The article describes Tools of the Mind—an instructional program developed 25 years ago and now implemented in a variety of early childhood settings across the United States and in Canada. Based on the principles of cultural-historical psychology, this program addresses developmental and learning needs of young children by offering a comprehensive curriculum and by delivering professional development for early childhood educators. The article provides examples of how Vygotskian and post-Vygotskian ideas get embodied in Tools of the Mind instructional strategies with a special emphasis on make-believe play as a leading activity for preschool- and kindergarten-aged children. The authors discuss the results of several evaluation studies conducted on Tools and how these results helped to shape the current state of the program.
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- Go to article: Mothers’ and Teachers’ Mental-State Discourse With Preschoolers During Storybook Reading
Mothers and teachers play a pivotal role in promoting preschool children’s theory of mind. This study explored and compared mothers’ and teachers’ mental-state discourse during storybook reading with children, focusing on their use of mental terms and references to three mental-state aspects: false belief, mental causality, and different points of view. Participants were 60 mothers and their children, and 60 teachers and 300 preschoolers. Mothers read the book to one child and teachers read the same book to groups of 5 children. The book involved a central false-belief theme. Main findings revealed that mothers and teachers elaborated on book-related mental states. However, teachers’ discourse included more mental terms and more references to mental causality and different people’s perspectives. The findings suggest that reading books with rich mental-state contents encourages rich discourse on mental-state elements. Parents and teachers should be guided in how to use their unique knowledge and relationships with children to enrich their mediation of books’ mental-state aspects and discuss them with children.
- Go to article: Enhancing Parent Participation in Early Intervention Through Tools That Support Mediated Learning
The Ready to Learn parent–infant education program of the Lexington School for the Deaf in New York is a family-centered early intervention program. The staff used two new measurement instruments to scaffold their efforts to establish a collaborative relationship with parents who represent a variety of cultures and socioeconomic levels. The results demonstrate that these instruments can effectively measure changes in parents’ interactive behavior with teachers and with their children, as well as their active participation as mediators of their children’s learning opportunities over time. Specifically, the results indicate that parents contributed to setting goals for their children and the domains of the goals were consistent with the cognitive and family-centered focus of the program. Further, parents made significant gains in their ability to share information with staff, address their children’s hearing and communication needs, participate in meetings, and collaborate during assessment and team meetings over time. Le programme d’éducation parent—bébé « Prêt pour Apprendre » de l’École Lexington pour les Sourds de New York est un programme familial centré sur l’intervention précoce (Family-Centered Early Intervention). L’équipe utilisait deux nouveaux outils de mesure afin d’étayer leurs efforts pour établir une relation de collaboration avec les parents représentant une variété de cultures et de niveaux socio-économiques différents. Les résultats démontrent que ces instruments se révèlent effectivement capables de mesurer des changements dans le comportement interactif des parents avec les enseignants et avec leurs enfants. Ils sont aussi efficaces pour mesurer leur participation active comme médiateurs des opportunités d’apprentissage offertes à leurs enfants au fil du temps. Plus spécifiquement, les résultats indiquent que les parents ont contribué à fixer des objectifs à leurs enfants et que la nature des objectifs choisis était consistante avec la centration cognitive et familiale du programme cognitif et la famille. De plus, les parents ont fait des progrès significatifs dans leur capacité à partager des informations avec l’équipe, à s’ajuster aux capacités auditives de leurs enfants et à leurs besoins de communication, à participer aux réunions et à collaborer pendant l’évaluation et les réunions d’équipe. Das “Ready to Learn” (bereit zum Lernen)-Eltern-Kind-Erziehungsprogramm der Lexington School für Taube in New York ist ein familienzentriertes Frühinterventionsprogramm (FCEI). Das Personal nutzte zwei neue Messinstrumente, um seine Bemühungen zur Etablierung einer kollaborativen Beziehung mit Eltern aus einer Vielfalt von Kulturen und sozioökonomischen Schichten zu stützen. Die Ergebnisse demonstrieren, dass diese Instrumente effektiv Veränderungen im interaktiven Verhalten der Eltern mit den Lehrern und mit ihren Kindern sowie auch ihre aktive Partizipation als Mediatoren der Lerngelegenheiten ihrer Kinder im Zeitverlauf messen können. