Background and Prior Knowledge
SEL Competencies: Self-Awareness, Responsible Decision Making
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.
Teacher Behaviors for Promoting SEL Competencies
- Create a classroom environment where students know that teachers care about them, and where they feel safe to take risks in sharing previous experiences and knowledge.
- Encourage student-led discussion and dialogue.
- Allow students to assess their own work and determine strengths and weaknesses and determine their personal and academic growth.
Student Behaviors for Developing SEL Competencies
- Identify and express personal connections to the content and/or vocabulary.
- Recognize, understand, and empathize with others from various backgrounds.
- Engage in respectful and productive dialogue with others.
- Marzano, R.J. & Pickering, D.J. (2005). Building academic vocabulary: Teacher's manual. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
- Echevarria, J., Vogt, M., & Short, D. (2016). Making content comprehensible for English learners: The SIOP model. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Chapter 3, Building background knowledge.
Model Lessons (Background and Prior Knowledge)
Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration
Students will develop a claim, supported by evidence, to justify an argument regarding the interdependence of photosynthesis and cellular respiration.
Analyzing Data: Bugs, Giraffes, Elephants, and More
Students will analyze line plots to justify the data that is represented
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