Monday , 25 June 2018
Prior Knowledge, An Overview

Prior Knowledge, An Overview

English Edition

Applying prior knowledge in classroom learning process is a need for the students. It can activate students’ knowledge that has been existed in their mind before learning new things. This writing wants to show importance of prior knowledge using in classroom learning, the advantages of it, and the challenges of teacher in building it.

The application of prior knowledge using in classroom learning is very important for the students. Our new curriculum, the 2013 Curriculum, tries to bring an integrated learning in teaching and learning activity. Integrated learning needs a connection that will connect each of the topics. We usually call it as prior knowledge. Exploring prior knowledge related to the outcomes of learning. Prior knowledge is an important factor in learning and memory. They presented subjects with a cryptic text that was designed to make it difficult for subjects to figure out the topic without being told (Bransford and Johnson, 1972). In this case, the function of prior knowledge is helping students to connect the thing that they have in mind and topic that will be discussed.

In classroom activity, the use of prior knowledge usually comes in tuning in process. This activity is something important in learning. Tuning in is an activity of the beginning of the class activity. It is a kind of awakening activity that determines the flow of the process after. There are many terms of tuning in activity. For example in the one of private college in Jakarta that uses the tuning in activity such as brainstorming, discussing latest topics, asking the experience or activity that the students know, etc. The important one is the tuning in comes with the prior knowledge that will relate to the newly topic that will be discussed.

Compared by the class situation which is not involving the prior knowledge, probably the students in the class with prior knowledge activity will acquire their knowledge effectively. The class without prior knowledge involvement will make the task of teacher is getting harder. Teacher should introduce the material from the very basic level and will take a long time. Besides, the students will be getting confused with the very “new” material that they get. It turns out they may have learned it before.

Commonly, the use of prior knowledge is stimulated by teacher as the facilitator or it may be held by the students. For example, they do short conversation that related with new issues or by watching video that related with the topic they will learn. Those all activities are purposed to stimulate memory of students in bringing the knowledge that they need as

provisions in learning. According to Callender (2008), the involvement of prior knowledge will bring the comprehension understanding of students. It is because if the teachers use prior knowledge as the bridge in teaching, the students will be easier to grab more input. However, some teachers avoid using prior knowledge in the learning process because they think it is complicated. They should prepare the stimulation topic to activate the students’ thought. They also have to prepare the other teaching tools in supporting the upcoming prior knowledge of students. Teachers have to develop and be patient of the discussion running in the form of stimulation prior knowledge.

Hopefully through this paper, as the facilitator teacher has to involve the students’ prior knowledge in tuning in activity before she/he delivers the material to the students. The points are as mentioned before. First, the application of prior knowledge in classroom learning is important for the students. Second, it helps students turn on their memory that related with topic that they will learn. Third, teachers should be ready in preparing it. Finally, having prior knowledge in the class is very useful. Therefore, the twenty first teachers are suggested to use and involve prior knowledge in the teaching process.


Callender, A. A. (2008). The Effects of Prior Knowledge Relevance and Organization on Teaxt Comprehension and Memory. ProQuest, 15.

Saphiro, A. M. (2004). How Including Prior Knowledge As a Subject Variable May Change Outcomes of Learning Research. Washington, United States.


Putri Tiara Ismawaty and Sofistika C.E.
Students of Universitas Siswa Bangsa Internasional (USBI) Jakarta

Leave a Reply

Scroll To Top