Thinking Skills

Instrumental Enrichment

Instrumental Enrichment* (IE) is a programme for effective learning, developed by Professor Reuven Feuerstein who is internationally recognised as a leading voice in cognitive education. IE is a highly structured programme that teaches thinking skills. It consists of fourteen sets of paper and pencil exercises (Instruments). The programme can be used with individuals or groups of students, usually above the age of eight or nine.

IE is the practical aspect of a method of education which aims to enhance the intellectual, social and affective aspects of student learning. Together with the didactical aspect of this approach, Mediated Learning Experience, teachers learn how to enhance their interaction with their students to better effect.

Initially, there is great emphasis on developing the habit of careful, painstaking analysis, an enriched vocabulary, and planning and organisation are emphasised in all problem solving activities.

Consequently, the student becomes aware of the need to control his impulsivity and think before he acts. He learns that to solve unfamiliar problems he must develop the most effective strategy. He must become flexible enough to recognise when to adapt his strategy. He is made aware of his own thinking processes in order to reapply a learnt strategy in unfamiliar situations. He learns how to eliminate errors, which gives him a sense of mastery, competence and independence.

Students of all ages enjoy the programme because the problems are unfamiliar and so there is no experience of failure. The programme is both simply presented and cognitively challenging. Principles are developed and ‘bridging’ is used extensively whereby the mediator actively helps the student to apply the newly learnt principle to either an aspect of his learning at school, or his personal relationships, or his behavior. The more links that can be made within the life of the student, the more secure the principle will become.

As this bank of strategies and principles grows, so motivation and self esteem increases. The benefits of Instrumental Enrichment are known to continue long after school years are over.

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