Activating Prior Knowledge and Building Background Knowledge

When hearing or reading information in a second language, it is easy to stumble on an unfamiliar word or phrase, which usually causes a complete breakdown in understanding. This can be avoided if the learner is somewhat familiar with the intended message. It is, therefore, important to explicitly link what the student already knows to what is to be taught next.

If it is important to link existing knowledge to new material to be learned, how much more important it becomes to fill gaps that students have as a result of interrupted or no prior education. For myriad reasons, this is frequently the case with families of English learners.