DR. REUVEN FEUERSTEIN ON WHY INTELLIGENCE IS MODIFIABLE


PQ1: Belief in your fellow man makes you not accept that this individual is lost, that he will never change
PQ2: Learning how to learn is the most important thing to do in a world of total change

It was the young European Holocaust survivors in Israel that first inspired Professor Reuven Feuerstein to explore cognitive development, a field he has worked in for more than 60 years. “These children went through daily and repeated trauma,” explains the 90-year-old world-renowned cognitive psychologist. “There was no need for logical thinking. What can logic play in such a situation where everything is abnormal?”
Feuerstein is known for his groundbreaking work in cognitive modifiability; rejecting the idea that intelligence is fixed, he established the principle that all children can learn how to learn. Born in Romania in 1921, he moved to British-mandate Palestine in 1945, where he worked to rehabilitate these damaged and often misdiagnosed children and young people, many of whom were thought to be developmentally delayed. He then moved on to work with young immigrants from different countries who had also survived personal, cultural and societal deprivations and arrived—often alone—in Israel. “We couldn’t lose or give up on any of them,” says the professor almost 50 years later. “People were measured as to their cognitive processing, their capacity to adapt,” he says, noting that testers accepted the belief “that these tests indeed measured in an unavoidable way what this individual would ever be able to do.”
Feuerstein noticed that by interacting with the children rather than administering standardized tests to them, their results improved. He developed an unorthodox methodology and a theory about the human potential for modifiability, along with improved learning and functioning in the world, even for people with known genetic disorders such as Down syndrome. He founded the International Center for the Enhancement of Learning Potential (ICELP) in Jerusalem, currently run by his son, Rabbi Rafi Feuerstein. Now 90, the elder Feuerstein shows no signs of slowing down, helping assess young Ethiopian immigrants for the army and university, and analyzing what is needed for neuroplasticity in brain-injured people, the elderly and those suffering from dementia.

BRAIN WORLD: You worked against the conventional wisdom of the times, where educator and psychologist were taught that there are critical periods in development—if you don’t pick up a certain skill within the established critical period it won’t happen, and that evaluations and their results are static and unchanging.
REUVEN FEUERSTEIN: You must provide certain kinds and types of stimulation under certain conditions that lead to the modifiability of the brain. Structural cognitive modifiability overcomes the traditionally considered barriers to change—critical periods, severity of condition and etiology. These are no longer insurmountable barriers of change, due to the linkage between neural plasticity and cognitive modifiability interventions.

BW: The modifiability of the brain at different stages—that is the theory you founded, Structural Cognitive Modifiability (SCM).
RF: The theory of SCM basically postulated that individuals can be changed in terms of their cognitive processes in a structural way. This led me to develop a methodology for assessment [the Learning Assessment Propensity Device, or LAPD]; for treatment [the Mediated Learning Experience, or MLE]; and the Instrumental Enrichment Program [IEP] for use in the classroom. This methodology, which combined a different kind of assessment, along with adapted behavioral techniques and training, created such a strong effect and made such strong changes in people’s behavior, it was almost impossible not to speculate that must be something happening in the neurophysiology. But in the 1950s it was exactly that—speculation.
When I met with the great neurophysiologists of the time, Wilder Penfield and Karl Pribram, they said, “Yes, there must be something happening, but we have no way to prove it, and to talk about it in a speculative way would be almost heretical.”

BW: At first, many people didn’t trust your results.
RF: When trying to find placements for clients, I had to go to people and say, “Look, he looks like an idiot, but he’s not. Look, he doesn’t know reading, he’s 17, but he will learn.”

BW: So what have you learned from your testing?
RF: We have had an enormous opportunity to learn more about the way by which the brain functions on an individual level. If I can find, in some way, to limit what was described before as a global condition, I can find the modifiability in the individual. An individual may have great difficulty with change, but if I find the proper way to reach them, I may create or encourage modifiability, which makes the individual function better.

BW: So the MLE is a mechanism for creating change. When testing a person you teach them.
RF: If you can create change, you can then predict the potential or propensity for further change. The MLE is but a method in my interaction with you—not just to make you know something in a passive way but how to produce it, how to create it. I am not just passing to you information, but passing to you all you that you need to know in order to be able to learn by yourself. >>Please Subscribe for Full Article text<<





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4 Responses to DR. REUVEN FEUERSTEIN ON WHY INTELLIGENCE IS MODIFIABLE

  1. Pingback: Responsive Teaching – a Model for a Meaningful Learning « terryfish101

  2. Zerihun Kahsai says:

    Shalom Bebekash, Professor DR. REUVEN FEUERSTEIN
    In did you are brilliant man (man of our world ) I am really admired you! How long took you to prepare all these instruments? I am an Ethiopian who has Jews roots, government employee who is attending your instruments; I will write more about me in the future. Our instructor Leresa Ben Yahud is very genius. I like her very much. Your instruments help me a lot in different direction of life. I will write more in the future. Do you know what incited me to write you this message? I have many good ideas to help our children. So that, if possible would you please permit me to change (interpreted) all the instruments in our language. Sorry, of course I know that this is not official letter.
    I hope that due to your unstoppable effort. I wish one day you will win Novel Prize of education.
    I am waiting you positive response. Happy New year for you and your family!
    With best regards
    Jews lover, Zerihun Kahsai

  3. Been teaching special education for 16 years and having a research about kids with different disability until one day I came across Jan from Denmark and told me to read about the Rueven’s work and it really help me a lot. In every special kids I encounter I want to really ease the burden of their parents by helping the kids on my expertise by noting down their food intake ,how they were able to communicate with the people around them.I made IEP for each special kids.IN my school I got kids with Mental Retardation,Cerebral Palsy,ADD,ADHD,Autism ,Asperger Syndrome Speech Disability,Language Disorder,Dyslexia.How I wish I could go on to help this kids need to have fund for this.Some of this kids came from orphanage which I voluntarily give my expertise to this less fortunate kids.I know someday God will lead me the way to continue my service.Thank you Rueven Feurstein you are my angel on this regard.

  4. Congratulations Dr,Rueven Feurstein for being concern and dedicated perso you are giving more hope to all PWD’s.Hope and pray you cab still support those who need you most.Again Congratulations.!

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