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The IUP Journal of English Studies :
Teaching Reading Skill Using Heuristic Technique Through Schema Theory
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This paper discusses the essential role of background knowledge of the text and demonstrates the concept of schema theory, one of the cognitivist learning theories, with regard to teaching of reading to the students. The schema theory is described as a mental structure of preconceived ideas. It really connects the reader to the text and therefore the reading becomes more meaningful. The schema theory influences attention and absorption of new knowledge. Reading requires worldly knowledge, and it leads to the interactive process between the text and the reader’s prior background knowledge. So, a heuristic technique is used by the readers to understand the text better. This method enables the reader to discover the meaning by themselves without much effort. Therefore, the paper attempts to inform the readers that the heuristic process in schema theory encourages and enables all the readers to feel more comfortable in perceiving the meaning of the text in the reading process so that it becomes reader-centered reading.

 
 
 

Teaching reading skill is really a complicated mental activity and a thinking process to experience, predict, verify, and acknowledge information according to the readers’ previous information, knowledge, and experience. It is said that to understand language, a reader must utilize direct and implicit information. Direct information refers to words written down, while implicit information includes knowledge of structures and words of a language in a text and knowledge of the discussed topic and certain experience. There are three phases in the development of the reading process: Bottom-Up Model, Top-Down Model, and Interactive Model.

Bottom-up model came into being in the 1960s, which emphasizes that the readers, taking reading materials as information input, start from letters and word recognition and then combine information continuously to accomplish reading activity. This model highlights that reading must be done in a fixed sequence to get a word meaning gradually and readers comprehend the reading materials mainly by language knowledge. In this model, readers’ implicit information, that is, one’s knowledge and life experience, is neglected and one’s active processing of information is not taken into consideration. Following this model, the teachers would concentrate mostly on words, sentence patterns, and grammatical knowledge related to the reading material, but pay little attention to relevant background knowledge when teaching reading.

 
 
 

Teaching reading skill, complicated mental activity