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SCHEMA THEORY

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LEARNING OUTCOME Upon completion of this chapter, you should be able to: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. discuss the relationship of prior knowledge and reading comprehension; define what is a schema and the different types of schemata; cite different studies which provide evidence on how different types of schemata affects reading comprehension; explain the different components and traits of schema theory; and discuss how meaning is constructed from the point of view of the schema theory model.

ERC411 READING IN SECOND LANGUAGE CONTEXTS

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INTRODUCTION
In the previous chapters, you have been introduced to the characteristics of reading and the different purposes of reading. You have also read about how readers read in the first language. The discussion encompasses both the physical and cognitive processes in reading. An overview of two contrasting models namely; bottom-up and top-down models of reading were discussed which is then followed by the interactive model of reading which seeks to integrate the two earlier models. In this chapter, the interactive approaches to second language reading will be overviewed. This chapter presents the schema theory which deals with the role of prior knowledge in reading comprehension especially for second language learners.

4.0

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE AND READING COMPREHENSION

In Chapter 1, you would realize that prior knowledge plays a significant role in reading comprehension.

In fact, as affirmed by Carrell and Eisterhold (1988:73): Immanuel Kant claimed as long ago as 1781, new information, new concepts, new ideas can have meaning only when they can be related to something the individual already knows (Kant 1781,1963), this applies as much to second language comprehension as it does to comprehension in ones native

Can you recall what are the different types of prior knowledge that is utilized during the act of reading?

Readers require different kinds of prior knowledge. They must have knowledge of the printed code; for example, is it logographic or orthographic, the writing code; for instance, is it Roman alphabets and the language; is it English, Spanish or French before the identification of the print can be made.

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They also need to be familiar with the rhetorical structure of the text as discussed by Eskey (1986), who asserted that the cognitive structure or the brain comprises two kinds of knowledge which is relevant, such as: (a) knowledge of form (b) knowledge of substance Knowledge of form refers to the readers knowledge of language such as graphophonic, lexis, syntax, semantics, and knowledge of the rhetorical structure. On the other hand, knowledge of substance refers to the content or the conceptual structure of the text. This encompasses knowledge of the target culture, subject matter or content domain knowledge. They comprise cultural, pragmatic and subject specific knowledge. Lack of such knowledge may be detrimental to comprehension because this knowledge helps readers in forming and revising predictions as interpretation of the text is constructed.

What can you conclude about the relationship between prior knowledge and reading comprehension?

4.1

CONTENT KNOWLEDGE COMPREHENSION

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READING

Therefore, there need to be a model, which combines these contrasting views so that a more comprehensive understanding on the reading processes can be achieved. Such a model will need to recognize the contributions of both the text and the reader. It needs to recognize the role of identification and interpretation and perceive reading as an active, interactive process. This is fulfilled by the third model of reading, namely, the interactive model of reading. The nature of the different kinds interactions involved in reading has been defined differently by different researchers.

Give specific examples of the different kinds of content knowledge that may and may not be familiar to your target students?

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4.1.1

STUDY BY JOHNSON (1981)

Previous studies on background knowledge provide compelling evidence that it plays a role in reading. Johnson (1981) studied the effects of building background knowledge on reading comprehension among 72 advanced level ESL students at Southern Illinois University. The ESL students were required to read a passage comprising familiar and unfamiliar information about the celebration of Halloween. It was found that students were not only able to recall more explicit and implicit information on the familiar aspects of the passage but they also elaborated their writing by integrating their own knowledge into the subject.

Could you think of an example of a Malaysian culture which may not be familiar to your students?

4.1.2

STUDY BY NUNAN (1985)

Nunan (1985), studied the effect of content familiarity on the perception of certain textual relationships by second language learners. The study involved two groups of ESL high school learners, those arriving before the school commenced and those arriving after the school commenced, at Adelaide. The students were given two types of material to read. One was more familiar to the students (it concerned their everyday life) but linguistically difficult. The other material was on subject matter which was unfamiliar to them (it was about the pioneering family of an Australian bushman) but linguistically easier.

