Posts Tagged 'activate'

Activating Prior Knowledge and Formative Assessment

As I work with my students to develop their writing skills, I want to know what they already know about writing. I want to activate their prior knowledge and experiences. However, there is a down side to activating prior knowledge. A science teacher friend says that his students have many more misconceptions about science, then conceptions. He is careful to find out their misconceptions about a topic at the very beginning of the unit so that he can spend time in helping them to understand that their misconception is not valid science thinking. If they continue with this misconception, they will never grasp the real conception. I find that the same thing happens in writing. Students have misconceptions about writing such as “if I write it, it has to be good”,  “A very long story at the beginning of a very short essay is a great introduction.” or “One small piece of evidence is enough to convince my reader”.

I think we have to be aware that activating prior knowledge means activating whatever the student s may  think they “know” about the topic. Such activation does not assume that all prior “knowledge” is really positive knowledge. Activating prior knowledge provides a great formative assessment tool since we can “see” the students’ previous learning.  Therefore, we can guide the student forward instead letting student being stuck in his/her misconceptions.

Do you activate and diagnose students’ prior knowledge and  figure out strategies to  help the students improve in their learning?


Blog Stats

  • 805,349 hits