The current educational system is in dire need of modification in order to keep pace with the current technological advancement of society. As educators, we must consider the research and create an educational system that will meet the needs of a progressive society. This paper will first consider the components in the literature which would facilitate the educational process and then reflect on possible implications of the literature and procedures for enhancement of the current educational system.
John Dewey (1990)I believe, had this same objective in mind when he authored The School and Society in the beginning of the 19th century. He spoke of education as "methods of living and learning, not distinct studies" (p. 14). His theme in this book was to incorporate as much of current society in to the educational process as possible in order to facilitate learning, which would then enhance society as a whole. If individuals were provided with an enriched environment that contained personal meaning and relevance, personal interest would be increased and learning would follow. Learning that occurs in a natural way, creates what Dewey calls "the intimate connection between knowing and doing" (p.106) which will enhance each individual, thus improving society as a whole. There are a multitude of ideas in the literature that address the issue of the classroom learning process. This paper contains a synopsis of the prevalent ideas regarding effective use of strategies within the classroom and teacher education.
In order to create an enriched learning environment which will meet individual needs, instructors must be able to assess the current abilities of their students. The most common assessment tool is a standardized test of one form or another. If a student is exhibiting difficulty learning, often an IQ test is administered to determine at what age level the individual is processing information. In fact, when Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon designed their intelligence test in 1905 they were focusing on "objectively diagnosing degrees of mental retardation, and assessment of mental ability" (Sattler, 1992, p. 40). Since the inception of that instrument, the question of intelligence, where it is located, and if it can be measured has remained an ardent subject among professionals in all fields.
Sternberg puts forth a model of intelligence which consists of three components and is known as the triarchic theory of intelligence. The components which form the "mental building blocks are: metacomponents, performance components, and knowledge-acquisition components" (Sternberg, & Davidson, 1989, p. 23). Sternberg in a compilation of theories provides many definitions of intelligence and shows how each is relevant to the context in which it is used. If education is going to continue to use the "intelligence quotient" which results from a standardized test as a means to understand student ability (regardless of where the score falls), various frameworks of intelligence must be given consideration. Many theories of intelligence address the interactions between intelligence and the individual, intelligence and the environment, and the interaction within the individual and the environment (Sternberg, 19XX, p. 3).
Tishman (1994) suggests that looking at the process of thinking may be more efficient than a static test score when addressing the issue of education. Tishman uses the term "thinking dispositions" which addresses not only ability, but also the inclination toward a particular behavior and the sensitivity, or ability to know when the behavior is appropriate (p. 3). This model offers more to the educational setting than a static number. It provides the instructor with a step like procedure to help the students engage and improve their own critical thinking skills. Tishman, Perkins, and Jay (1995) describe in their book titled The Thinking Classroom, the process of teaching students how to develop effective thinking skills. These skills can become habits which will lead to "a future of effective problem solving, thoughtful decision making, and lifelong learning" (p. 1). Classroom procedures include making the "language" of thinking available to the students. Tishman, Perkins and Jay stress the importance of modeling, elaborating on, generating interaction with, and providing feedback on the language of thinking in an effort to build sound cognitive skills.
The idea of relating language to knowledge is not new and can be found in a variety of the literature in many different domains. Searle (1990) addresses the issue of language in a philosophical article that deals with the unconscious processes of the mind, and supports Chomsky's argument that language is controlled by "a language acquisition device innate in human brains ...which places constraints on the form of language an individual can learn (p. 594). Jackendoff (1995) in his book Languages of the Mind, places a strong emphasis on the importance of language to the conceptual process of cognition. Language he believes, is the key process, or "central format" of the mind and all other mental representations must be interpreted, and translated into language in order to make use of the information.
Thinking skills in turn, cannot be evaluated without giving consideration to the process of memory. Efficiency of memory effects many of the skills necessary to be successful in school. Reading ability and comprehension are examples of a school task which is memory dependent. Waldrop (1987) addresses this issue and states that "individual differences in reading ability seem to arise mainly from differences in the efficiency …