way of activating schema, it called “THIEVES strategy.” THIEVES is an activating strategy which includes seven steps. Before reading the whole text, readers steal information from the text’s Title, Headings, Introduction, Every first sentence, Visual/Vocabulary, End-of chapter questions, and Summary. THIEVES is the acronym of each steps and means stealing information from the texts.
In addition, reading consists of a mixture of linguistic, non-linguistic, and cognitive skills (Nassaji, 2003), and the necessary knowledge for reading comprehension is classified into form and substance. Thus, when teachers introduce these ways of activating schema, they should take teaching both form and substance into consideration.
The second issue is the relevance, which schema theory has, to EFL learners’ reading comprehension. In a study, (Tanghirunwat, 2003), Thai engineers had difficulties to read manuals because of the content of texts, new vocabularies, and grammar. Other study, (Intarasombat, 2002), about the effects of vocabulary development on reading comprehension showed that many students had limited vocabulary knowledge and this area caused them problems in English reading comprehension. Considering these studies, it can be said that readers is not just passive person, but one who gives meaning to the text. The schemata or background knowledge which they have relates with English reading comprehension. In Kataee’s study (2019), which aims to investigate the impact of schemata activation thorough using THIEVES strategy, shows that when teachers use an activating strategy, the scores of reading tests is higher than the results when teachers do not use an activating strategy in Iranian EFL reading classes. It means that using schema theory in English reading classes is beneficial for EFL learners.
Khataee, E. (2019). The Effect of THEIVES strategy on EFL Learners’ Reading Comprehension. International Journal of Instruction, 12 (2), 667-682.
For a complete comprehension, the interaction between the student’s prior knowledge and the contect is necessary, and background knowledge plays the most important role in comprehension. However, readers can confront some problems such as difficult content, unknown vocabulary, lack of background knowledge, and shortage of time. Also, an important issue of teachers is the lack of using effective activating strategies based on students’ needs to develop their reading comprehension skills. To overcome these obstacles, it is beneficial for readers to use THEIVES strategy. Reading skill is the most important in the four skills because pedagogical processes is served by written text. THEIVES is an activating strategy including seven steps with the purpose of providing necessary knowledge for students before going through the text. In this strategy, students steal information from the text’s Title, Headings, Introduction, Every first sentence, Visual/Vocabulary, End-of chapter questions, and Summary before reading the whole text. As a result of this study, it is obvious that students of the experimental group who received the treatment had a great improvement after activating their background knowledge activation, by using previewing strategy such as THEIVES enhances reading comprehension of advanced EFL readers.
The THEIVES strategy, mentioned in this journal, is a strategy of activating readers’ background knowledge or schemata to enhance their reading comprehension skills. Thus this study focuses on how to activate readers’ schemata. This journal can be beneficial for me to introduce schema reading method into the English classes in junior high or high school.
The results of this study that readers can get deeper reading comprehension by using THEIVES strategy, activating their schemata. Therefore, if they activate their schemata which they already have before the text reading, they can read well and get successful experiences. The result of this study can be one of the evidences to prove the effectiveness of activating readers’ schemata before reading texts.
Zhao, X. & Zhu, L. (2012). Schema Theory and College English Reading Teaching. English Language Teaching, 5(11), 111-117. doi:10.5539/elt.v5n11p111
Reading is the most important skill among the four skills to acquire and comprehend another language. One’s background knowledge is more important than new words and new structures. Hence teachers should teach the background knowledge first so that students can guess the meaning of words. Schema has three types: linguistic schema, content schema, and formal schema. Currently, English reading teaching is teacher-centered and students feel bored. By activating schema before the reading, students tend to find the meaning of words and read actively. Schema can be activated by pre-reading, while-reading, and post-reading activities. Teachers should choose the most suitable way for the reading activities. By schema reading, teachers can cultivate students’ reading interest, quicken their reading speed, and make proper judgements, which can help students complete their tasks more successfully.
I could understand schema more deeply from this article: the definitions of schema, three types of schema, and the ways of schema activation. In terms of deeper understanding of schema, this article is useful for my research.
The study conducted in this article is for college students. The author said that readers are very passive, but it can not be clearly said that it is the same as junior high or high school students. My research is about using schema theory in English reading at junior high or high school stages. Take the difference of stage into consideration, this aiticle is not completely related to my research.
Young, B.N. & Man, Z. (2005). Formal Schema Theory and Teaching EFL Reading. Online Submission, Tennessee Educational Leadership, 32(3), 14-16.
Traditional reading comprehension research has shown that comprehension is determind not only by phrases or sentences, but also by overall organization of text. Many studies showed the effect of schema, but they have been conducted in situation in which English is taught and learned as a native language or as a second language rather than as a foreign language, so this study is conducted in China, EFL situation. The more important point here is that formal schema is based on schema activation. Formal schemata were thought to be teachable rather than activatable, so it is apparent that it was improper to teach formal schemata that were already stored in subjects’ minds. Formal schemata are less culture-specific than content schemata,so formal schemata are more applicable than content schemata when teaching in EFL.
This article focused on the effects of activating readers’ schemata before the reading in EFL classes. In terms of the situation: in EFL reading classes,it can be said useful for me because it is completely suitable for what I would like to research. Also, I could know a new way of division, formal schema. Formal schema theory is not what teachers teach, but what teachers activate. It is improper to teach formal schemata that were already stored in readers’ minds. However, I could not get specific information such as how to activate them, how effective they are, and how to use it in EFL classes.
This article is related to my research in terms of the EFL reading situation. I would like to research the ways of introducing schema activating, and connect them to this article. In addition, this survey was conducted in China. Chinese has almost the same grammatical structure as English, so it can be different from Japanese structural schema.
