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Instrumental Enrichment

Program of the Los Angeles Unified School District
Division of Educational Services - Mathematics and Science

A Problem-Solving Intervention ProgramA

Alexina Hazzard-McIver Mathematics Resource Teacher

 

Instrumental Enrichment (IE) is a program researched and designed by an Israeli cognitive psychologist, Dr. Reuven Fuerestein, to facilitate and enhance a student's ability to learn. IE gives students the tools needed to solve problems in all subjects as they learn to become better problem solvers and thinkers.

IE is based on the theory that there are patterns in everything - reading, mathematics, oral and written language, music, art and history. The first lessons focus on teaching students to stop and think which enables them to focus, look deeply, and visualize the problem and patterns in the topic or task they are exploring before rushing forward. This information is used by the student to develop a specific plan to solve their problem. Once the plan is made, students are encouraged to solve the problem and then to evaluate the result. If the solution does not fit the task, students are encouraged to rethink the plan and to make appropriate changes. Mistakes are not punished - they are used as tools to refine thinking.

In Instrumental Enrichment the teacher is a facilitator, acting as a bridge maker spanning between the written page (assignment) and what the student is expected to learn. It is important that the teacher stays in the role of facilitator or mediator and does not give in to the temptation to give answers to the student. When questions are asked as students search for answers, the teacher poses probing questions that encourage the student to think through the possibilities and to choose a solution. The training a teacher receives provides for development or honing of the skills of facilitating and mediating.

Many teachers who are participating in the IE program have commented that they can tell when a student has been trained in IE because they have problem solving skills beyond the average student. They also observe more constructive behavior patterns especially in the context of helping others, positive interactions, encouraging others and managing their own materials.

IE is an effective supplemental curriculum used for intervention in cases where students have trouble learning, but it is also used to enhance academic and social success of all students. All learners can benefit from the main premise of the program - to facilitate and develop the ability to think.

For more information, contact Alexina Hazzard-McIver Mathematics Resource Teacher (310) 390-2441 amcgiver@lausd.k12.ca.us Los Angeles Unified School District, Division of Educational Services - Mathematics and Science

333 S. Beaudry, 25th Floor, 151-9 Los Angeles, CA 90017 Phone (213) 241-6420 Fax (213) 241-8469 www.lausd.k12.ca.us/lausd/offices/lasi