implications and models of schema theory

Schema also is the prior knowledge gained through experiences stored in student’s mind. What is schema? A schema (plural schemata) is how a reader perceived or understands the text from their reading based on their own background knowledge or their point of view on the surroundings. Their understanding on reading is not basically from the individual words alone but also to understand the message from the sentence, paragraph or even the whole article would convey.

Bartlett has develop the first construct of the schema in sass’s, but even he has the problem in putting it into solid theoretical form, which may explain the 50 years lag in having it in the mainstream cognitive psychology apart from the act that behaviorism was the fad in the field of psychology during that period. Bartlett finally publish his book “Remembering” in 1932 but again the concept is too indistinct to put to practice.

According to Bartlett (1932), the Schema Theory first came to light; which suggests “an active organization of past reactions of past experiences, which must always be supposed to be operation in any well-adapted organics response”. Bartlett (1932) believed that our memory of discourse was not based on straight reproductions, but was constructive. This constructive process uses information from the encountered discourse, together with knowledge from past experience related to the discourse at hand to build a mental representation. The other Schema Theory such as “… Ext, any text, whether written or spoken, does not by itself carry any meaning. Rather, according to schema theory, a text only provides directions for listeners or readers as to how they should retrieve or construct meaning from their own, previously acquired knowledge” that suggest by Carrel and Sisterhood (1983). By reading can be regarded as the ability to gather meaning from printed humbly, taking into account both the individual’s level of reading and purpose for reading. The language creates the culture and common understanding of the community.

Sometimes the language itself creates shortcut, such we have seen in idioms and proverbs as the writer always assumes that the reader understands these compositions if they are within the same culture scope of the writer. The problems however start to develop in nations where English is being taught as a second language. The translation of words often produces more confusion rather than understanding, even more with the inclusion of idioms, proverbs and there. For example, in this world we have several so called ‘Versions” of English language.

We have Mangling (Malaysian English), Indian English, Singling (Singapore English) and more in attempts to bridge the language gap. An example of Mangling “Gaston” it is equivalent to English counterpart “Go astern” is a direct translation of Bass Malay “Path Bali” which makes more meaning to the local populace rather than a direct translation of the English language which makes no meaning in the local dialect. In the process of reading, “comprehension of a message requires drawing information from both the message and the internal schemata until sets are reconciled as a single schema or message” (Hudson, 1982:187).

As the basis of comprehension, language knowledge plays an important role on understanding of the text, especially for learners at the beginning stage of learning. Without this basic language knowledge, there will be no reading strategy or skill that can function effectively. Therefore, the more language schemata readers have in their mind, the more information readers may acquire from the text, and the more effective readers they may become. Types of schemata There are three types of schemata for reading comprehension. First, linguistic schema.

In this schema, the reader’s language skill is of importance as it affects the reader’s comprehension of the text. The better the knowledge the reader has with regards to linguistic skills, the better the reader able to comprehend the text. The second type is the formal schemata. This has to do more with the structure of the text itself. Organizational forms and rhetorical structure including language structure, vocabulary etc. Plays an important part in understanding the text. According to Alderman (2000), formal schemata involve the knowledge of language, genre and metasyntactic.

The third type is content schemata. The reader is required to know and understands the background of the text. This includes the knowledge of culture, awareness of the subject, and experience in the subject. This type of schemata may be able to make up the weakness in other types of schemata may have as it lends a more complete picture of the text rather than just parts of it. Yule (1985) emphasized that the concept of coherence not exist in language but also in people. Humans interpret what they hear or see based on their experience of the world.

Development of the schema model The Schema Theory has three models to describe the differences on how schema influence reading of text. The first would be the Bottom-up model described by Carrel (1988). In this model, the readers’ knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, syntax and others is a necessity without which the meaning of the text cannot be explained. This model give a great emphasized on linguistic knowledge but the schema function is understated which may weaken the understanding of a strongly culturally centered literature.

