Chapter One Introduction
1.1 Research Background
Writing is an important part of English teaching and the most important index tomeasure English language ability.In 2014,the Ministry of Education clearly putforward the concept of“core competency”,and all disciplines have begun to exploreit.Among them,the English discipline began to reform from the application ofcomprehensive language ability to English core competency.The General HighSchool English Curriculum Standard(2020)summarizes the English corecompetencies as follows:language ability,cultural awareness,thinking capacity andlearning ability.The English Curriculum Standard for Compulsory Education(2022)also began to establish core competency as the curriculum objective.Among them,language ability refers to the ability to understand and express meaning by listening,speaking,reading,viewing and writing in social situations.The improvement oflanguage ability helps students improve their cultural awareness,thinking capacityand learning ability.It is the first quality and basic quality.Its goal is to effectively usespoken and written language to express meaning and conduct interpersonalcommunication in a specific context.Writing,however,is the best feedback onlistening,speaking,reading,and viewing.It is the skill that can best test the ability touse language.
1.2 Research Objectives
The new curriculum standard points out that it is necessary to strengthen theintegrity of unit teaching,combine students’cognitive logic and life experience,guidestudents to gradually construct their cognition of the unit theme,develop their ability,and form literacy in the learning process.However,the current situation of unittheme-based writing is not satisfactory.Most English teachers have not formed asystematic writing teaching method,and their awareness of unit theme-based writingteaching is not strong.Even many teachers do not teach writing,and their guidancefor students’writing only stays at the level of modifying grammatical errors.Studentshave problems with the use of vocabulary and grammar,content enrichment and textcoherence in the relevant unit topics.The urgent task for English teachers is to update the teaching concept of writing,find effective ways and means to optimize theteaching process of unit theme-based writing,stimulate students’interest andenthusiasm in writing,teach students the basic elements and skills of writing,helpstudents overcome the difficulties they encounter in writing,and effectively improvetheir writing ability.This study integrates schema theory and process writing into thepractice of unit theme-based writing teaching,tries to reflect on the practicality of thismethod in junior high school,and also provides a reference teaching method ofEnglish writing for front-line English teachers.
Chapter Two Literature Review
2.1 Key Concepts
This section focuses on the relevant concepts involved in this study,includingthe definitions of theme,unit theme-based writing,process writing approach,andwriting proficiency.
Theme refers to the type and content of the topic,which is composed of thematiccontext,linguistic knowledge,cultural knowledge,and value orientation.They are thecentral ideas of discourse such as dialogues and texts,i.e.oral language and writtenexpressions(Mei&Wang,2018).Cheng(2018)said that“language cannot beseparated from discourse;discourse cannot be separated from content;content cannotbe separated from theme and context”.Theme is the core of the discourse(Zhang&Wang,2016).Therefore,language learning is achieved by learning thematic discoursein context.Wang(2016)pointed out that language learning should not be limited tobasic general knowledge and vocabulary,but should be applied to improve languagemastery through daily practice.Wang also stressed that creating context based on thetheme is very important in language learning.
The new curriculum standard points out that the content of the curriculumconsists of theme,discourse,language knowledge,cultural knowledge,language skills,and learning strategies,which are interrelated and form the basis for thedevelopment of core competencies.Among them,theme has the role of linking andunifying the other content elements,providing the contextual scope for languagelearning and curriculum education.It can be seen that the curriculum standardemphasizes the importance of thematic context.Theme provides topic category andmeaningful context for language learning,i.e.topic scope or topic context.Students’exploration of thematic meaning should be the most important part of their languagelearning.The depth of their understanding of thematic contexts and discourse directlyaffects their level of thinking development and the effectiveness of their languagelearning.Thematic contexts not only regulate the scope of linguistic and culturalknowledge,but also provide meaningful contexts for language learning andorganically permeate emotions,attitudes and values.