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass Eltern dazu beitrugen, Ziele für ihre Kinder zu setzen, wobei die Bereiche der Ziele konsistent waren mit dem kognitiven und familienzentrierten Fokus des Programms. Weiterhin machten die Eltern signifikante Gewinne in ihrer Fähigkeit deutlich, Information mit dem Personal zu teilen, die Hör- und Kommunikationsbedürfnisse ihrer Kinder anzusprechen, an Treffen teilzunehmen und bei der diagnostischen Erfassung wie bei den Treffen der Teams über die Zeit mitzuwirken. El programa para la preparación de los padres en la educación de sus hijos pequeños de la “Lexington School” para Sordos en Nueva York es un programa de intervención temprana centrado en la familia. El equipo de profesores utilizó dos nuevos instrumentos de medida para estructurar sus esfuerzos con el fin de establecer una relación colaborativa con los padres, los cuales representan una amplia variedad de niveles culturales y socioeconómicos. Los resultados demostraron que esos instrumentos pueden medir de forma efectiva cambios en el comportamiento interactivo de los padres con los profesores y con sus hijos, así como en su participación activa como mediadores de las oportunidades de aprendizaje de sus hijos a lo largo del tiempo. Específicamente, los resultados indican que los padres contribuyeron a centrar los objetivos de sus hijos y a dominar los objetivos de forma consistente relativos al foco del programa cognitivo centrado en la familia. Además, los padres pueden lograr significativas ganancias en sus habilidades para compartir información con el equipo de profesores, para dirigir la escucha y las necesidades de comunicación de sus hijos, para participar en las reuniones y para colaborar durante la evaluación y enseñar el modo de conducir una reunión a lo largo del tiempo. Il programma di educazione per bambini piccoli e per genitori Pronti ad imparare della Lexington School per sordi di New York è un programma di intervento precoce centrato sulla famiglia (FCEI). Lo staff ha usato due nuovi strumenti di misura per sostenere i propri sforzi di stabilire una relazione collaborativa con i genitori che presentavano una varietà di culture e livelli socio economici. I risultati dimostrano che questi strumenti possono misurare efficacemente i cambiamenti nel comportamento interattivo dei genitori con gli insegnanti e con i loro bambini, così come la loro partecipazione attiva a lungo termine come mediatori delle opportunità di apprendimento dei loro bambini. In specifico i risultati indicano che i genitori hanno contribuito a stabilire degli obiettivi per i propri figli ed il dominio degli obiettivi era coerente con il focus cognitivo e familiare del programma. Inoltre i genitori hanno arricchito in modo significativo la loro abilità di condividere informazioni con lo staff, indirizzare l’udito dei loro bambini e i bisogni comunicativi, partecipare alle riunioni e collaborare durante la valutazione e le riunioni di team.
- Go to article: The Testing Effect and Its Relation to Working Memory Capacity and Personality Characteristics
Retrieval practice is known to lead to better retention of a to-be-learned material than restudy (i.e., the testing effect). However, few studies have investigated retrieval practice in relation to working memory capacity (WMC) and personality characteristics such as grittiness (Grit) and need for cognition (NFC). In two experiments, we examined retrieval practice and restudy of Swahili–Swedish word pairs in relation to individual differences in Grit and NFC. In Experiment 1, using a between-subjects design, a significant main effect of retention interval was qualified by a Group × Retention Interval interaction. However, there were no effects of Grit or NFC. In Experiment 2, a within-subjects design was used, and a measure of WMC was included. The analyses revealed a testing effect; but again, WMC, Grit, and NFC were not significantly associated with performance. These results indicate that retrieval practice levels out the playing field regarding WMC, NFC, and Grit.
Instructional designers plan current student experiences that promote future competence. There is a wide agreement that current instruction should allow students to “go beyond the information given” by demonstrating novel understanding. Less clear is what instructional efforts yield what specific emergent knowledge. Under these conditions, emergent learning remains an untestable, and therefore unscientific, concept. We describe a framework that creates emergent learning in both novice and experienced learners, and in many academic subjects, specifying preconditions that will yield specific emergent learning outcomes, and thereby promoting a desirable level of prospective precision in the planning of future student competence.
