Cognitive education is usually considered in terms of its impact on students’ problem-solving skills and their acquisition of disciplinary knowledge. Little is known about the impact of cognitive training on the cognitive skills of teachers themselves. In this pilot study, 80 South African high school teachers participated in the cognitive education (Instrumental Enrichment) course and then implemented the principles of cognitive teaching/learning in their classroom instruction. Teachers’ problem-solving skills were evaluated before the start and after 9 months of training and implementation. Significant changes were observed in teachers’ problem-solving performance. Teachers with better mastery of cognitive education program also demonstrated better cognitive task performance on the posttest. Teachers with weaker pretraining cognitive performance made greater relative gains than teachers with stronger initial performance. Recommendations are made regarding the use of Instrumental Enrichment as a tool of cognitive enhancement for teachers.
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- Go to article: Dynamic Assessment of Adult Learners’ Logical Problem Solving: A Pilot Study With the Flags Test
The goal of this article is to explore the process of dynamic assessment (DA) with a group of educated adults. Although there is nothing in the theory of DA that would prevent its use with educated adults who have normative development, in practice, the main emphasis of DA research and practice was on children or adults with various special education needs. The potential scope of DA is, however, much wider. One needs only to accept the premise that a person’s current problem-solving ability and his or her learning ability are two different constructs. This study piloted the use of the flags test of logical reasoning with a group of 20 special education teachers. The results indicate that the flags test is suitable for identifying participants with different learning potentials—“high scorers,” “gainers,” and “nongainers.” Recommendations are made regarding specific test and mediation items.
- Go to article: Introduction to Vygotsky’s “The Dynamics of the Schoolchild’s Mental Development in Relation to Teaching and Learning”
Introduction to Vygotsky’s “The Dynamics of the Schoolchild’s Mental Development in Relation to Teaching and Learning”
Here, we present to Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology readers the first in a series of “Classical Articles.” The purpose of this series is to reprint some of the articles that have played pivotal role in the development of the field of dynamic assessment and cognitive education. Some of these articles never appeared in English, and others were published in already defunct journals or proceedings. It seems important to make the current generation of researchers familiar with these texts so that our theoretical discussions can be carried out with full awareness of what has been done before us and how the classics of our field articulated their ideas.
Little attention has been paid to the question about generality versus modularity of the learning potential (LP). The main research question of our study was: Is the students’ LP established with the help of a dynamic assessment of their English as a foreign language (EFL) oral proficiency general enough to predict their subsequent EFL reading and writing scores? Eighty students (38 boys, 42 girls) received a dynamic assessment of their EFL oral proficiency in a pretest – mediation – posttest format. Six months later they took a standard EFL reading comprehension and writing exam. The results indicate that the correlations between oral LP scores and both reading (r = .42) and writing (r = .45) are significant and much stronger than the correlations with the static oral pretest. Oral LP appears to be general enough to predict students’ subsequent reading and writing achievements.
- Go to article: Review of Intelligence and Technology: The Impact of Tools on the Nature and Development of Human Abilities
- Go to article: Child Development Mediated by Trauma: The Dark Side of International Adoption, by Boris Gindis
New evidence is presented that a basic cognitive function such as spatial memory is strongly culturally dependent and quite modifiable even in adult learners. The study was conducted with several groups of new immigrants from Ethiopia in Israel who were enrolled in a year-long educational program for young adults. Static administration of the Positional Learning Test demonstrated that these new immigrant students experienced considerable difficulty with spatial memory tasks. Learning potential (LP) assessment of spatial memory with the same task was then performed with two additional groups of new immigrant students. Though the groups had the same performance level in the static part of the test, their response to mediation was very different. This finding confirms that individuals with similar static performance may have very different LP. Students who demonstrated greater LP also benefited more from the Instrumental Enrichment intervention. The results of this study therefore suggest that LP assessment has added value for immigrant and minority students similar to those in this study, that spatial memory is both culturally dependent and modifiable, and that LP assessment may serve as a tool that can be helpful for planning cognitive education intervention.
- Go to article: Cognitive Aspects of Science Problem Solving: Two Mediated Learning Experience Based Programs
Data generated by international science examinations such as TIMSS and PISA indicated that many students failed to solve science tasks not because of their lack of specific scientific knowledge, but because of poor general problem solving skills. The present study was triggered by the need to introduce middle-school students to strategies and techniques of working with unfamiliar material and using general symbolic tools. Feuerstein’s theory of Mediated Learning Experience and Vygotsky’s concept of psychological tools served as a theoretical basis for two intervention programs: The first program connected content-neutral cognitive tasks with TIMSS-like science tasks, while the second one offered students a new scientific experience Thinking Journey to the Moon. Middle-school students were pre- and posttested by TIMSS-like tasks that required minimal prior scientific knowledge. Both programs proved to be effective in improving students’ problem solving and the ability to justify their answers, though reflective ability continued to be weaker than problem solving. The relative importance of mediated learning experience vs. specific problem solving tasks is discussed.