Dr. Bryan Kolb from the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Science Research discusses the crossover between brain research and the classroom. This presentation is a part of the Research in Education Seminar Series held by the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge.
Professor Reuven Feuerstein is a world-renowned cognitive psychologist, known for his groundbreaking research in cognitive modifiability. Rejecting the idea that intelligence is fixed, he established the principle that all children can learn how to learn.
Professor Feuerstein is the founder and director of the Feuerstein Institute (formerly known as the International Center for the Enhancement of Learning Potential) and the Hadassah-WISO-Canada Research Institute in Jerusalem, Israel. He has been a Professor of Psychology at the School of Education at the University of Bar Ilan in Israel; Adjunct Professor at George Peabody College at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee; Visiting Professor at Yale University; and a regular speaker at many other U.S. universities.
Professor Feuerstein, a holocaust survivor, began developing his theories in the late 1940’s while working with children who had been separated from their parents by the holocaust. Because of the low IQ scores these children had, many people considered them cognitively hopeless. However, Feuerstein and his colleagues insisted on further testing.
“The IQ tests we did on these children had no way of taking into account the horrific experiences they had lived through, or of telling, we believed, what their true potential was. When we assessed the children differently through a routine to measure their learning capacity, rather than their present performance, we discovered that all of the children had potentials that had been completely submerged in the standard IQ tests.”
Through his subsequent work with underachieving individuals, Professor Feuerstein determined that the proposition “present performance indicates potential” was untrue. This led to the development of the theories of Structural Cognitive Modifiability and Mediated Learning Experience and a definition of intelligence as “the capacity of the individual to use previous experience in his adaptation to new situations.” For more information, go to www.icelp.org.
Kathleen Hopkins has written a book so satisfying to the mind of this educational therapist that I find myself quoting it to every colleague I encounter. Shedding the old taboos against teachers disclosing their life stories, Hopkins shares with exquisite prose her personal obstacles and influences that molded the remarkable educator she has become. Weaving together theory, life lessons, and practice, she provides ways of thinking that “embolden both the teacher and the learner to think differently.” She brings the reader the very notions that have been fundamentals in my own practice for years— “the joy of really teaching students, not just content”; such ideas as “searching for each learner’s individual gifts,” reaching for their “skylights” that transcend all that they have been taught; learning from real life situations, beyond memorization into dynamic discovery of ideas; modeling a love of learning for it’s own sake. These are indeed the blueprints for real learning to take place.
Anyone, in any field, who has ever tried to teach anything to others can benefit by the perspective of this profound book–so revolutionary in the power of its wisdom and the readability of its text.