Knowledge is like glue that sticks information as well as learning together. When we have prior knowledge about a topic, we understand it better. It plays an important role in students’ life especially in the school. If they don’t have related knowledge, they face difficulties in understanding the text.
Well, there are four types of background knowledge that needs to be instilled in students from a very early age.
1. General Knowledge
It helps children in developing their knowledge about what is happening in the world. Its main advantage is that they can relate background knowledge with the contextual one.
It is essential for understanding a normal language. The meaning of a word in the mind depends on the knowledge and the background of the reader. Reading is a good source of knowledge. It not only increases the meaning of words but also makes the comprehension easier to read.
2. Vocabulary knowledge
As already said, reading is the best source for knowledge. It is also a key to develop vocabulary skills of students. The more they read, the more they learn different words and how & where to use them. Importance of prior knowledge in education can be understood . Background knowledge enables the readers to have more options between multiple meanings of words.
3. Concept-based knowledge
Prior background knowledge about a subject can also be taken by the means of conceptual understanding. Giving hands-on experiences is a great source for understanding concepts while reading. In other words, it takes students away from the classroom and brings them closer to the outside world. Discussions and envisagement are also helpful in developing conceptual knowledge of students. This helps in collecting different views and information about the world.
4. Knowledge from books
Many good books are filled with a lot of information which consist of deep meanings of the words and are filled with good amount of knowledge. Background knowledge about the geographical settings of a place, history, political movements, religious and cultural environment of the world might not be learnt in the textbooks being taught in schools. Even the languages used in these books make a huge difference in understanding the text.
Thus, parents play a vital role in providing prior knowledge to their children. It is due to the fact that a child’s education starts at home and their parents are their first teachers. After parents, teachers play an important role in the learning process of a child. It is essential for them to understand, evaluate and analyze what the students already know about a topic.
It can be said that, “What students already know about the content is one of the strongest pointers of how well they will learn new information related to the content”.
Teachers can engage students in different activities which will help to understand their prior knowledge. This will also generate curiosity in them to learn and connect with the subject. With background knowledge, it becomes easier to create learning sessions for students which textbooks can’t do.