The Use of Background Knowledge in Reading Comprehension: the Case Study of Thai Learners of Japanese at Different Proficiency Levels
Keywords:background knowledge, schema theory, Thai learners of Japanese, textual structure knowledge, content knowledge
This study aims to investigate whether Thai learners of Japanese at different proficiency levels draw on their background knowledge in similar or diverging ways through the lens of schema theory. Forty six learners were divided into four groups. They were asked to read a Japanese narration text (1,210 characters) and answer questions about its text structure and contents. Upon competing their reading, they were interviewed individually. The results show that advanced learners and upper-intermediate learners used background knowledge on textual structure to greater degree than intermediate learners and pre-intermediate learners. Advanced learners also applied top-down and bottom-up strategies together with background knowledge to help them answer questions regarding the textual structure. Moreover, advanced learners used top-down strategies to answer questions regarding the reading content more than learners in other proficiency levels.
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