101 helpful hints for IELTS by G. Adams, T. Peck, H. Piotrowski

By G. Adams, T. Peck, H. Piotrowski

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Although schema theory is often attributed to the New Paradigm, the first mention of schema is by Sir Francis Head (1920). By schema, Head refers to the background knowledge and sets of concepts that learners already possess. New information is understood via the concepts already acquired – or not understood due to lack of sufficient schema. For foreign language students, content schemata, cultural schemata, and linguistic schemata are all essential for accurate communication. Research suggests that in many, if not most, cases, especially at lower levels of proficiency, lack of linguistic schemata is generally less an impediment than lack of content schemata in comprehension in both L1 and L2 (R.

At higher levels, understanding general meaning is more often than not a given, and the task focuses on form, genre, text organization, authorial intent, and interpretation of nuance, as well as overall meaning. In working with authentic materials and texts, Superior-level students have to understand genre. Government protocols, for example, are prepared differently from business contracts. Additionally, Distinguished-level students have to understand cross-cultural differences in discourse. Therefore, selection of texts becomes broader at the Superior level, and students, for the most part, can use authentic texts for gaining new content knowledge, often without the need for pre-reading or pre-listening activities.

However, the cognitive resources required for intelligible communication may prevent the learner from being able to say exactly what he or she means. The significance of CF for students The basic-course student focuses on how to say what he or she wants to communicate. 6 Communication in such instances is viewed as a process of 6 In fact, some well-intentioned teachers of beginning students, anxious to develop their fluency, may tell them not to worry about accuracy of content, just to say what it is that they know how to say, bending the truth to do so.

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