Critical Thinking Benefits of Instrumental Enrichment Implementation
David S. Martin, Ph.D.
The Instrumental Enrichment thinking-strategies program has over the years been observed to have several clear benefits—for students, for teachers, and for parents. Primarily the benefits are related to developing critical thinking skills that are then applied to many areas of study. In many cases, the results are supported by empirical research studies in published form; in other cases, the results are anecdotally reported by implementers of the program in a wide variety of settings (public schools, private schools, and tutorial programs).
When the program is implemented several times per week over a two-or-more-year period, students have been found to increase in their:
- Reading Comprehension
- Mathematic Computation
- Understanding of Mathematic Concepts
- Problem Solving Process: including defining a problem, developing detailed and sequenced strategies to reach a resolution, and working cooperatively to achieve success
- Critical Thinking Skills
- Cognitive Ability
These effects have been observed for both students with normal achievement and students with special needs.
Teachers who have been fully trained in the program and then implemented the program with students for a year or more have been found to change in the following ways:
- Ask more frequent questions which provoke higher-order thinking
- Incorporate more critical thinking strategies across various subjects
- Include more frequent student-to-student dialogue in their teaching
- Ask more frequent metacognitive questions of students
Although parent effects have not been studied as systematically as have the effects on teachers and students, parents who have been trained in the program and implemented it with their children over at least a year have reported that they:
- Encourage their children to develop problem solving skills and practice the problem solving process, rather than giving children solutions
- Employ critical thinking language in conversations with their children
- Develop a better understanding of their children’s thought processes
- Better understand of learning challenges their children experience