- Go to article: Communities of Learners and Thinkers: The Effects of Fostering Writing Competence in a Metacognitive Environment
Communities of Learners and Thinkers: The Effects of Fostering Writing Competence in a Metacognitive Environment
In this study the author examines the efficacy of translating socio-cognitive principles into practice, by using the FCL (Fostering Communities of Learners and Thinkers) method devised by Brown and Campione. The benefits of FCL are compared with traditional interventions, within the context of writing competence. The principle hypothesis of this study is that an FCL intervention program will deliver greater writing competence than more traditional methods. It is shown that students exposed to the metacognitive and shared problem solving environment that is created by FCL derive larger benefits than students exposed to traditional instruction. Moreover, it is shown that the benefits of the FCL approach increase with time, even after the intervention has ceased.
- Go to article: Durability of Effects of Instrumental Enrichment in Adults with Intellectual Disabilities
21 adults with intellectual disabilities were examined three years after participating in a cognitive intervention program in order to assess the durability of their cognitive achievements. The sample consisted of two age groups: 30-49 years (n=12) and 50-59 years (n=9). The primary intervention method was the Instrumental Enrichment Program. The effects of the intervention were examined by three types of thinking instruments: logical thinking (Reversal and Verbal Abstraction Tests), predictive thinking (Maze Tests), and insightful thinking (Postures and Children Tests). These tests were given five times: two times prior to the cognitive education program, spaced two months apart; two times after the cognitive education program, spaced two months apart; three years after the program. This repeated-measurement was used to compensate for the absence of a control group (an absence due to reality-based technical considerations). The original study yielded significant improvement from Time 2 to Time 3, and two months later (Time 4), showing a divergent effect for two types of thinking. The follow-up evaluation (Time 5) showed a drop in the cognitive functioning relative to Time 4, but not to Time 3, a finding that indicates a durability effect. The results support Feuerstein’s structural cognitive modifiability theory, according to which long-term individual changes are possible regardless of the individual’s age and cognitive functioning level.
- Go to article: Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Depression in Children and Adolescents: Implications for Practitioners and Educators
Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Depression in Children and Adolescents: Implications for Practitioners and Educators
This article is a literature review of studies on attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Depression (Depression). Domains evaluated in our review include co-morbidity in proband and family in relation to ADHD and Depression, longitudinal studies concerning outcomes of ADHD in relation to Depression, and familial risk factors related to ADHD and Depression. The studies that were examined established a link between ADHD and Depression in probands as well as in their families. Studies addressing the question of the primary or secondary status of Depression in ADHD do not reveal any clear link between an initial diagnosis of ADHD and a Depression outcome, suggesting that childhood diagnosis of ADHD alone usually does not evolve into adult Depression. The long-term evolution of ADHD into Depression seems to be related more to the presence of an initial comorbidity condition in ADHD children and adolescents. Family factors seem to influence the genesis of ADHD and Depression. There also seems to be a direct link between Major Depression in mothers and ADHD in their children.
- Go to article: The Effects of a Power-Assisted Exercise Intervention on Alertness in People With Profound Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities
The Effects of a Power-Assisted Exercise Intervention on Alertness in People With Profound Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities
One of the benefits of physical activity in people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) is an increase in alertness. This study investigated the effect of a power-assisted exercise intervention on alertness and the relationship of this effect to the level of additional motor and visual impairments in people with PIMD. A randomized controlled trial design (N = 37) was used with five measurements. Using individual plots and multilevel analysis, differences in change of alertness over time were analyzed between the intervention and control group, as was the relationship of changes to additional impairments. Considerable variation in alertness over time was found. The results showed no difference between the control and intervention groups in terms of alertness. No relationship with additional impairments was found. This study underlines the importance of looking at the effectiveness of interventions for people with PIMD because those interventions may not be as effective as expected.
One of the most striking observations during our longitudinal studies in six vocational schools with more than 50 classes and teachers was the tremendous loss of knowledge from one teaching unit to the next one: sometimes over as short a time as from the beginning of a lecture to its end, sometimes from one week to the next one. So, it is not only mid- or long-term forgetting but also very short-term forgetting, or “forgetting while learning.” An exemplary analysis of an example from conceptual learning is given, and some causes for this striking form of forgetting—at a moment where forgetting is extremely detrimental for any kind of continuing learning—are presented. This article refers to some theoretical considerations about certain conditions of conceptual learning and presents the conclusions of the longitudinal studies rather than the description of the research and development processes. It may be interpreted as a direct contribution to teachers’ further education.