Using I.E. in English as the medium for learning ESL & I.E.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ( The theory behind the magic )


The primary contention of this paper is that a person can be taught ( C.A.L.P - Cognitive Academic Learning Proficiency) to develop complex cognitive skills in a foreign language even though he/she hasn't yet acquired (B.I.C.S) basic interpersonal communication skills in that language, and even though he/she rarely if ever C.A.L.P.S. in his/her native language.†† That as a result, he/she will develop the language needed for both B.I.C.S. and C.A.L.P.S., in both languages, as he/she improves all cognitive functioning.


I.E. is a marvelous, medium for the acquisition of English for Speakers of other Languages (ESL), or any acquired additional language, primarily because I.E. is I.E.†† --- (There is an explanation of the history of I.E. as described by itís designers, on page 4.† I use I.E. in combination with materials that I have developed, which make the materials more relevant to the populations that I work with.)


As such, it contributes all those things which I.E. contributes to every learning experience. Teaching I.E. in a foreign language affords us an opportunity to give the benefits of I.E. to the foreign language student, and a foreign language to the I.E. student for almost the same investment of time and money as for only one of the two. Moreover, English has become the language of international communication. Its mastery is almost as essential to success in the 21st century as are the other skills we develop in I.E. If a Japanese wants to do business with a Brazilian, they speak to each other in English, and they can both learn I.E. in English from the same teacher, using the same materials.


However, the question still remains.† How is it possible, for someone to learn I.E. in English,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††if he/she doesn't understand English?????††††


The answer has 2 major components:

The first component, is that the I.E. course starts with simple graphic representations, and assumes little previous knowledge or vocabulary

††† Students can comprehend the ideas, in spite of the fact, that they are not familiar with many of the words. Vocabulary is developed as needed, and every important word is defined within the new language (English), as they would be in the native language.


In essence, the same qualities of I.E. which permit us to use it, in the native language, with low functioning students, permit the foreign language student to understand it.



The second component comes from an understanding of language acquisition, that has become accepted, since the discoveries made by Noam Chomsky in the 1950s. Even those who believe that he went too far, in his description of the "universal grammar", accept the fact, that language learning is based on a built in mechanism for its acquisition.


We do not learn language in a logical linear pattern, as we do mathematics.† Rather, we absorb it.† We are often unaware of when things crystallize, and we don't know how the acquisition occurs, but we do know that the most effective techniques for effecting language learning involve immersion teaching something else in the language.


If we look at the kinds of mistakes that children make, when learning their native language, we see that most of the mistakes they make are concerned with over generalizing rules that they have never been taught. A 3 year old Israeli will hear the word festival and return pis-ti-val", because, in Hebrew the letter "F" at the beginning of a word is accented and becomes "P". But, a 3 year old doesn't know how to read and write, and has never been taught the grammar rules which govern these changes.†


The same structure in a language can be acceptable or not depending on the context. We all know when we can or cannot use them, but few of us can explain why:

††††††††††† He signed the contract without reading†† (it)†††††† -†† is understood.

††††††††††† The rock killed John by falling on (him).††††† ††††††-†† doesn't make sense.


Every animal has an inborn instinct to communicate with others of his/her own species. So, we should not be surprised that human animals have an inborn instinct to communicate in human languages?† We can observe a half-hour conversation between 2 dogs.† We are able to understand the periphery of the interaction. Are they angry? Who is the dominant? We canít understand the details.† Similarly dogs can be taught to respond to a few words, and can certainly ďsenseĒ our moods, but they canít hold a real conversation with us.† Gorillas, on the other hand, have been taught sign language, and in turn teach it to their offspring.


By teaching I.E. in a foreign language, we are simulating the conditions under which the mother tongue was acquired.† We are creating a situation where the meaning is clear, and the concept is developed before the label is assigned.


Rather than doing artificial exercises, the learner is encouraged express his/her own ideas, and must pay attention to ideas expressed by others in the new language. Because the "content" is I.E., the learners really have something to say.