Grebe (1988) points out this drawback comments that it do not “account for poor readers who guess extensively”. The second model was the Top – Down Processing model proposed by Goodman (1967). He suggests that readers do not read every word but rather grasps the contexts of the text as a whole to figure the meaning of word or phrases. The weakness of this method however is that, the reader needs to have boundless knowledge of the culture behind the literature. The third model suggests by Carrel (Bibb) is an attempt to bridge the gap and weaknesses left by both the Bottom-Up and Top-Down models.

This del is used to eliminate all the weaknesses shown by the previous model. In this model, all factors are taken into consideration, not just segments of the reasoning process of text recognition. For example, in the above case, the reader not only attached to the logical top- down approach by looking at the bigger picture of the text instead of text readers have flexibility with the bottom-up approach provides a better understanding of the text read by the reader. If that’s not enough, another approach would complement the text comprehension.

Therefore, the reader can better understand the text through a variety of other approaches. Skye (1988) commented, “Unlike the top-down model, this so-called interactive model does not presuppose the primacy of top-down processing skills the gradual replacing of painful word-by-word decoding with educated guessing based on minimal visual cues but rather posits a constant interaction between bottom-up and top-down processing in reading, each source of information contributing to the comprehensive reconstruction of the meaning of the text.

In this view, good readers are both good decoders and good interpreters of text (p 94). ” 2. Implications of Schema Theory in the Malaysian Classroom (6 pages) Highlighted from the above, schema model would be the best in aiding English as a Second Language (SSL) reader’s comprehension. It has the comprehensive approach in helping especially new readers in understanding the text. However, Carrel (Bibb) suggests that even with such extensive approach, several weaknesses must be address if the usage of such model is to succeed.

These include the stated below: a) Background knowledge deficiencies: Lack the subject specific knowledge or the cultural knowledge necessary to comprehend the text b) Activation: Readers not only need the appropriate culture schemata, the schemata needs to be activated so that it could be used. C) Language Skills: Readers still need to have certain basic knowledge of the language. Total ignorance is not bliss in this case. D) Readers Impression: Some readers may not feel comfortable looking at the bigger picture. E) Thinking Style: Some people prefer details rather than generalization.

In Malaysian classroom, the schema theory has great implication obviously where English is definitely a second language for most Malaysian. The Malaysian government is promoting the usage of English especially with the intention that the language may bring economic advantage in the long run apart room the notion that it is a language of knowledge. It also exposes the reader to be more confident to speak in English and dealing with people outside Malaysia. Thus, the mastery of the language needs to be emphasized in the program.

The best way for an individual to improve language skills is to read. To foster a capability by using various methods or using schema should be carried out with a strategy. The suggested strategies that are reserved in the use of the scheme are as below: Step 1: Consider all aspect of the interactive schemata model in educating the readers. Step 2: Find out possible reader weaknesses and eliminate them. AAA-Assai (2006) provides a list of questions that an instructor may question in selecting the appropriate text for their readers. 1 .

Will my students be interested in reading such materials? 2. Does it correspond to my students’ English level? 3. What content knowledge is to be extracted? 4. How to motivate my students towards involvement in these materials? 5. Do the reading materials builds background information about the text? 6. How much time and freedom should be given to the readers in understanding the text? 7. Are there hidden comprehension problems that the instructor is not aware of? 8. Do the readers know that reading is a highly interactive process? 9.

Have the readers change their attitude in reading? 10. Are the readers becoming independent and self-directed? Reading in language classroom is an interactive and mostly controlled by the teacher or instructor. The instructor need to use different techniques in conducting reading activities that are meaningful and therefore, it can be operated in three phase to manage tasks in a more timely and efficient manner. In better understanding the text, Williams (1987) suggest a three phase approach that are pre-reading, while reading and post reading.

These phases are important in reading activities. In language classroom, this phase should be put into consideration to achieve and develop student reading skills. A) Pre-reading The most critical part would be the pre-reading part which is critical for the instructor to fill in the schemata gap of the reader because it is a single reading by readers. According to Ringlet and Weber (1984), pre-reading activities would help in focusing attention (thus activating schemata), building awareness as well develop background to the text.

