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Schema Theory And Learning Esl Essay

2155 words - 9 pages


Schema Theory and Learning ESL/EFL

Considerable attention has been devoted in recent theories of second language acquisition to learners' background knowledge. One of the important theories of learning is called schema theory, which has used in many studies as it has a great unique impact. This is because of its influence on perception and learners' memory. The significance of schematic knowledge is now widely acknowledged in foreign language teaching and many researches in the schema-oriented area of ESL/EFL teaching have been carried out. This theory has various definitions and the three types of schemata are content, formal, and cultural which are closely related to learners ' ...view middle of the document...

Here is an example of how this theory works, for example everybody has their own personal schema and when they get a perception they attempt to fit into their schema. The perceptual framework and the context provide meaning to what people perceive. Therefore, schema theory is significant in many areas for instance communication and learning. For example if there is different in schemas of people it will be easy to misunderstand each other. When a person says "I like riding", referring to horse, another may think he is saying he likes bicycle! (Landry, 2002).

From above examples, it is likely to say that are various efficacious ways of defining schema. Schema thoery is a theory of how knowledge is obtained and processed. It deals with preexisting or prior knowledge that is stored in our mind. (Nassaji, 2002 documented in Al-Issa, 2006). Schema is a technical word used by cognitive proponents to describe how a person processes, arranges and stores information in his brain. Schemata concerns of how we organize information to long term memory (Widdowson, 1983). It mirrors the experiences, conceptual understanding, attitudes, values, skills, and strategies … [we] bring to a text situation” (Vacca & Vacca, 1999, cited in Al-Issa ,2006). This theory is grounded on the belief that every act of understanding includes of one's Knowledge of the world (AL-Issa, 2006). From the exceeding definitions, we might bring to a close that schema is the pre-existing knowledge gained through experiences stored in one’s mind. It is an abstract structure of knowledge. Plainly, schema theory claims that all knowledge is organized into units. Within these units of knowledge, or schemata, is stored information. Each separate schema is an advice for representing knowledge of a concept, long with specifications for relating it to a proper network of connections that seem to hold all parts of that particulate concept.

In general, there are three main types of schemas, explicitly, formal schemata, linguistic schemata and content schemata. The formers, which are also called textual, relate the organizational forms and rhetorical structures of written texts (Jun, Xioa-hui and Wei-hua, 2007). They contain knowledge of various text types and genres and as well, they consist off knowledge of different types of texts use text organization, language formation, vocabulary, sentence structure and level of formality differently (Jun et al. 2007). Formal schemata are defined as knowledge of language and linguistic conventions, containing knowledge of how texts are structured and what the key characteristics of a particular genre of writing are (Alderson, 2000; Carrell, 1987; Carrell & Eisterhold, 1983).A person can use formal schematic representations of a text to understand information in a new text. A study of formal schema proposes that “texts with familiar rhetorical organization should be easier to read and comprehend than texts with...

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