Why we trained all our teaching and support staff to teach our children using the Feuerstein Enrichment Programme.
“Shall we give the child what he needs now, irrespective of what he needs later, or shall we give the child what is needed later irrespective of what is needed today?” Reuven Feuerstein
At St Robert Bellarmine we believe that, whilst recognising the importance of the naturally occurring experiences of the child, we have a responsibility to mediate life’s experiences to prepare them for a successful future.
The PSHE Association describes personal, social, health and economic learning as 'learning through which children and young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives, now and in the future.' We are determined to make sure our children and young people have the skills they need to grow up as healthy individuals who can make informed decisions about their lives.
We believe strongly that emotional health and wellbeing are necessary to being a good learner. Pupils who are anxious, angry or depressed don’t learn; pupils who are in these states do not take in information efficiently or deal with it well and we have decided to use the Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment Programme to help us create a bespoke curricular response to address this issue.
Our PSHE curriculum recognises that some of our children will gain the emotional awareness they need developmentally as they experience life at home, in school and within the wider community, however, it also recognises that some of our children will need school to intervene and mediate their learning so that they can interact with, understand and construct their life experiences in a positive light.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” (Atticus Finch. ‘To kill a Mocking Bird’)
We believe that children’s emotional growth and their cognitive development are inextricably linked, they are the two sides of the same coin. Children’s emotional responses to the world around them can block or enable their learning and the Feuerstein intervention programme allows the teacher to mediate those emotional experiences in a way that will build confidence and resilience in the child.
In days gone by our children experienced life in a different way. They lived closer to nature and witnessed its inevitable cycles, they observed things being made from beginning to end, they were more involved with the processes that saw things being built, bread being baked and crops grown. Today’s children have become distant from the processes that lead to the formation of knowledge. They live in a great technological age that they take for granted. They don’t ask questions, they take things for granted, they see the most remarkable things (an aircraft taking off into flight) without enquiring “How is that possible?” And it is this void in development and understanding that we are determined to bridge using the FIE Basic Programme regularly.
Our programme includes the following instruments:
Organisation of dots which promotes the following skills and attributes in the child
Need for precision
Following the rules
Restraint. The child has to resist the pressure to be impulsive
Clear perception and attention to detail
Orientation in space which promotes the following skills and attributes in the child:
An ability to be flexible and aware in a complex changing environment
To develop spatial vocabulary
To improve scanning and searching for relevant information
To identify different spatial relationships
To improve general spatial orientation in the larger environment
From unit to group which promotes the following skills and attributes in the child:
This tool prepares the child to have a mathematical understanding as a foundation to more formal teaching
Concept of units as part of a group
Flexibility within groups
Concept of summation
Relationships between groups
Identifying emotions which promotes the following skills and attributes in the child:
Thinking about emotions, understanding their appropriateness in a variety of social and behavioural situations
Expanding awareness of emotional expression and bridging from awareness to specific behavioural experience
Enriching the content of the learner’s experience, transmission of culture
A way of interacting to increase the learner’s interest and engagement
Elaborating and expanding of various situational elements in experience
Regulation of behaviour (“Think before you act.”)
Creating the process of socialisation
Induce different reactions to situations that involve violence or potentially hostile/aggressive responding
From empathy to action which promotes the following skills and attributes in the child:
Improved social awareness
Improved understanding of emotions and how they shape behaviour
Development of that human reaction we call empathy
Compare and contrast the absurd which promotes the following skills and attributes in the child:
Create a systematic process of comparison
To equip the learner with the superordinate concepts that organise and differentiate information (size, shape etc)
To create systematic scanning/searching processes to gather dater
To strengthen the ability to deal with several sources of information at the same time
To develop flexibility in thinking
To work systematically
Each year group has worked together at an age appropriate stage to create some general principles to show children to “Learn how to learn”.