Promoting Cognitive Growth over the Life Span

Promoting Cognitive Growth over the Life Span

Promoting Cognitive Growth over the Life Span

Promoting Cognitive Growth over the Life Span

Synopsis

This book introduces special programs designed to enhance thinking and problem solving at the preschool, elementary, secondary, college, and graduate levels, as well as proven instructional methods to aid the elderly in retaining or regaining essential mental skills. The volume also considers difficult problems confronting psychology, including such disparate issues as the appropriate content of courses to develop thinking, resistance to the introduction of programs in schools and universities, and psychology's limitations on progress in these areas.

Excerpt

This book is about fostering critical and creative thinking and problem solving. Necessarily, it is also about the nature of those cognitive processes and their relationship to feelings. These are matters of interest to psychologists, educators, and public policy makers.

The content of the book contributes to the knowledge base about promoting cognitive growth in two separate yet interrelated ways. One has to do with whether and to what extent education can enhance and sustain cognitive functioning from infancy through old age. the other has to do with the viability of programs, methods, and procedures designed to enhance and sustain intellectual vitality.

In our view, research and scholarship in this area have a high social value and can in no sense be characterized as "academic." We believe knowledge about cognition and its facilitation may be one of the essential keys to clarifying and resolving the seemingly unyielding problems of educating varied populations in diverse societies, in established as well as developing nations. Those enduring problems have been a source of distress to countless millions for many years.

After World War ii many nations confronted the challenge of educating entire populations for the first time. School systems that had effectively provided elementary and secondary education primarily to children of middle class or upwardly mobile families, now floundered in their attempts to gain a modicum of success with other children. As if that were not enough, the problems were further complicated by new waves of immigrants, "guestworkers," chronically unemployed, homeless, welfaresupported single parent families, and rural poor transplated to cities.

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