Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number3.  September 2022                               Pp.378-402

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An Empirical Research on Schema Theory
Based Teaching of the Continuation Task for Chinese Senior High School Students 

Qing Wang
School of Education Science
Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China

Liping Chen
School of Foreign Language and Culture
Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China
Corresponding Author:


Received:06/03/2022                      Accepted:09/01/2022                  Published:09/24/2022


The continuation task, a novel type of source-based writing task which requires students to read and accomplish an unfinished source text, has gained growing popularity in English writing tests, particularly in China. This study employed schema theory in the teaching of senior high school continuation tasks and delved into its resultant effects on learners’ overall writing ability, lexical richness, syntactic complexity, and semantic coherence. Theoretically, it serves as an extension of the Schema theory, Practically, it contributes to the improvement of the continuation task instruction and offers a realistic method to achieving better writing from the perspectives of linguistic schema, content schema, and formal schema. This research revolves around such questions: What effects do schema theory-based Continuation task instructions have on students’ overall writing competence; lexical richness; syntactic complexity and semantic coherence? During the research, two groups of EFL students (N=110) from Chinese senior high schools participated in the trial for fourteen weeks. One group was randomly selected as Control Class where the teacher adopted traditional teaching approaches. At the same time, the other was set up as the Experimental Class guided by schema theory. The participants writing performance were evaluated through the lexical richness, syntactic complexity and semantic coherence. Sample T-test and paired T-test found statistically significant differences between the Control class and the Experimental class. These findings suggest that the schema theory-based approach, such as providing a semantic map or outlining the story to participants, was proven effective in honing the students’ overall writing capability, lexical richness, syntactic complexity, and semantic coherence. Because of the chosen research approach, its efficacy is limited concerning language and discourse.
Keywords: continuation task, lexical richness, Schema theory, semantic coherence, syntactic complexity

Cite as:   Wang, Q., &  Chen, L. (2022). An Empirical Research on Schema Theory
Based Teaching of the Continuation Task for Chinese Senior High School Students. Arab World English Journal, 13 (3) 378-402.


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Received: 06/03/2022
Accepted: 09/01/2022  
Published: 09/24/2022

Qing Wang is PhD student at the Nanjing Normal University.  ORCiD ID:

Liping Chen is a professor at the Nanjing normal University, academic leader of the institute of Teacher Education and part-time principal for Nanjing Forestry University. The principal areas of research in which the authors have worked are Second language acquisition, Semantic analysis, and Techer development.