This semester, I am teaching a course on Literacy and Special Education at Concordia College in Bronxville, NY and a course on Literacy across the Curriculum at Fordham University.
When one discusses reading with pre-service and beginning teachers, you discuss the strategies for before reading, during reading and after reading. Yesterday during my class at Fordham we spoke about prior knowledge. There was animated conversation about the importance of providing students with information needed to understand concepts-we shared strategies such as Direct Instruction, Anticipation Guides, KWL charts, Exclusion Brainstorming, Tea Party, Quotation Cafe, Prediction Path and IEPC-Imagine, Elaborate, Predict and Confirm. Many of the students had experience to share and were able to talk about how they have used the technique or would use the technique with students. During my class at Concordia, the other night we were discussing phonemic awareness and phonics and how even if students are in the older grades, it is important to make sure they have these necessary skills so that they can decode and read the text before them.
Any good teacher has to figure out ways to find out what background knowledge students have and then ways to provide certain information to students if they don't have it. Teaching takes a lot of work and planning. But I do believe it is all worth it.
Thinking and discussing prior knowledge made me reflect on my relationship with Jesus- I have prior experience that he has been there for me so I need to remember that when I'm struggling and turn to my friend.