The association of a word in the second language is directly with concept not through translation.† If the concept is new, the equivalent expression will be very easy to acquire, when it is needed, in native language conversation. Think of the sophisticated language used in childrenís stories. The children have no problem following the stories, in spite of the difficult vocabulary and grammar.† On the contrary, the more they hear or read such stories, the more they enrich their language ability.† One reason is that approximately 80% of the words we use, are redundant.


We also know that language acquisition is effected by many affective factors. Most learners are highly motivated to learn English, and are familiar with many English words from cognates and from the environment. By providing a totally unthreatening atmosphere, and emphasizing the message rather than the form, the learner feels free to express him/herself, and quickly makes passive language active.† The concepts learned in I.E. plus the input from other students and teacher add new depth and breadth to the existing concepts.† Moreover, because we are talking I.E., the learner is highly motivated to speak. The fact that the exercises are challenging and engaging, entices the learner into letting down his/her defenses, and breaks down affective barriers to communication.† It involves the learner at the most profound levels of thought (meta-cognition), while at the same time playing with the challenge of puzzles and games. The learner finds it very difficult to ďnot get involved".


The same paths in the brain, which are used to try to comprehend the concept for its own sake, become a very effective device for remembering the words associated with the concept in English; because the words are connected to the whole process of deduction. The intensity of this activity sends masses of blood and electricity to the brain cells involved, stimulating the whole area, and bringing other forgotten English terms to active status. In the mean time, the student develops the need for the new concepts in his/her everyday life, and searches out the words in the native language to express them, whether or not those words were an active part of the studentís vocabulary beforehand. Thus, the time and energy invested pay much more than double.†


The more the communication is relevant and vital to the speaker, the more quickly the language is acquired. I.E. fosters involvement and excitement. Teaching it in English maximizes the learning of the language while bringing the benefits of I.E. to all facets of the learner's life. It works like "magic", but it is really, just the compound effect of 2 proven techniques, which catalyze and reinforce each other




The International Center for the Enhancement

of Learning Potential

The Hadassah-WIZO-Canada Research Institute

What is the Instrumental Enrichment (I.E.) Program?

Feuerstein's Instrumental Enrichment Program Instrumental Enrichment (FIE) is a cognitive education program that was begun in the 1950s by Professor Reuven Feuerstein. The program has been successfully used in seventy countries as a tool for the enhancement of learning potential in specially challenged individuals and those living in environments requiring high levels of adaptation. This latter criterion extends the importance of FIE to large groups of otherwise norm ally functioning individuals in industry, corporations and teaching professions.

FIE is a classroom curriculum designed to enhance the cognitive functions necessary for academic learning and achievement. The fundamental assumption of the program, based on the theory and research pioneered by Professor Reuven Feuerstein is that intelligence is dynamic and modifiable, not static or fixed. Thus the program seeks to correct deficiencies in fundamental thinking skills, provide students with the concepts, skills, strategies, operations and techniques necessary to function as independent learners, to diagnose and to help students learn how to learn.

FIE materials are organized into instruments that comprise paper-and- pencil tasks aimed at such specific cognitive domains as analytic perception, orientation in space and time, comparative behavior, classification, and more. The FIE program is mediated by a certified FIE trainer and can be implemented in the classroom setting or as an individual tutoring and remedial teaching device. The Instrumental Enrichment program has received worldwide recognition and has bee n translated into 18 languages, with more lined up for application.

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, FIE systematically reinforces the cognitive functions that enable learners to define problems, make connections and see relationships, motivate themselves, and improve their work habits.

Instrumental Enrichment consists of fourteen instruments that focus on specific cognitive functions. Learning how to learn takes place through repetition -- not repetition of the FIE tasks themselves, but of the cognitive functions and applications underlying the task at hand. Tasks become increasingly complex and abstract, and the instruments reinforce cognitive functions in a cyclical manner. Deliberately free of specific subject matter, the FIE tasks are intended t o be more readily transferable to all life situations. Through FIE, students develop the ability to apply their cognitive functions to any problem or thinking situation.

By clicking on the titles below, the viewer will see a sample from each of the fourteen instruments in the Instrumental Enrichment program. Each sample describes an instrument, provides a summary of the cognitive processes the instrument addresses, and presents a task from the instrument. The sample tasks have been chosen randomly from the sequence of tasks in each instrument and do not necessarily reflect the development of the program.