The Feuerstein method facilitates learning and concentration and therefore proves to be a good ally in case of difficulties of the child in these areas. Here are some activities to do at home too
The Feuerstein method and learning disabilities
Faced with a diagnosis of learning disorder, parents wonder how they can be an effective support in their child’s school career. Animated by good intentions, they often search for a “miraculous” method that can solve all problems, with the only result of getting lost in different tools. The truth is that there are so many approaches they can contribute to improve learning processes of children and only a multidisciplinary vision allows you to adapt to the needs of your child. Among the useful resources there is also the Feuerstein method, as the educator explains Barbara Chendi.
In this article
What is the Feuerstein method
The Feuerstein method is one of the first metacognitive approaches to appear in education and rehabilitation and is based on the Theory of Structural Cognitive Modifiability, according to which all human beings can change and “learn to learn”. «The method – explains the expert – is suitable for all cognitive difficulties: intellectual disabilities, Alzheimer’s, learning disorders, but also adults who for work have to organize and manage large amounts of information and enhance problem solving. The child learns if he is exposed to stimuli and between him and the stimulus there is the mediator, a figure who organizes inputs to facilitate learning: he does so by concentrating on processes, to create not knowledge but autonomy and skills ». This is why the Feuerstein method is much more than a study method, but rather a way to learn to reason useful primarily in everyday life.
What are DSAs and why the Feuerstein method can help
Specific learning disorders (ASDs) refer to a wide range of problems related to the way some people receive and process information. There is no cognitive delay. These people simply struggle to learn the conventional way because they have one difficulty or ailment specifically with numbers, letters or organization of thought: that is, by mixing the bases of knowledge, they learn in a different way from others ». The most common problems are those inherent in reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia and dysorthography), and calculation (dyscalculia). “The Feuerstein method is an aid because it enhances cognitive skills, classification and comparison, organization and selection of data, concentration: the PAS Basic, for example, deals with relationships, shapes and numbers and can therefore be useful for those who struggle to put letters and categories in sequence “.
How to apply the Feuerstein method every day
The Feuerstein method is based above all on a very specific approach to the relationship with the child: «The interaction between any adult and a child becomes mediation when the adult implements some basic attitudes. The ideal would be that these ways of behaving are applied at all times of the day and not just while helping a child to doing homework“.
- Do not deliver, but share it. Engage the child as an active part in what you have to do, be it an exercise or a housework: “Ask him” What should we do? “. Then ask him to think about all the sequential actions necessary to complete the task: in this way you develop his planning skills. Remember that all daily actions are complex processes that can help him in this ».
- Stimulate him in problem solving. «Do not present him with ready-made solutions to put into practice, but ask him” How could we do to …? “. This stimulates his reasoning but starting from a certificate of trust that motivates him and increases his self-esteem. Do it even with practical problems, like putting all the vegetables in the fridge: get help to fit everything, as if it were a puzzle ».
- Always give meaning to the process. After analyzing a process and putting it into practice, the action performed will give meaning to the effort made. “Reflect with them on why you did something, what it will do for them in the future. It is important to give them motivation and arouse interest, so their mind will go beyond the learned concept and embody it in concrete life. For example, tell them that knowing how to count is useful for shopping. “
- Find the general rule. The Feuerstein method calls it bridging and represents the final phase of each card that is submitted during lessons with a mediator: “This is the moment of generalization, in which we try to extract from the exercise done the rule always applies: it can be done after every daily activity, such as making a pizza. The steps are similar to those for assembling an object, because you have checked the ingredients (the pieces), you have followed a chronological order of deliveries, you have checked the final outcome ».
- Enhance the performances and not the results. School is still a too competitive system today, in which grades and therefore results count. «It is essential instead to focus on performances, that is on the skills and abilities acquired and on improvements. Learn to tell your child “Bravo, only three mistakes!” or “Congratulations, this question was really difficult and you asked it right” ».
Feuerstein exercises and activities that can also be done at home
The application of the Feuerstein method takes place through the instrument of the PAS (Instrumental Enrichment Program), that is a series of paper and pencil cards that gradually increase in complexity submitted only by professional mediators. However, there are several activities that you can offer your children at home.
- Multisensory activities. A problem with the school system is that knowledge passes almost exclusively through language and theory, but for those who struggle more this represents a criticality. Make your child learn with all the senses: «Let him touch hidden figures, geometric or not, to understand their shape; or while you cook let them recognize the smells of the ingredients. These are activities that also train concentration and memory ».
- Organization of points. A series of Feuerstein cards concern this tool, which consists in connecting apparently unconnected points together, thus identifying figures: “These cards reinforce hypothetical and inferential thinking because they develop the ability to identify virtual relationships between unrelated elements, phenomena or events , then to give an order to the world to create a coherent system of information and give them meaning ».
- Games of categorization and differentiation. “Put 3 different shoes in a basket and let the child match them, then ask him why he decided to …