How prior knowledge can inject understanding

Andy Tharby has overhauled his approach to English lessons by developing students cultural literacy, and exploring relevant facts and vocabulary before introducing a text. He explains the research that led to his pedagogical epiphany

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At some point, all my English students will hit a wall in their studies. It’s rarely at the same moment, but it always has the same effect: no amount of motivation, effort, feedback or extra revision seems to make a difference to their progress.

Fortunately, I now know what to do in these situations. A few years ago, I came across a 1988 study by Donna R Recht and Lauren Leslie. The paper completely flipped my understanding of how to teach English and transformed my approach to how an English curriculum should be organised.

The research (which you can download at taught me ...

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