Feuerstein’s Instrumental Enrichment
Feuerstein’s Instrumental Enrichment Imago Dei – All grades
20-30 minutes daily, in class
Program Distinctive (to focus on the following):
What Is Cognitive Enrichment?
Thinking skills are cognitive skills; therefore, Cognitive Enrichment is the process of improving thinking and subsequent learning skills. The goal of public education is to ultimately produce independent thinkers who can solve problems and engage in life-long learning. As John Dewey said, “all which the schools can or need do for pupils is to develop their ability to think.”
Each content area requires thinking. Unfortunately, thinking as a skill is seldom addressed directly in school curricula, like mathematics, history or English. Rather, it is assumed that thinking skills and learning readiness will develop through the study of content. Ideally, they should, but in many cases they don’t. Many people come to the classroom or the workplace without the “learning to learn” skills they need to succeed. Cognitive deficiencies make it impossible for them to learn as well as they should, because they are unable to benefit from the content instruction, whether it comes within a public or private school or via job training, and regardless of its quality.
For such students, Cognitive Enrichment is needed and can be accomplished through focused instruction in developing one’s thinking skills and subsequent capacity to learn. Cognitive Enrichment is also beneficial for students who do not appear to have deficiencies. Just as the teaching of content is designed to increase each student’s understanding within the content domain, so too can cognitive skills be nurtured and enriched for all students.
Cognitive Functions are specific thinking abilities or skills. They can be taught and learned and strengthened at any age. There are three phases of cognitive functioning: Input—Elaboration—Output. (These phases are similar to the three phases of information processing.) At the input phase, information is taken in; at the elaboration phase information is processed through association with previous knowledge; and at the output phase the results of the processing are conveyed.
Structural Cognitive Modifiability is characterized by the belief that the structure of the brain can be changed by systematic and meaningful intervention. This position is supported by current brain research in the field of brain plasticity. If you accept this position, it follows then that intelligence is not fixed or immutable.
Mediation is the interactional process between a learner and an intentional adult (the mediator) who by interposing him/herself between the learner and the external source of stimulation guides (mediates) the learning experience by selection, focusing, and feedback. Such a learning experience is referred to as a Mediated Learning Experience (MLE).
Bridging refers to the process through which cognitive skills are transferred (bridged) to learning content.
Professor Reuven Feuerstein, the founder and director of the International Center for the Enhancement of Learning, has through clinical research identified a set of cognitive functions that can be considered prerequisites for learning. That is, learners who do not have access to these prerequisite skills will be handicapped in learning new skills and or new material regardless of the quality of instruction or the effort put forth by the learner.