Can We Teach Intelligence? A Comprehensive Evaluation of Feuerstein's Instrumental Enrichment Program

Can We Teach Intelligence? A Comprehensive Evaluation of Feuerstein's Instrumental Enrichment Program

Can We Teach Intelligence? A Comprehensive Evaluation of Feuerstein's Instrumental Enrichment Program

Can We Teach Intelligence? A Comprehensive Evaluation of Feuerstein's Instrumental Enrichment Program

Synopsis

This compelling book provides one of the most comprehensive and detailed evaluations of a very popular cognitive skills course -- Reuven Feuerstein's Instrumental Enrichment Programme. Feuerstein claims that his program, a model for diagnosing and remedying cognitive deficiencies in poor attainers, can equip pupils with the basic prerequisites of thinking, thereby enabling them to become more effective learners. Combining innovative and traditional experimental techniques, this text analyzes both teacher and pupil outcomes on a wide range of issues including abilities, accomplishments, and behavioral characteristics. The implications of the study are set against theoretical and practical issues involved in other popular intellectual skills training programs. "Real world" concerns that have been largely ignored by research literature are addressed, as are their effects on the teaching of thinking skills.

Excerpt

Certainly the "instruments" seem to have universal appeal. I have witnessed the total absorption of such disparate individuals as black adolescents in inner city Atlanta, Georgia, senior civil servants and academics perched in the corridor of a Spanish conference hotel and Autumn weary teachers "volunteered' by their LEA's [Local Education Authority]. . . . Whether it [Instrumental Enrichment] has staying power remains to be seen.

(Barry Taylor, quoted in Weller & Craft, 1983, Foreword, p. i)

Reuven Feuerstein's model for diagnosing and remedying cognitive deficiencies in poor attainers is arousing considerable interest around the world. Feuerstein claims that the Instrumental Enrichment Program can equip pupils with the basic prerequisites of thinking, thereby enabling them to become more effective learners. If this can be substantiated, the implications would be farreaching.

Somerset Local Education Authority was introduced to Reuven Feuerstein's Instrumental Enrichment (FIE) in the early 1980s. A few schools from Somerset and four other LEA's took part in an exploratory study of the program encouraged by Barry Taylor and a number of other Chief Education Officers and organized by the Schools' Council. The study findings (Weller & Craft, 1983), which were optimistically cautious, prompted the need for a more rigorous evaluation.

In 1982, the Secretary of State for Education offered to fund pilot programs designed by LEA's specifically to help underachieving adolescents in their final 2 years of secondary school. Staff Inspector Turberfield defined the intentions of the Lower Attaining Pupil Program (LAPP) at a DES conference in May 1984:

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