Which text do you think is more difficult to read? The text which is linguistically easier but conceptually difficult? OR the text which is conceptually easier but linguistically difficult? Justify your answer?

As a teacher, how do you determine if a text is more or Results of the comprehension tests indicated that cultural knowledge played a less significant role in challenging. Did you emphasise the language or the reading comprehension where students who had more exposure to aspect the target culture performed significantly better than those who arrived later. The text which was linguistically easier but with conceptual aspect? Why?

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unfamiliar content seemed to be significantly more difficult to comprehend than the text which was linguistically more difficult but with more familiar content.

4.1.3

STUDY BY PRITCHARD (1990)

Pritchard (1990) conducted a study using 30 US and 30 Palauan 11th graders reading familiar and unfamiliar passages regarding funeral ceremonies in their own languages. The data was collected through the use of think aloud method and written recall. It was found that the American and Palauan readers were both similar to and different from each other. Both groups of readers utilized significantly more within sentence clues when reading the unfamiliar passage compared to the familiar passage. In contrast, they tended to read more globally by utilizing significantly more between sentence connections when reading the familiar passage. The two groups were different from each other because in comparison, the Americans tended to be more global than the Palauans when trying to make sense of what seemed to be incomprehensible.

4.1.4

STUDY BY STEFFENSEN, JOAG-DEV AND ANDERSON (1979)

Steffensen, Joag-Dev and Anderson (1979), conducted a study to investigate if background knowledge on the content of the text affect comprehension and the ability to recall the text. This study would highlight if there were individual differences in reading comprehension, and on cross-cultural perspectives of reading comprehension. The subjects comprise 19 L2 adults who were Indian and 20 L1 adults who were American. The materials employed were culturally related to either one of the subjects. One was a letter which describes a typical Indian wedding and the other was a letter which describes a typical American wedding. The language used in the instruments was English. The subjects were asked to read both the letters and recall what they have read. It was found that there is a significant difference in the accuracy and amount of ideas recalled between learners. The American learners were able to recall more ideas and more accurate ideas from the text on a typical American wedding in contrast to the Indian wedding. Even though the American readers found that the vocabulary used in the texts were fairly easy, the foreign cultural protocol of an Indian wedding employed in the passage made it more difficult to understand and recall. On the other hand, the Indian learners were able to recall more ideas and more accurate ideas from the passage on a typical Indian wedding compared to the American wedding. This study provides evidence that knowledge of the target culture plays a significant role in readers comprehension and assessed by the recall protocols.

4.1.5

STUDY BY DROOP AND VERHOEVEN (1998)

In a more recent study, Droop and Verhoeven (1998), claims if the cultural knowledge that were portrayed in the school text books influenced reading comprehension of both L1 and L2 learners in Netherlands. The subjects of the study comprised 35 Dutch, 17 Turkish and 18 Moroccan school children. The instrument employed were six expository texts that were taken from the Dutch curriculum.
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The length of the texts was about 280 words and they differed in cultural reference if the topic and in linguistic complexity. Two texts refer to the culture of the majority, which is the Dutch culture, two refers to the minority, and the Near Eastern culture and another two texts were considered neutral texts. The neutral texts are assumed to be equally familiar to all the students the majority and the minority. Each text was accompanied by five questions which assessed the subjects prior knowledge of the content and 12 Wh-questions to assess their reading comprehension. The prior knowledge questions were asked orally before the subjects read the text for the first time. After answering the prior knowledge questions, the subjects were asked to read the text aloud and miscue analysis were carried out on the readings. Then, the subjects read the text aloud again and orally recalled the text. The subjects were also required to answer the reading comprehension questions. It was found that cultural knowledge does affect reading comprehension and recall of the text propositions. The L1 subjects were able to comprehend and to recall the text on the Dutch culture better compared to the other texts employed. The speed of reading the culturally familiar text was also better. Likewise, the minority children were able to answer the reading comprehension questions and recall the passage of the Near Eastern culture better than the Dutch or the neutral texts.

