For Parents – A Special Guide
Are you interested in helping your child improve her or his thinking skills? You need look no further than the Instrumental Enrichment (IE) program, a thinking-skills program used extensively and to great effect in over 80 countries worldwide. There are 2 versions: one for children of ages 3-8 and another for children of ages 9-college. The following Questions and Answers can help you make your decision:
1. Question: What is “Instrumental Enrichment”?
Answer: Instrumental Enrichment is an integrated and systematic program of varied activities designed by Reuven Feuerstein, an Israeli psychologist, to help children to improve their thinking in a number of different ways.
2. Question: What ideas is the program based on?
Answer: The basic idea behind the program is that intelligence and thinking are not “fixed” – they can always be changed and improved throughout life. We use the word “modifiable”.
3. Question: What skills would my child improve through the program?
Answer: The skills include mental steps needed in schoolwork, work life, and social life – comparing, analyzing, categorizing, organizing, understanding time, sequencing, imagining, using logic, and more.
4. Question: Who can teach my child with the program?
Answer: Anyone who has had the special training that is given by qualified Instrumental Enrichment (I.E.) trainers. Parents can be trained, as well as teachers and other school personnel.
5. Question: I’d like to see what children actually do in a thinking-skills lesson in this program. What does it look like?
Answer: On this website homepage, in the left column, is a tab called Program Descriptions. Click on that, and then click on the 3rd item that comes up. That is a pdf file description of the program for children of age 9 and up, and contains some sample activities to give you an idea of how an Instrumental Enrichment “lesson” works.
6. Question: How soon could I see results in my child?
Answer: When we talk about changing habits of thinking, we know that there cannot be any “quick fix. ” We usually see permanent changes in these basic ways of thinking and problem-solving after several months of several-times-a-week teaching by parents or teachers.
7. Question: What kinds of changes can I expect to see?
Answer: More than 3000 research studies have been done with the program in a number of different countries in the world. Results include children’s improvement in–
– academic work in school where careful thinking is needed, in all subjects
– standardized tests requiring different kinds of reasoning
– problem-solving in social situations
– problem-solving on the job
– not giving up easily in a challenging task
– cooperating with others in problem-solving
– finding more than one way to solve a problem
Research summaries are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
8. Question: What have others said about the program?
Answer: The best advertisement for I.E. is what children themselves say about it. One recent example is an after-school program in which parents and teachers worked together with children using Instrumental Enrichment. Seven different comments from middle-school aged children themselves after a year of after-school work on the program were:
a. “I have become more mature; in school I have gotten better at writing.”
b. “I have done better in school; I have been thinking more before writing answers on a test.”
c. “I have changed in a way that I don’t really understand. You see I have been one of the top students in Math. A favorite in Spanish and good on projects. All I know is I can understand the information going into my head better now.”
d. “I have been more aggressive with homework; I have made 12 new friends and I can understand what my parents talk about and join in.”
e. “I’ve changed because now I think things over and be more careful on what I do. In school, I’m able to concentrate a lot better.
f. “I’m able to think a lot faster about ideas and when I want to say something.”
g. “I think I am more independent thinking on my own, not blurting out the wrong answer or freezing up.”
h. “I listen better. I can give better directions. I want to know more details towards what someone is saying on a test or an assignment.”
9. Question: If I wanted the training as a parent, how much would it cost and how much time would be needed for the training?
Answer: Training is most useful and enjoyable when it happens in a group, although individual training can also be arranged. The first step might be to see if a few other parents might also be interested. Training in the program for young children is a total of 10 days, but it is better to do it in two segments. The days can be spread out over several weekends or “bunched” together across weekdays. The same is true of the program for older children, except that full training lasts 15 days and can be divided into 3 segments over 3 years.
For 5 days of training, the cost is computed on a fee per person for the first level of training, plus the teacher materials and the students’ materials; and is computed separately for later levels of training. This training qualifies a person to teach each level of the I.E. program.
Contact us at the email address below for specific cost estimates; costs can also be reduced with a group of trainees to a special group rate.
10. Question: If I would like more information, or check into setting up a training group, what do I do next?