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).
Another parameter of the Cognitive Map to use to pinpoint a student's strengths and possible causes of difficulties is the phase of the mental act. It is assumed that "language" involves not just oral speech but all aspects of the communication process. Speech and language specialists make an admittedly artificial distinction between input, elaboration and output for the purpose of seeing where, along this continuum of communication, a student might be experiencing difficulty.
An individual's abilities to receive, elaborate and express information can vary from one another in reliability. Any combination of strengths and weaknesses is possible.
How would a receptive language problem affect a student in class? Even though he may excel at reasoning, be able to make connections between concepts, and give oral speeches, if a student has difficulty taking in sounds and making sense of grammatical sentence structure, his ability to work with the information will be affected. This might result in taking more time to comprehend both oral and written language; it can also slow the reading process down quite a bit.
The teacher and student may agree upon methods for allowing the student to compensate for a receptive language problem by using a tape recorder during lecture or by using shared notes from a classmate; this ensures that all the information is preserved until the student can accurately process what has been given in class.
If the difficulty lies in expressive language, the teacher might work out ways to allow the student to have more time to process the question and formulate an answer during class discussion by calling on other students first, and by recommending the student to read ahead of the lecture and create questions on notecards to use in class discussion when relevant.
So it helps the teacher to keep these possibilities in mind while evaluating a student's true grasp of the subject. If a student with an expressive language difficulty were graded only on oral participation, his true knowledge and ability to work with the subject matter would not be accurately assessed. The student may be able to discuss these factors with the teacher in an office hour.
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.)