Shen, Y. (2008). An Exploration of Schema Theory in Intensive Reading. English Language Teaching, 1(2), 104-107.
Traditionally, new words and grammatical rules were regarded as the core of English learning, but the general understanding of texts, recently, is becoming more important in the process of English teaching. Then, the general knowledge of the world is prime for readers to have better understanding in the reading process. According to Goodman(1971), reading is a “psycholinguistic guessing game.” If readers read texts without general knowledge, it is the same situation when detective guesses the criminals without hints. The knowledge which is previously acquired is called the reader’s background knowledge, and the previously acquired knowledge structure is called Schema Theory. Also, schema is information which we organize in our long-term memory by cognitive constructs. The way to evoke schema is pre-reading activity. In this activity, teachers do not have to require students to understand the text. The main purpose of this activity is to make them have interests in the text, experience English reading, and confirm the reason why they are reading it. Students can bring the best of their knowledge and skills to a text when they have been given a chance to ease into the passage. In addition, by finding structural commonality in pre-reading, teachers can train students to think orderly and logically. That is beneficial.
This article mentions what Schema Theory is and how to connect it to English reading in L2 learning, so this is not very useful for me to understand the effects which schema gives to EFL learners. This article has three goals. First, to give a brief overview of some of the literature. Second, to show how familiarity with the subject matter in terms of schema theory affects L2 text understanding. Third, to discuss the implications of schema theory in L2.
In this study, it is clarified that the way of use of schemata to English teaching. However, it is suggested for L2 learners. In Japan, English is as a foreign language, so the situation is completely different from the situation which is stated in this article. Taking this difference into account, the way of introducing schema theory into EFL reading should be scrutinized.
Ensar, F. (2015). Schema-Based Text Comprehension. Educational Research and Reviews, 10(18), 2568-2574. doi: 10.5897/ERR2015.2469
Human language apart from the descriptive and associative concepts. Humans will both foresee what is going to happen and acquire new information that will enable them to interpret what is happning right now by using specific conceptual knowledge. A schema or schemata are the graphical representations of outlines or models. The remembering of the stories is affected by the recipient’s mental framework which presents evidence that new events are integrated with existing information structures. On the other hand, schemata are also important for processing linguistic information. Schema is important for us to implement an explanation. What teachers in schools are required is to support students by more comprehensive and reliable data.
This study addresses the connection between schemata and comprehension, not only in language learnings, but also in our daily lives. I would like to know about the connection between schema and English reading. I think this study is useful to know about the effects of schema. However, in terms of English reading, it can not be useful because this study does not mention English reading enough.
I think this study can be useful to learn what schema is and the effects that schema makes. As Kant defined, the idea of schema is some natural structures that enable us to comprehend nature. However, this study mentions many situations when people use a schema, so I think this study is too general for my study.
1. Khataee, Elnaz (2019). The Effect of THIEVES Strategy on EFL Learners’ Reading Comprehension. International Journal of Instruction, v12 n2 pp.667-682
2. Zhao, Xiaoguang; Zhu, Lei (2012). Schema Theory and College English Reading Teaching. English Language Teaching, v5 n11 pp.111-117
3. Shen, Yanxia (2008). An Exploration of Schema Theory in Intensive Reading. English Language Teaching, v1 n2 pp.104-107
4. Ensar, Ferhat (2015). Schema-Based Text Comprehension. Educational Research and Reviews, v10 n18 pp.2568-2574
5. Yang, Shi-sheng (2010). The Influence of Schema and Caltural Difference on L1 and L2 Reading. English Language Teaching, v3 n4 pp.175-180
6. Zashchitina, Galina; Moysyak, Natalia (2017). Some Aspects of Developing Background Knowledge in Second Language Acquisition Revisited.
7. Navarro, Ann M (2008). Building Schema for English Language Learners.
8. Erten, Ismail Hakki; Razi, Salim (2009). The Effects of Cultural Familiarity on Reading Comprehension. Reading in a Foreign Language, v21 n1 pp.60-77
9. Early, Margaret; Tang Gloria M (1991). Helping ESL Students Cope with Content-Based Texts. TESL Canada Journal, v8 n2 pp.34-44
10. Basmalah, Putri (2013). The Influence of Teachers’ Schema in Teaching Reading on Students’ Understanding. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, v4 n2 pp.99-103
My reasearch topic: The influence that background information make when learners listen or read in English.
When I was a high school student, I read many articles and stories in English, and last year, I read many extensive reading books.
In these reading activities, I came across many stories I had read before, and they were easy to read and understand. On the other hand, I also came across many stories I had not known, and they were difficult.
I suppose that almost all of you have such experiences.
From these experiences, I assume that the score of a test depends on a background information and knowledge which learners have. If readers know about the story or topic, can they get better scores? Even if articles or stories include some difficult words, can they guess the meaning of words and read them thanks to their knowledge?
As the test of Japanese classical literature has explaining sentences before main sentences, it is necessary for learners to understand information about stories to read them. However, English exam does not have them. Scores can be better or worse according to whether readers know about the story or not. It is not fair. It is impossible to test learners’ actual English ability in such ways.
If this hypothesis is true, I assume that the current way of testing learner’s English ability is not appropriate. That is not their “English ability,” but their “knowledgeability.”
In this research, I may come across some obstacles. I assume that it is difficult to distinguish that it is learners’ “English ability” or “knowledgeability” from a result of a test. How can I prove it? It is a big problem.
Then, if they learn English words in each categories or topics, can they get a leager vocabulary? In English education, it is important to set goals, scenes, and situations. Teachers should make learners understand why, when, where, and how they use English words. Connection between knowledge and information is possible to make some influence on learners’ ability of using English.
For these reasons, I chose this topic for my reaserch.