Feuerstein’s Instrumental Enrichment (FIE)
Instrumental Enrichment (IE) is a cognitive education
program that was developed in the 1970’s by Professor
Reuven Feuerstein. The program has been successfully
used in seventy countries as a tool for the enhancement
of learning potential in challenged individuals and
those in high-risk environments. IE materials are organized
into instruments that comprise paper and pencil tasks
aimed at such specific cognitive domains such as comparative
behaviour, classification, analysis, inferencing, etc. The IE program
is mediated by a certified IE instructor and can be
implemented in the classroom setting or as individual
tutoring. The Instrumental Enrichment program has received
world wide recognition and has been translated into
Mastery of the tasks in Instrumental Enrichment is
never a matter of rote learning or mere reproduction
of a learned skill. It always involves the application
of rules, principles, or strategies in a variety of
tasks. Thus, IE systematically reinforces the cognitive
functions that enable learners to define problems, make
connections and see relationships, motivate themselves,
and improve their work habits.
how to learn takes place through repetition –
not repetition of the IE tasks themselves, but of the
cognitive functions that enable individuals to think
effectively. Tasks become increasingly complex and abstract,
and the instruments reinforce cognitive functions in
a cyclical manner. Deliberately free of specific subject
matter, the IE tasks are intended to be more readily
transferable to all life situations.
Bright Start is a flexible cognitive curriculum for young
children, designed for use with children functioning at developmental
levels from 3 to 6 years, including those who are ‘normally
developing’, those who are sociologically at risk of
and those who have low IQs. The primary goal of Bright Start
is one of ‘stretching the mind’, that is, broadening
children’s understanding and thinking processes, thereby
increasing their educability. It is a structured approach,
with strong emphasis on the child’s induction of rules
and explanatory concepts. Teachers emphasise the orderliness
and predictability of the world, beginning with principles
of organisation, rule following, rule making, rule applying,
and the systematic processes required for orderly perception,
analysis, understanding, learning, and problem solving. Children
Conform their behaviour to internalised
standards for rational reasons
Perceive the existence of problems
Identify processes for finding solutions
Apply those processes according to logical
Abandon unsuccessful strategies to seek
Be critical of their own solutions
Offer logical support of their thinking,
learning and problem-solving processes
Bright Start can also be used with small groups of children.
A Speech-Language Pathologist, for instance, may want to work
with the classroom teacher by providing Bright Start training
to a smaller group of students as part of the Bright Start
The term ‘Dynamic Assessment’ has become recognized
as a generic term applied to a pre-test – intervene
– post-test approach to assessment. It differs from
normative assessment in that it is specifically constructed
to yield information about how a student learns and about
what factors are able to produce changes in the student’s
‘Dynamic Assessment’ is not intended to produce
scores comparing students to each other, but it is designed
to produce scores comparing pre and post-test performance
(gain scores). In this way the student is compared to him/herself.
The most important aspect of Dynamic Assessment, however,
is what happens in the intervention phase. Intervention is
most meaningful and successful when it takes the form of Mediated
Learning, a type of interaction that is goal-directed, fosters
connections between new learning and what a student already
knows, helps apply new learning to academic subjects and to
life experience, and creates feelings of competence.
In Mediated Learning, the learning experience is a shared
experience. In this context intervention implies working to
success. Normative assessment is always constructed in such
a way that the testing is discontinued after a certain number
of successive failures, e.g. wrong answers, no responses.
In Dynamic Assessment, the criterion for stopping a test is
when a student has achieved success. Consequently, the test
experience is an extremely positive experience for both the
assessor and the test taker. It is because of this that Dynamic
Assessment in and of itself often serves as a catalyst for
long-term change, even though it has never been intended for
The tools (tests) used in Dynamic Assessment are called instruments.
The Learning Propensity Assessment Device (LPAD) and the Dynamic
Assessment of Young Children (DAYC) are two sets of such instruments.
The are constructed to assess a wide range of functioning
(ranging from memory and attention processes and need for
precision to higher level thinking processes, such as hypothetical
reasoning, as well as to output functions, such as use of
precise language), in visual, figural, numerical and language
modalities. They are relatively culture-free and require only
limited content knowledge. They are, thus, uniquely suited
to students from different cultures or students of low socio-economic
background. In any case, the assessor is free during the intervention
phase to teach concepts, language and background knowledge,
Most of the instruments can also be used for group assessment,
making Dynamic Assessment not only a rich and positive experience,
but also a cost effective means of assessment.
In order to begin the Dynamic Assessment journey, training
is required (about 1 week), in the theoretical foundations,
the administration and interpretation of the instruments,
in mediated learning and in reporting the results.
The ‘payoffs’ can be manifold, and range from
an increase in skills to greater understanding of cognitive
functions to renewed joy in the assessment process. It is,
in the end, as much a professional as a personal journey.
Parents as Mediators
Parents learn how to use the
principles of mediated learning to facilitate their childrens'
social, emotional and cognitive development using daily life
events and the families' cultural heritage. This program is
offered from time to time at parents' request.
Please phone to inquire about tutors in your area. Most tutors
will work in the home, some tutoring occurs at the Centre.
We employ mediation and cognitive program tutoring.