The more the text is culturally familiar to the reader, the easier it is to understand and vice versa.

They were also able to read the culturally familiar texts faster compared to the others. Like the other studies reviewed, the findings of this study suggest that prior knowledge affect reading comprehension.

What can you conclude about the relationship between prior knowledge and reading comprehension?

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4.2

WHAT IS SCHEMA?

Realizing the importance of background knowledge in reading, schema theory has made significant influence on the teaching of reading in ESL in recent years. Schema theory was first proposed by Bartlett (1932) who noticed that people tend to fill in their own details when asked to recall stories from their memories. The source of the details given were not from the original reading texts, but rather, from the subjects own cultural norms. Bartlett was a cognitive scientist and over the years, the field of cognitive science and language learning meets. This result was the creation of schema theory in language learning. So, what is schema? According to Anderson and Pearson (1988:39), it is an active organisation of past reactions, or past experience. Readers schemata comprise their prior knowledge or knowledge of the world that is stored in the long-term memory. As Rumelhart (1980:33-34) explains:

Schemata truly are the building blocks of cognition. They are the fundamental elements upon which all information processing depends. Schemata are employed in the process of interpreting sensory data (both linguistic and non-linguistic), in retrieving information from memory, in organising actions, in determining goals and sub-goals, in allocating resources, and, generally, in guiding the flow of processing in the system.

Different readers have different past experiences and therefore different schemata. That is why the same text may be comprehended differently by different people depending on factors such as readers age, beliefs, sex, race and culture.

Can you think of any difference between your schemata as a teacher, in contrast to your students? Explain.

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4.3

CONTENT SCHEMATA AND FORMAL SCHEMATA

Carrell (1983) proposes two categories of schemata, they are: a) content schemata b) formal schemata Content schemata are concerned with the readers background knowledge or knowledge about the content of the text. The five previous studies that were cited, Johnson (1982), Nunan (1985), Pritchard (1990), Steffensen, Joag-Dev and Anderson (1979), and Droop and Verhoeven (1998) provide evidence which supports the contribution of prior knowledge to reading comprehension. Readers who have more prior knowledge about a reading passage are able to comprehend the passage better compared to those who do not have much prior knowledge. Such prior knowledge is not just prior knowledge of the culture but also prior knowledge of the topic, or subject matter. The latter is often referred to as content-domain knowledge. Formal schemata refer to knowledge about the language, the different types of texts, story grammar, etc. Formal schemata also represent knowledge of the discourse structures that readers develop through exposure to different discourse organizations, language conventions and literary devices. Formal schemata are prototypical in nature. They may exist as macro levels of discourse organization such as story grammars or as micro levels of discourse such as sentence structure (Afflerbach, 1985). Like content schemata, formal schemata also depend on the readers prior knowledge. For instance, a scientist will be very familiar with the format of a research report while a childs most established textual schema might be of a folk tale. See Figure 4.1.

Figure 4.1: Two categories of schemata

In your opinion, are the formal schemata of your students similar in many ways?
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Previous studies in both L1 and L2 provide evidence on the existence of formal schemata among readers. For example, Carrell (1984b) found that readers rely strongly on their schema for stories when recalling passages. Readers were able to recall the stories they read according to the story schematic order regardless of the lack of organization of the input or time lapse in their recall. It was also found that strategy usage is different for different rhetorical structures (Kleitzen 1992). Some of the studies will be reviewed in the next section.

a) What is schema? Does it play a role in reading? Discuss.


b) What are the different types of schemata? Discuss.

4.4

FORMAL SCHEMATA AND READING COMPREHENSION

To find out the relationship between formal schemata and reading comprehension, read the following four studies on L2 readers.

What is the relationship between formal schemata and reading comprehension?

