IMPROVING schemata. While linguistic schemata include the knowledge


Three main points I have been criticized for in my
microteaching session by my lecturer and peers were that (1) I needed to
activate the students’ content schemata before the listening activity, (2) I
needed to give students enough time and more importantly practice opportunities
to internalize the new vocabulary items and language functions/structures and
in relation to that; (3) I needed to help students personalize the new items to
create permanence for their learning. In the following you will find my
literature review for the issues I have faced during my microteaching.


Ke (2009) states that schema theory consists of two
components which are linguistic schemata and content schemata. While linguistic
schemata include the knowledge of grammatical, syntactic and semantic systems,
content schemata refers to the background information and prior knowledge and

Anderson (1977) outlines the three functions of the
content schemata as follows: (1) Since no message in genuine communication is
ever overly explicit schemata provides a coherent interpretation through
inference thus providing a basis for filling in the blanks in a text. (2) It
contains the reader’s or listener’s interpretation of an unclear or ambiguous
message. (3) Content schemata allow listeners or readers to monitor their
comprehension of the text by creating a link between their existing knowledge
and the message they are receiving.

Nuttal (1996) describes the function of the schemata
as the type of assumptions we make about what we come across in the world based
on our experiences and the way our brains organized the information we obtained
through those experiences. And Nunan (1997) maintains that according to the
schema theory our past knowledge affects how we view, process and understand
the new knowledge by providing us with a framework to place this knowledge.

Ke (2009) explains that psycholinguistic research in
the area of comprehension of a reading or listening text, among other things,
has revealed that the presence or absence of the content schemata or background
knowledge can have a huge impact on how readers or listeners interpret the

According to Vasiljevic (2010) in order for listening
activities to be effective one must make use of both systemic and the schematic
knowledge of the learners. To achieve this and to understand the text, learners
should possess an adequate knowledge of the language system that is being used
and also they should have a general knowledge of the world. He recommends
topical warm-up activities to help learners activate their background knowledge
since the knowledge of the content would initially assist students to take in
the message of the text and its meaning correctly. Also because students generally
have a limited knowledge of the language system activating the content schemata
has utmost importance for them to understand the text. This is where topical
warm-up comes into play especially in the cases where students have no cultural
background information regarding the topic being presented or find the topic difficult
to understand for any other reason.

Vasiljevic (2010) also addresses the importance of
vocabulary preparation in order to help learners comprehend the text. He
explains that limited vocabulary size and problems regarding perceiving and
understanding the acoustic form of the language cause learners to face
difficulties in processing the audio input. Since the inefficacy to understand
the listening text would mean that they will also be unsuccessful in
anticipating and predicting what will come next, effective vocabulary preparation
has a significant importance in activating the learners’ content schemata. The
more knowledge the learner has of a word the more he will be able to recognize
the semantic links in the text and activate the relevant background information
to comprehend the text. Recognizing a word would activate not only the prior
world knowledge but also knowledge of any word or concept related to that word.

For a lesson to be learner-centered their needs and
preferences regarding the learning process must be on the forefront for the
teacher (Nunan, 1997). When learners feel that what they are learning does not
meet their need and preexisting perceptions of their own learning process they
are likely to become uninterested in the lesson and may even cause conflict
between the students and the teacher (Wajnryb, 1988). 


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