Activate or supply background knowledge

Information is more accessible and likely to be assimilated by learners when it is presented in a way that primes, activates, or provides any pre-requisite knowledge. Barriers and inequities exist when some learners lack the background knowledge that is critical to assimilating or using new information. However, there are also barriers for learners who have the necessary background knowledge, but might not know it is relevant. Those barriers can be reduced when options are available that supply or activate relevant prior knowledge, or link to the pre-requisite information elsewhere.

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  • Anchor instruction by linking to and activating relevant prior knowledge (e.g., using visual imagery, concept anchoring, or concept mastery routines)
  • Use advanced organizers (e.g., KWL methods, concept maps)
  • Pre-teach critical prerequisite concepts through demonstration or models
  • Bridge concepts with relevant analogies and metaphors
  • Make explicit cross-curricular connections (e.g., teaching literacy strategies in the social studies classroom)
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