4.4.1

STUDY BY RICHGELS ET AL (1987)

In the L1, Richgels et al (1987) investigated students awareness of four structures of expository passages, they were, collection, comparison, causation and problem/solution. The subjects were 6th grade students and the materials used were six reading passages for each type of structure. Data was collected through the use of different instruments. The first were matching tasks where students were required to identify and match passages with the same structure type. Then, there was an oral interview where the students were asked why they answered the matching task the way they did. Next, the students were required to read a passage for each type of structure and write everything they could remember about the passage. The passages assigned were presented both in a correct order and a scrambled order. They were then also asked to write essays based on outlines that were prepared using the appropriate rhetorical structures. Finally, they completed a prior knowledge test.

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Results seemed to indicate that for the matching tasks, students performed best on the comparison passage. This was followed by the problem/solution, collection and finally, causation passage. The interview data seemed to indicate that the subjects also performed best on the comparison structure but worst on the causation and collection structures. The written protocols were analyzed for the organization of the protocols according to the respective rhetorical structures. Results seemed to indicate that students performed better in the comparison passage than the other passage types. The causation passage, however, had the lowest level of performance. This seemed to provide evidence that usage of the comparison structure was strongest and the causation structure was poorest compared to the other structures. When the use of the different rhetorical structures for the essays was analyzed, significant differences were found in the students performance across the four essays. Results seemed to indicate that students were able to employ the comparison structure in their essays more successfully than the rest of the structures. This was followed by the collection and problem/ solution passages. Students performance was poorest on the causation passages providing more evidence that the students were least able to employ this structure. Results of the prior knowledge test seemed to indicate that prior knowledge of a certain rhetorical structure seemed to be positively related to understanding and recalling information from the text. It seemed that the 6th grade readers were most aware of the comparison structure in contrast to the other three rhetorical structures. Results from the five different types of data matching tasks, oral interview and organization of written recall, essays and prior knowledge tests seemed to consistently indicate that: Such awareness also seemed to be related to their ability to both recognize and use the structures in their writing.

Students were most aware of the comparison structure and least aware of the causation structure.

4.4.2

STUDY BY SPOOREN, MULDER AND HOEKEN (1998)

Spooren, Mulder and Hoeken (1998) studied the effect of interest and text structure on professional reading in three experiments involving university students from the Netherlands. The experiments employed on-line and off-line measures of the reading of 24 argumentative (problem solving) and descriptive texts. The texts were manipulated into four types of presentations, they were: a) b) c) d) interesting and argumentative interesting and descriptive non-interesting and argumentative non-interesting and descriptive

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The experiments were carried out at three levels. At each level, the readers were required to choose a sentence which was appropriate for continuing the passage read, and the students reading time was measured. The first and second experiments were similar except for the increasing linguistic difficulty of the reading texts. In the final experiment, four new texts were introduced and readers were given the option of choosing the text they were interested in. Results of the Anova Test indicate significant effects on text structure for both sentence recognition tasks and reading time. It was found that students recognized the appropriate target sentence significantly more for argumentative texts compared to descriptive texts. They also read the argumentative texts significantly faster than the descriptive texts. The effect of interest was evident only in the final experiment. Subjects seemed to read texts they considered interesting significantly slower than other less interesting texts that were used in the first and second experiments. The effect of interest on reading time was not significant in the first two experiments. Interest also did not significantly affect students performance in the sentence recognition tasks for all the three experiments. No significant correlation was found between sentence recognition tasks and judgments of interest.

Post hoc analysis of the results indicates that the interaction of text structure and interest was found for the descriptive text. There was a significant, positive correlation between the level of interest and sentence identified correctly for descriptive texts that were considered interesting. Overall, the findings of this study suggest that text structure plays a more important role than interest in reading. The effect of interest was evident only when students were dealing with texts that they found less facilitative to comprehension i.e. the descriptive texts. The argumentative structures consistently indicate that it is more facilitative to comprehension than the descriptive structure.

