Teacher's Question of the Week
Q. What are some other ways to use the Cognitive Map to improve student learning?
A. In the Question of the Week series, we have been looking at Feuerstein's Cognitive Map (listed below for reference). This answer will focus upon levels of complexity, which means taking into account the following in relation to a lesson or task:
1. How many units of information must be integrated?
2. How many operations are involved?
3. How much new information must be generated?
1. Is this a novel task, one for which the learner lacks experience or background knowledge? Feuerstein noted that a person lacking in cultural knowledge, for example, might need to exert not equal but increased motivation to get the same results as peers. This needs to be taken into account when assessing performance and potential for learning.
of levels of complexity in terms of requirements of a lesson brings up the
issue of covert prerequisities. The parameter of levels of complexity helps
to identify both the overt, stated requirements, as well as reveals covert
prerequisites, those we often assume the student has in place. If they are
not in place for a certain reason, i.e., a processing deficit, second language,
lack of background or cultural experience, the student is not likely to be
able to learn very well. This leads to a question of how to make it accessible
for that student, which might involve lessening the level of complexity until
the covert requirements are in place, and then moving the student up to the
required level of mastery.
Background Information: What is the Cognitive Map?
The cognitive map provides an analytical tool by which to locate specific points of difficulty in a lesson for the ultimate purpose of drawing out students potentials. By pinpointing possible causes of student error, you can give precise feedback to students or make subtle adjustments in the lesson to increase accessibility.
The seven parameters include the following:
1. Content: subject matter.
Kinds of operations involved: eg., classification, algorithmic problem
solving, syllogistic, analogical, or inferential reasoning, etc. (the abilities
and skills activated by your lesson)
Modality or the language of instruction, presentation or
information processing: eg., visual, graphic, numerical, symbolic, verbal,
auditory, sign language, kinesthetic, tactile, etc.
Phase of the mental act: reception, elaboration, expression.
Level of complexity: number, quality, & degree of novelty of units.
Level of abstraction: distance between mental act & object or event
on which it operates, ranging from objects perceived by the senses to hypothetical
Level of efficiency: rapidity/precision (often confused with capacity).
will explore some other ways to use Feuerstein's Cognitive Map in the Question
of the Week series.
Source: Reuven Feuersteins Learning Potential Assessment Device. (Used with permission.)