Presentation on theme: "Making Cognitive Education more widely accessible Cynthia Pelman."— Presentation transcript:
Making Cognitive Education more widely accessible Cynthia Pelman
Mystique? An aura of mystery or mystical power surrounding a particular occupation or pursuit For example: the mystique of nuclear science.
A boy called Bradley How I failed to help Bradley Meeting Reuven and his team It wasn’t that easy!!
Why was it difficult to absorb? In order to take this on, my own cognitive functions needed updating: Broadening my own mental field Speech therapists are trained in a ‘medical model’ for attention deficit and learning difficulty: biology has the last word The idea of the ‘plateau’ Difficulty giving up our years of rigorous training Vocabulary takes on a new purpose
A new way of thinking Example: ‘vocabulary’ “There is a reciprocal relationship between vocabulary and cognitive development” (Kozulin 1998).
The reciprocal relationship Attention and concentration requires vocabulary: Giving names to and describing things helps us to see them! The adult uses words to direct the child’s gaze towards stimuli to transform the stimulus, to make the stimulus more salient and meaningful in terms of their function or useful attributes. to help the child move from a world of immediate, undifferentiated sensory experience to more abstract words for analysing, contemplating, considering, comparing, classifying. Without abstract concepts the child cannot transcend the perception of the present context and go beyond the information given (Bruner 1974.) Without ‘scientific concepts’ (Vygotsky 1986) it is not possible to de- contextualise, to rise above the present moment and the present situation. Conceptual thinking enables one to think about the past, and to plan for the future; to think about how satisfied one is with the present situation and how to go about changing it.
What are the difficulties for teachers in adopting cognitive education? The training is expensive It’s time consuming: more paperwork! Even more to do – the curriculum is bad enough! The jargon is impossible to make sense of Misperception about the pencil and paper instruments: (it’s not about the IE instruments) Ideas about education have been around for hundreds of years; how do we change what we know so well?
The legacy of Reuven Feuerstein The one thing I will never forget: In mediated learning, both the mediator and the learner are transformed
What I am NOT saying: I am not saying no training is needed- of course it is: Mediation is an art and not easy to describe The cognitive functions are complicated! But it is our responsibility to make cognitive education accessible to all, and not only for those who can afford it.
An example: “Learning to look and looking to learn” A simple, jargon-free way to introduce Cognitive Education Working on input: supporting children who have Attention difficulties Episodic grasp of reality Blurred and sweeping perception
The ‘Learning to Look’ programme aims to: Get going without delay, without doing theoretical training first Cut the jargon, use everyday language Use inexpensive, recycled and found materials Use daily events in the child’s life and in the life of the child’s community to bridge (generalise) new concepts Mediate the theory to teachers through modelling, not through a training course
Learning to look and Looking to Learn Look at (joint attention, naming, describing) Look for (simple or complex) Look under/ over/ on top/ behind Look and match (find the same) Look and compare (comparison) Look where it belongs (categorisation) Look for what’s missing Look what’s wrong Look what comes next (sequencing and order) Look and evaluate
Hopscotch What you need to do: The first player throws the stone onto the first square. After you throw the stone, look where it has landed. If the stone does not land in the correct square then you lose your turn. The player then hops over that square to the next square. Keep hopping to the end of the field, turn around and come back. Pick up your stone on the way back. On double squares you must land with both feet at the same time, one foot in each square. If you have completed this with no mistakes, you can have another go and throw your stone onto the second square and so on. What you should not do: You must wait in line and only go when it is your turn. Be careful when you throw a stone, it can hurt someone. Look carefully at the lines! You must not step on a line. Look carefully at the numbers! Go in the correct order.