4.4.3

STUDY BY KLEITZEN (1992)

Kleitzen (1992), conducted a study to compare the reading strategies of 24 school children of 10th and 11th grade. The texts employed were three expository passages identified as causation, comparison, and collection taken from textbooks on world cultures. The passages were rewritten so that they were read at a level of difficulty relative to the students reading ability. For the good readers, the passages were at the 10th11th grade levels and for the poor readers they were at the 9th grade level as measured by Fry readability graph. The data was collected using the cloze test and an oral interview. Kleitzen (1992), compared good and poor readers performance on three types of expository passage collection, causation and comparison. It was found that there was a difference in the use of the following strategies:
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recognizing the structure of the text, using previous knowledge, making inferences and looking for key words for the different types of structure. The good and poor readers seemed to employ a significantly higher number of recognizing the structure of the text strategies on the causation passage compared to the others. They also seemed to use more strategy types on this passage. Kleitzen provided two explanations why the causation passage seemed to elicit different strategy usage compared to the other two passages. One was that the causation passage may have provided extra information about the relationship of the ideas presented in contrast to the collection passage which was like a summary of information. Therefore, students may have used more strategies to process the contrasting views rather than follow a list like description. The second explanation may be due to the difference in topic. The causation passage was on an unfamiliar topic (population explosion in Latin America) while the comparison passage was on American values. Topic unfamiliarity may have induced readers to rely on the structure of the passage as compared to when the topic was familiar. The less proficient students seemed to face most difficulties when reading the collection passage. Their cloze scores for this passage were the lowest compared to the other passages. Moreover, their strategies were significantly more focused on the use of vocabulary compared to the strategies used when reading other passages. According to Kleitzen (1992:208), when passages are demanding subjects tended to focus on narrower units of text and to base their reasoning on particular vocabulary. Analysis of the comparison text seemed to indicate that both groups of readers relied on their prior knowledge during reading. Since the texts were very familiar, readers relied heavily on their prior knowledge rather than on the text structure. This indication complements the findings on the causation texts where strategy use was influenced by topic familiarity. Readers tended to rely on the structure of the passage when the text was unfamiliar and used other strategies such as prior knowledge when the text was familiar. These findings also support the need for topic familiarity to be controlled so that comparisons across different structures can be made. This finding seems to support Spooren et. al (1998), who found that students read slower and performed poorer in descriptive texts compared to argumentative texts.

4.4.4

STUDY BY GOH (1990)

Goh (1990) carried out a study using the methodology of Carrells (1984a) study on ESL readers in Singapore. (Carrells (1984) study will be cited in the next chapter). Gohs study, however, involved 240 subjects from three language groups, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. They also came from different levels of education, that is, secondary school students, A level college students and postgraduate students.

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Goh reconfirmed three of Carrells (1984a) findings: i. ii. iii. It was significantly more idea units were recalled immediately compared to the delayed task for the three levels of students. The written protocols which were organized using the structure of the original texts seemed to recall more idea units. The students also seemed to perform better at the probe recall task, meaning that there was a positive relationship between recognizing and using the rhetorical structure, and reading comprehension.

A significant difference was found in the ability to recognize and utilize the rhetorical structure of the original text in the written recall by the school students compared to the college and the post graduate students. Very few school students were able to use the structures of the original texts in their writing compared to the older and more educated group. This seemed to provide evidence that writing using different rhetorical structures is learned at more advanced stages. That is why very few school students compared to the more educated and older students were able to use this ability in their written recall. When the rhetorical structures were analyzed, it was found that all the students recalled the comparison structure better than the other structures. There was no significant difference in the recall of the other three passages. Language background, however, was not significant in the performance of the students for all the structures. Goh (1990) explained that language background for his subjects was referred to the ethnic groups rather than actual language used. Some of the Singaporeans, for example, may not even have been competent in their ethnic language and learnt English as their L1 instead. Despite their different ethnic origins, they were raised in the same country and therefore shared similar cultural values and language which was predominantly English. It is not surprising that language background was not a significant variable in the findings. However, when comparisons were made with Carrells (1984a) study, Gohs (1990) study seems to substantiate Carrells (1984a) findings that language background affects rhetorical structure comprehension. Unlike Carrell (1984a) who found the collection of description text to be least facilitative for comprehension, this study reported that there was no significant difference between the collective structure and problem/solution or causation structures for the Singaporeans. From the review of many studies, it is found that, certain discourse structures are more facilitative to reading comprehension processes than others. This finding is consistent for both L1 and L2 learners. However, for L2, language background also seems to be an influencing factor as readers with different types of native languages find different types of discourse structures to be more facilitative to comprehension than others.

