Teaching General English in Academic Context: Schema-Based or Translation-Based Approach?

Ebrahim Khodadady, Seyyed Mohammad Alavi, Reza Pishghadam, Mohammad Saber Khaghaninezhad


This study is one of the first attempts to investigate the effect of schema-based general English teaching and testing on English language learning in an Iranian academic context. A total of 90 undergraduate theology students studying general English at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad (FUM) were assigned to an experimental and a control group. For the same course book two instructional approaches were adopted during an academic semester; schema-based instruction (SBI) for experimental and translation-based instruction (TBI) for control groups. At the semester’s commencement a schema-based cloze multiple choice item test (MCIT) was developed on the textbook and administered as a pre-test to ensure that the experimental group did not differ significantly from the control group. The same test was administered again at the semester’s termination along with an unseen reading comprehension test (URCT) to find out which approach was more effective.  Final results showed that the performance of the experimental group was superior to the control group on both MCIT and URCT.  The implications of the findings are discussed in the light of teaching English as a foreign language within an academic context. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v4i1.1213

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