What is Cognitive Education and why is it a game changer?

Teaching our children to be strong, independent thinkers is instrumental for success in school, social interactions, and life in general. Good thinkers and problem solvers create a lasting impact on the world.

We can access information easily and information changes over time

We live in a world where we can access information at the mere click of a button. We can ask Google or Suri for an answer and before we know it, we have it. We know that information changes rapidly. Scientists and researchers are constantly making new discoveries, so what we know to be true or fact today, may be different over time.

Cognitive Education develops cognitive functions and strategies

In education, our goal should be to build deep thinkers who can problem solve and grapple with all types of information and situations with which they are faced. We want our children to be confident and independent thinkers, to question and analyse things deeply, to take the cognitive tools and strategies they have learnt and to become world changers.

Cognitive Education is inspired by the amazing work of Professor Reuven Feuerstein

Reuven Feuerstein was an educator and a psychologist who was known as a man ahead of his time. He believed in the concept of neuroplasticity long before it was proven medically. In the 1950’s he worked with a group of child survivors of the Holocaust who required IQ tests to determine the correct school placements. The results of testing found most of these children to be low functioning and for Feuerstein this made no sense. The children had lost everything and gone through the most severe trauma. They did not have mediators in their lives to help them understand and make sense of the world. Feuerstein asked the psychologists who had developed these tests if he could use these tests in a different way. He provided an intervention which he called mediation during testing to look at these children’s potential to learn rather than their static scores, and the results were amazing. He developed the theories of Structural Cognitive Modifiability, Mediated Learning Experience and Dynamic Assessment.

 A Belief System

Structural Cognitive Modifiability holds the belief that people regardless of their age or limitations can be modified in the structure of their brains and that new neural pathways can be created. This defies the view that a person reaches a plateau in their learning and rather opens the possibility and belief that change can happen at any stage of life.

How do we do it?

Feuerstein’s theory of Mediated Learning Experience is the mechanism for Structural Cognitive Modifiability and teaching thinking. It is different from just bombarding the child with information in teaching and is instead a reciprocal, intentional and meaningful approach to learning. The mediator (adult) leads and guides the child to explore their thinking by asking questions, making connections, problem solving, planning, considering all aspects, drawing conclusions, organising and setting goals. Parents, grandparents, teachers and significant adults are all important mediators for children.

Cognitive Education should be integrated into all aspects of learning in the quest to build strong thinkers who will have the skills to influence the world positively in the future.

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