“prior knowledge: The totality of an individual’s experience and knowledge at any given time—that is, what a student brings as background information to a new learning experience. The more prior knowledge a person has, the more prepared he or she will be to learn new ideas. Almost everything that a person learns or can learn depends on the extent of his or her prior knowledge. One of the major missions of school is to build students’ fund of background knowledge so they have a foundation for future learning.”
Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.