The general motive for this project was to create suitable conditions for successful learning, effective teaching in classrooms of children with many and different obstacles.
We devoted our attention to applications based on Feuerstein´s theory of Structural Cognitive Modifiability and mediated learning:
The use of the Instrumental Enrichment Program, the cognitive and metacognitive training program – Become a better mediator
Experiencing mediated learning induced by mediating interactions that foster independent thinking and learning – Experience mediation in everyday life
Dynamic approaches in assessing and developing the learning potential - Dynamic Approach in Teaching Situations
Setting up modifying environments in which an individual gains sufficient mediation, of sufficient intensity, frequency and duration, within regular context – Shaping the supportive environment
Shifting teachers´ emphasis from plain curricular content to developing cognitive functions and operations and making sure that these cognitive functions are effectively used in the learning process of their students was the main area of our work.
We believe that in the 21st century the teacher´s primary role is that of a mediator whose goal is to extract from every encounter the children have with content materials the maximum learning of generalizable principles and strategies of perceiving the world, of thinking systematically, clearly, and effectively, of learning, and of problem solving.
Output 1 – Become a better mediator
Professor Feuerstein spent many years working with children surviving the Holocaust whom teachers and psychologists had declared “unteachable”. For them and because of them he developed his well-known “content free” mediated learning techniques that are more and more used in helping to children suffering by cultural deprivation, students with special needs, children struggling to learn, as well as adults. The children are guided through one problem after another as they build their own repertoire of metacognitive strategies and head towards independence.
In the presented series of FIE lessons, we provide teachers and educators with the methodological support, assistance and source of inspiration for better understanding and effective use of mediated learning experience and instrumental enrichment.
The carefully selected lessons and commented video material should serve as a self-development tool for mediators and teachers, as inspiration to those who interact with their students in order to increase their learning capacity. Those who interact with students in order to fill knowledge, may this material open the door to cognitive education, to teaching techniques that help children to learn and educators to stretch children´s abilities to think along many dimensions.
The presented lessons are each equipped with commentary focused on important fragments of mediated learning - cognitive functions, criteria of mediation, bridging. The commentaries are not ultimate. Anyone can find more topics for discussion. We tried to bring the clear and most visible moments to focus and hence many moments stayed uncommented. You may use the presented lessons in multiple way: you may watch the video first and then read the comments, or read the comments and watch the video. The best would be probably to watch the video, make your own comments and just then read our comments. To lead yourself to deeper understanding, try to find parallels with your comments, learn and try to understand others view.
Enjoy the lessons, may they inspire you to become a better mediator.
Output 2 - Experience mediation in everyday life
Experience mediation in everyday life
Our goal in this output is to empower parents, teachers, caregivers, educators to mediate the world to their children and students during everyday situations. We prepared a training course in which we look at the experience of mediation as a form of interaction that shapes human experience and we approach this topic from different angles. We present a series of 40 lessons in which we show how to transfer the experience of mediated learning from the framework of the content free IE program to content rich teaching situations in the classroom as well as to other situations the life brings outside the classroom.
The presented lessons are of a various kind, all supporting intentional and conscious use of mediation in activities with children. Keeping with the teaching of professor Feuerstein we prepared the series of the lessons deliberately in various modalities (films, readings, presentations), we ask about key elements of the teaching from different point of views and create the space for challenging the thinking about answers, as it is typical for any mediated learning experience. The material we work with in the course comes from different environments:: - lessons taking place in regular schools on content rich teaching; - lessons taking place in the afternoon club working with children from challenging environment; - lessons taking place in special educational setting showing interaction with children with severe handicaps using different topics or tools; - and finally lessons of a theoretical background of mediated learning experience.
Our intention in this training course was to transfer the mediated learning experience to different situations in the life and thus support conditions for successful learning. Such a transfer requires changed approach: instead of focusing on the content, rather thinking about how to use the content in effective, cognition supporting way. For this reason, we show how to interact with the recipient of mediation so that his/her cognitive functions are fostered, intrinsic motivation boosted, reflective insight enhanced. We want to help in elevating the proficiency in working and implementing the mediated learning experience to everyday situations and we offer direct experience but also some theoretical summaries and support reflective thinking in which we focus on self-experience and touch such key elements and aspects of mediation as cognitive functions, criteria of mediated learning experience, cognitive maps, bridging, cultural deprivation versus cultural difference.
Before you start, please, open the file List of Lessons. Do not hurry when following through the tasks. Take your time and enjoy, may the course bring you new ideas in your work.
Output 3 - Dynamic Approach in Teaching Situations
Usually when people are assessed, great effort is made to assure that the assessment procedure is the same for everyone, and any interaction or assistance during the assessment itself is seen as unfair or even cheating. Dynamic assessment takes a very different stance, arguing that important information about a person’s abilities can be learned by offering assistance during the assessment itself. Not only can dynamic assessment provide a different picture of an individual’s abilities, it can actually help the child or adult to develop those abilities by providing finely tuned instruction, or mediation, while engaged in the assessment tasks.
In the following series of lessons, we demonstrate situations in various contexts in which dynamic assessment or dynamic approach may be used. Our intention is to explore the possibilities and opportunities of applicability of dynamic approach in everyday teaching - learning situations.
You may see and read about teachers / mediator who do some things differently than other teachers. They try to elicit evidence of thinking from the children - they ask many questions; these questions are process oriented rather than answer oriented and they very often go beyond those answers looking for possible different ways of solving the problem. Mediational teachers challenge answers, requiring justification and explanation of process. They often ask, "How did you know it was right?" "What would be wrong with this one?" Our intention is to explore and analyze the possibilities and opportunities of applicability of mediational approach in assessment in everyday teaching - learning situations.
You will also learn about the cognitive map, the tool playing a critical role in the construction of materials and in their selection and manipulation during an assessment or evaluation. We do it with a wish to prevent useless educational failures. We want to offer teachers an answer to question: what can I do to improve the performance of my students? What kind of intervention and how much of it would lead to improvement?
Output 4 – Shaping supportive environment
Education, whether marked as inclusive or not, may have an important impact on the development and learning of a child “experiencing barriers to learning”, as well as on typically developing peers and on the teachers. We want to provide teachers, educators, principals, parents with a more environmental perspective.
In the presented collection of best practices, we want to give samples of the beneficial use of mediated learning experience in real life, answering the question: how can we change the environment so that it will encourage, reinforce, and create in the student the will, the need, and the ability leading to important academic achievements. We want to focus on creating an environment that encourages learning. The home, classroom and afternoon clubs may be organized to accelerate cognitive adaptation. This includes structured interactions resulting in maximum benefit to the child, accelerating the thinking and learning processes.