21st Century Cognitive Skills Skills — How Do We Prepare Today’s Students?

Today’s students in America will be entering adulthood and the workplace in a few short years. Three huge questions about how to best prepare them face parents and educators:

  1. What cognitive skills will today’s students need in order to survive and be competitive?
  2. What critical thinking skills and problem solving techniques do today’s teachers need to enable students to be ready?
  3. What should parents be doing to enable their children to become effective problem-solvers?

Developing Cognitive Skills

A solution to these concerns is training and implementing the “Feuerstein’s Instrumental Enrichment” (FIE) program. This instructional program teaches higher-level problem solving techniques and critical thinking skills within an existing school curriculum.

Through the FIE program, students are able to learn cognitive skills including:

    1. Focusing on specific problems at hand
    2. Developing alternative and collaborative strategies for solving problems (academic, social, economic, political, and more).
    3. Reading with clear comprehension
    4. Writing with clarity and detail
    5. Accurately Computing and understanding mathematics
    6. Understanding relationships between events, people, and things
    7. Critically evaluating their own actions as they work toward still better solutions
    8. Succeeding on mandated standardized achievement tests
    9. Making sense out of new materials
    10. Learning how to learn

About the FIE Program

The FIE Program is published in 18 languages, implemented in 80 countries, and has been evaluated by more than 2000 research studies. The program addresses each of the skills above by having specially trained teachers administer unique materials and methods several times per week within the regular curriculum.

As teachers we need to be able to:

  1. Use the specially designed FIE problem-solving materials and act as a mediator when teaching higher-order thinking strategies as: comparing, analyzing, organizing, sequencing, categorizing, applying logic, and more
  2. Enable students to focus directly on the problems at hand in a non-competitive context
  3. Help their students to succeed on examinations through proven test-taking techniques such as decision-making, selecting choices, formulating a constructed response, and reasoning-through posed problems
  4. Provide insight for students in applying fundamental problem-solving strategies to all areas of the regular curriculum
  5. Facilitate students’ reflection on their own thought processes (known as metacognition), so that students can gradually become independent thinkers
  6. Help students to develop intrinsic motivation in their academic work

As parents we need to be able to:

  1. Keep children focused on school achievement
  2. Maintain high expectations for education
  3. Assist children with schoolwork through FIE
  4. Help children become effective problem-solvers by following up at home with FIE activities

For information about how to learn more about the FIE program, or to schedule a no-cost Decision-Making Workshop, contact: David S. Martin, Director of Training for IC&TA, at 508-527-0460 or davidchina_2000@yahoo.com.