Readers could take note of difficulties in understanding text which later could be assisted by the instructor. Chasten (1988) suggest, at this point, the instructor not only instructs readers pre-read the text before discussion, but also explain summarily the text background and perhaps show the meaning of the difficult words. However Chic (2001) argues that doing this may promote bottom-up processing, where the readers will concentrate too much at the micro level while neglecting the macro view of the text, and little top-down processing is being done, that is looking at the bigger picture.

Yet, if the instructor adheres to the concept of interactive approach, they could coach readers towards the top down approach gradually as top down approach does need certain level of competence and experience in its methodology. The pre reading strategies, Longer (1981) using methods originally suggest by Au (1979), suggest these steps as shown in Figure 1. Figure 1: Three step assessment procedure. By using this method hopefully that readers began activating their schema while at the same time develop new schema text that unfamiliar to them.

Pre-reading activities does need the active participation of the instructor especially in areas of unfamiliar text. However there is some argument by Carrel (Bibb) that pre-reading activities may not enough as language cannot be learn alone with a single reading. Readers may need many more exposure before the reader could be competence. At this stage, Carrel and Sisterhood (1983) suggest narrow reading, that is, reading other text within the scope of the readers background, may help readers in understanding other text. In developing schema is not enough only by using guessing alone.

Certain skills must be developing with outside assistance such as vocabulary skills with the assistance of instructor or a dictionary (Haynes, 1983). In the pre-reading activities, there are three stages mentioned in Figure 1. In the previewing stage, these guidelines may help. 1 . Does the reader know anything about the subject? 2. Can they determine the general theme of the text from the first few paragraphs? 3. Can they determine the major point of the text? 4. From the conclusion of the article, does the reader able to determine the how the author organize their article?

In the questioning and mapping phase, the participants are encouraged to question every part of the text. Readers are encourage to participate brainstorming sessions which may help in developing new background schema. An argument by Wallace (1992) that several advantages present by having a brainstorming session. It requires little instructor presentation and readers are free to bring in their own background experience while associations of new schemata happen rather rapidly. B) While-reading phase In this phase, reader may go through three different phase as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Phases of while-reading processes. Grebe & Stroller (2002) mentioned that several factors lead to reading. They are: Reading to learn Reading to integrate information Reading for general comprehension. Instructors can use this phase in helping readers check their earlier predictions in identifying key vocabularies and monitor the skills and strategies used by the readers. C) Post-Reading Phase. In this phase, Grebe & Stroller (2002) suggested the instructor is to encourage readers in debates and discussion of the text.

Another exercise type of exercise the instructor can do is that asking readers to write comprehension question for other readers. Other exercises include writing summary of the text. Besides that, instructor can give the students home work. Students do homework and learn some very limited work sheet to be applied in the phase after the reading. During the phase after the reading, it is also possible to operate the route between students and teachers, or students can work with each other. Furthermore, when applying after reading activities would be better to give a lot of importance to the work of linguistic features.

This trend will also help students in the areas of grammar, sentence structure, word formation and pronunciation of words. All this is under the heading of linguistics ND it is very important to have knowledge about these topics while learning and teaching foreign languages. 3. Conclusion (1 page) The schema method has no merit in developing a mastery of the English language in Malaysian schools. However, it must be realized that there is no single magic bullet or panacea for the various problems plaguing the process of learning English in schools.

Some problems may not be cognitive in nature, but the basic infrastructure. However, the theory of schemes that do not lend a reliable method in which English can be taught in schools in Malaysia. It emphasizes a more natural way ND not with a few changes required of participants. This method, however, does not require a lot of intervention from the teacher, especially in the organic portion of text study, such as, in providing background knowledge to students about certain subjects that may be unfamiliar to foreign readers, and context specific text and format different from the readers.

Teachers can examine their own beliefs about students and why students succeed or fail in understands their reading in language class. The teachers can make changes, if necessary, in the tasks they assign, the learning environments hey create, and their verbal interactions with their students. The interactions between teacher and student are very important to encourage the student in reading during language class especially the understanding of the text. Teachers can work together to develop school communities that will encourage students to expend effort on school work and to value achievement.

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