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Activate prior knowledge

    New knowledge anchors best when it can link to existing knowledge, i.e. one looks for similar, already known knowledge to get a direct approach to the new thing to be learned. Through this linking, access is simplified, the brain knows where the information has to be filed and arranges it. If something is ordered, it is known to be easier to find.

    Prior knowledge is everything that is already available in a subject area, i.e. knowledge that is or could be significant for the acquisition of new knowledge is specifically sought. One can ask oneself the following questions: What do we already know about this topic? Is this existing knowledge helpful for the new knowledge?

    By asking these questions, one prepares oneself for the new content and will be ready for it. Such activated prior knowledge is helpful in any situation where new knowledge needs to be acquired.

    In school, the majority of the content is based on prior knowledge, but this has advantages and disadvantages, because if one has not understood a topic, it is quite difficult to follow the next topics. The knowledge brought along is therefore important for the new situation, because if something is already known or if one has already thought through similar things, this results in a selection of reduction possibilities for the new knowledge, because this already existing knowledge reduces the stress in the new learning task.

    Activating prior knowledge in a child is actually quite simple, but you have to practise or make it a ritual so that it happens automatically over time. The following questions help with activation: What topic is being worked on? What do you remember from previous lessons? Do you still have questions about it?

    Soon you will realise that such a short preparation has a great advantage, namely not to lose time when starting to learn and to be ready from the beginning. Another advantage is that unanswered questions are clarified before you start with the new knowledge. because if you notice that something is unclear to you, you can clarify these questions and are then ready for the new content that comes your way.