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ERIC Number: EJ979917
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 40
ISSN: ISSN-1345-8353
On the Cultural Schema and Iranian EFL Learners' Reading Performance: A Case of Local and Global Items
Dehghan, Farzaneh; Sadighi, Firooz
Journal of Pan-Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics, v15 n2 p97-108 2011
Reading skill has taken on an important role in most EFL teaching situations. While linguistic knowledge is only one aspect of this skill, background knowledge including culture can also play an important role (Alptekin, 2006; Johnson, 1981; Pritchard, 1990; Steffensen, Chitra, & Anderson, 1979). This study investigated the effect of cultural background or cultural schema on the performance of Iranian EFL students on local (bottom-up) and global (top-down) processes. Sixty-six female pre-university students took part in the study. They read five texts with familiar cultural themes and five texts with culturally unfamiliar topics (total=10). The multiple-choice items were designed in a way to test both bottom-up processing (word recognition, literal comprehension and finding referents of pronouns) and top-down processing (making inferences, skimming, scanning, etc). The findings showed that our students performed significantly better on local items compared with global items both for (un)familiar texts. It was also observed that their overall performance was mostly influenced by text familiarity. Their higher scores on local items can be explained by the fact that these items are totally easier to process due to the linguistic context available. In contrast, the difficulty of the global items can be explained because our EFL learners need extra linguistic knowledge to process such items. Also, this difference could be attributed to the teaching situation in which language teachers do not teach students how to read at all and learners are not familiar with higher-level, global processes being important in reading comprehension. (Contains 2 tables.)
Pan-Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics. Department of English, Namseoul University, 21 Maeju-ri, Seonghwan-eup, Cheonan-city, Choongnam, Korea 330-707. Tel: +82-2-3290-1995; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Iran