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- Go to article: Child Development Mediated by Trauma: The Dark Side of International Adoption, by Boris Gindis
- 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.
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.
- Go to article: Same Cognitive Performance, Different Learning Potential: Dynamic Assessment of Young Adults With Identical Cognitive Performance
Same Cognitive Performance, Different Learning Potential: Dynamic Assessment of Young Adults With Identical Cognitive Performance
The dynamic assessment (DA) paradigm asserts that the level of a person’s current cognitive performance (often operationalized as problem solving) does not necessarily coincide with his or her learning potential. For the most part learning potential assessment procedures have been used to uncover a “hidden” cognitive potential of low-performing students. Such an orientation diverted the attention of DA researchers from a more fundamental question regarding the difference between learning and problem-solving processes in all individuals, including children and adults with normative development. In the present study the DA learning processes in individuals with an identical level of problem solving were analyzed. Special attention was paid to DA based on worked-out examples; a possible impact of the features of various examples was investigated. The results indicate that young adults with similar problem-solving performance have very different learning abilities. The comprehensiveness of worked-out examples seems to be important for individuals with medium problem-solving performance, but irrelevant for those with higher performance. DA research should pay more attention to the studies focusing on curriculum-based learning processes.
- Go to article: Immigrant Parents’ Educational Aspirations for their Children and the Required Family Support System: A Lack of Confluence
Immigrant Parents’ Educational Aspirations for their Children and the Required Family Support System: A Lack of Confluence
The aim of the present study was to explore the support system that immigrant parents from Ethiopia can provide to their children who experience difficulties in school. One hundred and thirty seven families from five Israeli cities were interviewed by a specially trained team of veteran immigrants from Ethiopia who received further education in Israel. The results of the study indicate that there is a dramatic gap between the parents’ aspirations for the education of their children and the amount of support that immigrant families can or are willing to provide. Recommendations are made regarding the necessary changes in the educational support system provided to new immigrant students.
- Go to article: Review of Intelligence and Technology: The Impact of Tools on the Nature and Development of Human Abilities
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.