Cite at least one study which provides evidence that the different types of schemata play a significant role in comprehension.

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4.5

SCHEMA THEORY

According to the schema theory, a text provides direction of meaning. It is readers who employ their prior knowledge to construct meaning from the text. This suggests that comprehension is the result of reader-text comprehension. Readers schemata, as mentioned above, comprise prior knowledge of the world that is stored in the long term memory. Carrell and Eisterhold (1983:76) assert that schemata are hierarchically organised, from the most general at the top to the most specific at the bottom . The top-level schemata allow for general predictions about the text to be made and are conceptually driven. The bottom level schemata process the features of the input and are therefore data-driven. In other words, the bottom level schemata involve identification or decoding skills and as it moves up, the skills become more general. This is where higher level, more interpretative processes take place. The process of activating a specific schema is a bi-directional process involving both conceptually driven and data driven processes. As explained by Rumelhart (1980:41-42). A schema may activate a subschema in the way a procedure involves its subprocedures. This is called conceptual-driven processing. In a sense, conceptually-driven processing is expectationdriven processing. That is, when a schema is activated and it, in turn, activates its subschemata, the activation of these subschemata derives from a sort of expectation that they will be able to account for some portion of the input data. A schema is said to be activated from the bottom-up whenever a subschema that has been somehow activated causes the various schemata of which it is a part to be activated. Thus, where conceptually driven activation goes from whole to part, data driven activation goes from part to whole. In schema-directed processing, activation goes in both directions. Formal schemata serve as a form of outline which facilitates readers to organize and comprehend the text in several ways. The schemata of a certain discourse structure may direct attention to certain aspects of the incoming material. This helps readers to organize information into different levels of importance such as main ideas and details. Textual schemata aid readers to comprehend the texts at less macro levels of discourse. They help in constructing hypotheses on what is coming next. For instance, the setting provides a lot of information for predicting later events. They also help in making inferences and making connections between new sentences and sentences already read. Textual schemata also provide information on when a certain macro proposition is complete or when it needs to be further processed with more texts to be encoded (Mandler and Johnson 1977, Mandler 1978 and Afflerbach 1985). According to Anderson, Pichert and Shirey (1983:272): The readers schema guides allocation of attention to the significant aspects of text, furnishes the ideational scaffolding for assimilating information, and/or enables inferential reconstruction where there are gaps in memory. The process of comprehension involves continuous cycles of hypothesis testing to find the schema which is appropriate to comprehending the printed stimuli. The activation of a specific schema involves the evaluation of goodness of fit (Rumelhart 1980) to find the best fit interpretation (Anderson and Pearson 1984). This is accomplished by processing the text to fit the features which are either individually or jointly prerequisite components of a specific schema. The evaluation of goodness of fit is treated by Rumelhart (1980) as a control structure problem, where only the most promising schemata are activated. Some parts of a schem a are
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more salient than others, meaning that they have a higher probability of activating or deactivating the specific schema. Other parts of the schema may need more input for it to be activated. To derive to the desired meaning, the proper schema needs to be activated and this can be achieved if the text provides adequate clues. To illustrate the effects of activating different schemata, two examples will be discussed. The first is given by Carrell and Eisterhold (1983). Read the following sentence:

The policeman held up his hand and stopped the car.


