• Background and Prior Knowledge

Frequent Use Strategy

  • Using the Background and Prior Knowledge strategy, teachers build upon and deepen students’ knowledge through experience, experimentation, and intentional connections. Students’ previous understanding and experiences (Prior Knowledge) play an important role in the acquisition of new knowledge. In addition certain prerequisite knowledge (Background Knowledge) is often needed for students to build understanding of new content. Explicitly addressing these needs leverages and augments students’ existing schema, and corrects misconceptions and misunderstandings in order to facilitate new learning.

    When using Background and Prior Knowledge, the teacher will engage students in reflecting on what they already know and connect students’ existing schema to new concepts and information. Teachers will help students build skills and conceptual understanding by asking probing questions and providing appropriate, authentic nonverbal representation.

    Students will relate their own knowledge and experiences to the prior knowledge of classmates, correct misunderstandings, and ultimately integrate new knowledge into their conceptual understanding of the content.

    Background and Prior Knowledge is not teacher centered. This strategy is critical to use when students’ knowledge and skills can support or are a prerequisite for learning the AKS. This strategy also mitigates the potential for misunderstanding or learning gaps that may interfere with students’ new learning.

Look Fors

  • The Teacher will…

    • identify, capitalize on and leverage students’ prior knowledge, correcting misconceptions as needed.
    • create opportunities for students to make personal connections to content and vocabulary.
    • identify and explicitly teach as needed background knowledge required for understanding of new content.
    The Students will…
    • reflect on and apply their knowledge and prior experiences.
    • make connections to new learning with existing schema.
    • correct misconceptions and learning gaps.

Model Lessons (Background and Prior Knowledge)

  • For any questions with this guide or its content, please call Instructional Support at (678) 301-6804.