2.2 Relevant Studies of Unit Theme-based English Writing Teaching
Theme-based teaching(thematic instruction)originated in foreign countries.From the proposal and application of thematic instruction to the introduction of thisteaching model in China,theme-based instruction has gradually entered the vision ofscholars and has been applied to various disciplines in universities and even primaryand secondary schools.In recent years,with the new curriculum standard advocatingtheme-based teaching and learning,thematic English teaching has begun to beexplored and practiced at primary and secondary levels,especially unit theme-basedteaching(unit-integrated teaching)and its application in English listening,speaking,reading,and writing classes.Domestic research on theme-based instruction focuses onEnglish vocabulary,reading and integrative units.This study focuses on unittheme-based writing in middle schools.This section mainly introduces the relevantresearch of thematic instruction and unit theme-based English writing teaching athome and abroad.
Chapter Three Theoretical Basis ................................ 31
3.1 Schema Theory .................................... 31
3.1.1 Definitions of schema ................................. 31
3.1.2 Features and functions of schema ........................... 33
Chapter Four Methodology ................................ 47
4.1 Research Questions .............................. 47
4.2 Participants ..................................... 48
4.3 Instruments ..................................... 49
Chapter Five Results and Discussion ......................... 65
5.1 Results ........................... 65
5.1.1 Results of the tests .................................... 65
5.1.2 Results of the interview .................................... 80
Chapter Five Results and Discussion
The two research questions of this study are to explore whether the unittheme-based writing teaching under the guidance of schema theory can improvestudents’writing proficiency.In order to test the effectiveness and operability of thisteaching method,quantitative and qualitative data were collected for this study.Thestatistical results are as follows.
5.1.1 Results of the tests
In this study,the students in EG and CG were required to complete a pre-test anda post-test before and after the teaching experiment.Both tests were used to testparticipants’writing skills,which focused on three aspects:content richness,linguisticaccuracy,and writing fluency.The tests that students completed were then ratedaccording to scoring criteria.When the results of the three aspects and the total scoreswere available,the author used SPSS 27.0 to produce statistical results.The followingsections provide a detailed analysis of the statistical results.
126.96.36.199 Results of the pre-test
In order to ensure the homogeneity of EG and CG,before the teachingexperiment,the students of the two classes were asked to complete a pre-test paper(see AppendixⅣ),and the teacher scored the compositions from three dimensions according to the writing scoring criteria.The total score of composition is 15 points,of which content richness accounts for 6 points,linguistic accuracy accounts for 6points,and writing fluency accounts for 3 points.After the pre-test results wereobtained,the scores of the two classes were tested by Independent Samples T-test toinvestigate whether the writing proficiency of the students in the two classes wasequivalent.If there was no significant difference in writing level,the two classescould be randomly divided into an experimental group and a control group.Table 5.1and Table 5.2 provide descriptive statistics for the two groups and IndependentSamples T-test results.
Chapter Six Conclusion
6.1 Major Findings
This study aims at the teaching of unit theme-based writing in junior high school,integrates schema theory into the process writing approach and proposes“six-stepprocess writing”,which emphasizes the role of schema activation and construction inthe students’writing process.Using an experimental research method,with the pretest,post-test and interview as the measuring tools,this study discusses the effects on thestudents’writing level from three aspects of content richness,linguistic accuracy andwriting fluency,as well as the differences in the effects on students at different levels,so as to test the effectiveness of this method,which is expected to provide referencefor future writing teaching.Based on the results of data analysis,this study found thatunit theme-based writing teaching under the guidance of schema theory wasconducive to improving students’writing proficiency.The main findings are asfollowings.
First,the results of the pre-test and post-test on writing proficiency show that theapplication of the six-step process writing approach based on schema theory in unittheme-based writing teaching can effectively improve the writing level of EG students.After the teaching experiment,student’s average score in EG increased from 7.48points in the pre-test to 10.13 points in the post-test,and the average score of thepost-test in EG was higher than that of CG by 1.72 points.In addition,throughIndependent Samples T-tests and Paired Sample T-tests,it is found that after the experiment,there was a significant difference between the scores of EG and CG,while the writing level of the two classes before the experiment was equivalent,so itis concluded that the process approach under the guidance of schema theory in unittheme-based writing teaching is conducive to improving the writing proficiency ofstudents,which is reflected in three aspects,among which the students have thegreatest improvement in content richness,followed by structure,and the progress inlinguistic accuracy is not so obvious.