Cognitive functions mediated through hopscotch Knowing what you must look at in order to play correctly (Cognitive Function: Attending to relevant information) Counting to eight and recognising numerals (Cognitive Functions: Labelling; Cardinal and ordinal numbering; symbolic tools for numbering) Following rules about what happens first, next and last: what you do first is throw the stone, next you hop over it, then you turn around, then you come back again (Cognitive Functions: Sequencing; Attending to relevant cues about space and time) Following rules about direction of movement across the hopscotch field (Cognitive Function: Orientation of movement and position in space)
More cognitive functions through hopscotch Knowing what happens if you make a mistake (Cognitive Functions: Hypothetical thinking: ‘if’; Evaluation of output) Waiting your turn (Cognitive Functions: Following rules; Reducing impulsivity; Reducing egocentric thinking and respecting other people’s space; Planning; Thinking before acting) Don’t step on the lines, and throw your stone carefully (Cognitive Functions: Systematic search for a defined and specific target; Accurate perception; Accurate output) Checking and reflecting on your actions. Have you achieved your goal? What can you do next time to improve your aim? (Cognitive Functions: Evaluation of output; Meta-cognition)
A visit to the library The usual stuff Cognitive functions Don’t talk loudly Remember to bring the books back Choose another book Go to the counter and have the librarian stamp your book Take it home and read it. Reasons for quiet behaviour: reduced egocentric thinking Hypothetical thinking: if our library was bigger/ cleaner/ had a quiet reading room/ had a computer Planning: the layout of the library and the reasons for this Comparison: the different genres (fiction, biography etc); visit different libraries and compare how they are organised
Gardening projects How to make a garden Cognitive functions Prepare the soil Buy plants or take cuttings Dig a big enough hole Plant the plant firmly Water well Keep watering Reasons for having a garden: our intentions Planning the space: size, position, orientation Allocating time and labour Precision regarding budget, type of plants, water supply, tools, etc Comparison – choosing specific plants for specific purpose and place Hypothetical thinking: what if? (no water supply; a drought; vandalism) Projecting relationships: e.g. between the needs of the community and the ongoing care of the garden Clear communication to ensure teamwork Etcetera!!
Mediation vs. Teaching in a ‘dance for the disabled’ program (Icandance) TEACHING OF BEHAVIOUR Focus is on extrinsic motivation: if you behave well, I will reward you MEDIATION OF BEHAVIOUR Behaviour = choices (comparison) What do we need to do next? (sequence and order in time) Where do we need to go next? (orientation in space) Mediation of meaning and Intrinsic motivation: if I do this, I get to do more lovely stuff and it works better each time
A way forward? Apprenticeship and mentoring: shadowing an experienced educator (Rogoff, Apprenticeship in Thinking, 1990) The worm’s eye view: being local, the community makes its own way, taking the long view (Tim Harford, Adapt, chapter 4, 2011; Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed 1970, 1996) Publicity: raising public awareness
What would I wish to see? No more failed Bradleys Movies Fiction and children’s books TV programmes for children and their parents (like Sesame street) For those without a TV, programmes to be shown at schools Journalists: not what is wrong with this country and its education but “here is a magic potion” P.R. and lobbying groups Big business Politicians big and small
Fiction and movies Movies: The King’s Speech (stuttering) The Imitation Game (ASD) A Theory of Everything (MND) Fiction: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Mark Haddon(ASD) If I Could Tell You, Hannah Brown (ASD) Jason’s Secret, Ellen-Marie Silverman (stuttering) Black Swan Green, David Mitchell (stuttering) The Fault in our Stars, John Green (cancer) Silent Boy, Torey Hayden (child abuse) Joshy Finds his Voice, Cynthia Pelman (specific language disorder)
My attempt at raising awareness of Cognitive Education among the general public
Leading to?? A groundswell of public opinion making demands: “Why is this miracle only available to those who can pay for it?” A “tipping point”: a magic moment when new ideas cross a line, tip, and spread like wildfire “Going viral”; “Epidemic in action”
A ‘tipping point’ Malcolm Gladwell’s* concept: how do big ideas ‘go viral’? IE and MLE are big ideas which have not yet ‘gone viral’ At conferences like these we are talking to people who already know; how do we reach the broader public, the parents, the funders, the politicians, the policy-makers? *Gladwell, M. The Tipping Point. Abacus, 2000
How do we make something “go viral”? Ensure ‘contagion’: talk to people who have no connection with education (educators only talk to each other, the idea will never spread beyond the small group) Each person tells at least 4 others Find influential people to promote the idea (the networkers, the ones who are in the news, entertainers, comedians, footballers)