Unblock thinking to learn more


Traditional remedial classes could soon be replaced by an ‘instrumental enrichment’ programme. Elizabeth Buie reports A thinking skills programme in the Borders has improved the attainment of youngsters with learning problems and won praise from teachers and senior management.  An evaluation of the Scottish Borders Council’s “instrumental enrichment” programme by a team from Strathclyde University’s Quality in Education Centre suggests it could be more successful in the long term than traditional remedial classes.  However, to be truly effective, the programme, based on the work of the Israeli educationist Reuven Feuerstein, had to be prolonged and comprehensive. The backing of senior school management and resources from the local authority were also seen as essential.  There were indications that pupils who had taken part in the Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment (FIE) programme became more active classroom participants, more inclined to listen to others, more likely to defend their opinions based on logical evidence, better able to articulate how they solved problems, more likely to read spontaneously and follow written instructions, and better able to handle several sources of information simultaneously. One reason for this progress could be that the teachers involved were found to have significantly changed their attitudes towards learning and learners.


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