A possible schema which is invoked by this sentence is that it probably concerns a traffic policeman who held up his hand as a signal for the driver to stop his or her car. Upon seeing the police, the driver would most probably apply his brakes and stopped the car. We know this from our knowledge about traffic police and driving regulations. How would the sentence be interpreted if it is changed into the following?

Superman held up his hand and stopped the car.


From our knowledge about superman movies, most probably the car is now forced to stop by superman. Instead of holding up his hand as a signal to stop, superman now has to hold the car and physically force it to stop. We are not told if the car has a driver. With or without a driver, the car stopped not due to the mechanical application of breaks but rather the physical force of supermans hands. This is summarized as below: Traffic Policeman Schema Did the policemans hand touch the car? Were the cars brakes applied? No Yes Superman Schema Yes No

Next, is an example given by Anderson and Pearson (1988). Compare the following two sentences: 1. Princess Anne broke the bottle on the ship. 2. The waitress broke the bottle on the ship. In the first sentence, most probably a ship naming schema is invoked. This is due to the presence of Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne, who is a celebrity, and the breaking of a bottle. A possible diagrammatic representation of the activated schema is in Figure 4.2.

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Figure 4.2: Scheme On Ship Naming In the second sentence however, the absence of a celebrity has induced another schema (refer to Figure 4.3). The existence of a waitress who broke a bottle has invoked another schema, that is, he may be eating in a ship's dining room. Perhaps, there was a storm at that time, and the sea was rough. Therefore, the ship rocked and the waitress broke the bottle accidentally. Such a schema may be derived from movies such as "Titanic", television or reading and a possible diagrammatic representation is as below.

Figure 4.3: Schema on eating in a ship's dining room


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For comprehension to take place, readers need not only have the relevant schemata, but also the ability to tap into the appropriate schema. As mentioned before, this process can be aided if the reading texts provide adequate clues for readers to be able to activate the intended schema. The reader, on the other hand, may need to utilize any one of four types of possible inferences. Firstly, the reader needs to decide on the appropriate schema to be activated based on clues that are derived from the text. Secondly, the reader should decide on the slots that need to be instantiated. For example in the sentence "Princess Anne broke the bottle on the ship", the reader may infer that Princess Anne is the celebrity who named the ship, although it is not explicitly stated in the text. Thirdly, assigning default value of the text in the absence of further information. The default value is in the form of the best possible interpretation of the event, for example, inferring that the bottle that was broken was a bottle of champagne. Finally, drawing a conclusion based on insufficient schema. For example, if Princess Anne drinks the champagne from the bottle instead of breaking it, it is probably not a ship-naming ceremony.

Figure 4.4: Four types of inferences chosen and utilised when reading In essence comprehension is an active process which involves "the activation, focusing, maintaining, and refining of ideas toward developing interpretations (models) that are plausible, interconnected, and complete" (Tierney and Pearson 1994:501). Once there is a compatible match between all the objects or events mentioned in the texts and the schema, a mental home (Anderson and Pearson 1984) of the printed stimuli is found and comprehension is achieved.

Does the schema theory recognise reading as a data driven and conceptual driven process? Discuss.

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SUMMARY
Reading is closely related to the process of making sense of the world around us. The perspective introduced in this chapter is based on the foundation that we make sense of the things we see, inclusive or the things we read, based on what we already know of the world and the things in it, including the text we are reading. This foundational assumption can be interpreted in many different ways as shown by the different studies in this chapter. The different studies also show how the idea has developed in the past two decades. Works based on this foundation still progresses today.

Briefly describe the schema theory. a) How do formal schemata aid reading comprehension? b) What happens when you do not have knowledge of formal schemata?

GLOSSARY
Graphophonic Lexis Prior Rhetorical Semantics Syntax Writing/recording of sound. Words. Before. Have before. The science/art of arguing. The study of meaning. Rules of arrangement of words. Old-grammar.

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