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Title: An exploratory study of the benefits of a thinking skills programme, Cognitive Enrichment Advantage, informed by the needs of pupils identified with special educational needs
Author: Armitage, Johanna
ISNI:       0000 0004 2703 9722
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2003
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Trends towards inclusion have been accompanied by a steady increase in the number of pupils identified with special educational needs (SEN) in mainstream schools. At the same time there has been a growing interest in the idea of thinking skills. One of the earliest programmes for developing thinking skills was Instrumental Enrichment (Feuerstein, 1980) to help children with learning difficulties. Despite an initial focus on pupils with SEN, thinking skills programmes now focus mainly on the general benefits. This study aimed to explore the benefits of teaching thinking to pupils identified with SEN with the programme Cognitive Enrichment Advantage (Greenberg, 2000), a programme that can be introduced into mainstream classes. The research was in three parts. In Part One, semi-structured interviews and a reading task indicated the types of difficulties nine twelve-year-old pupils experienced in lessons. Results suggested that learning difficulties and lack of confidence were preventing these pupils engaging in the learning process constructively. In Part Two, the same pupils were withdrawn from lessons and observed taking part in a ten-week programme of Cognitive Enrichment Advantage (CEA). Strategies to learn effectively, such as using a more systematic and planned approach to work, were observed to increase. The pupils reported improved feelings of confidence and exhibited greater autonomy and motivation. In Part Three, CEA was introduced into a physical, health and social education (PHSE) module for pupils of fourteen-years-old. Lesson observations and evaluations from pupils and teachers indicated that pupils identified with SEN had become more aware of how they learned and were planning their work more systematically. The pupils reported feeling more confident in examinations. The teachers were observed to manage group work in ways that encouraged greater participation of pupils identified with SEN and teachers reported use of mediation skills that were also likely to benefit these pupils. I concluded that the study demonstrated that introducing CEA into mainstream classrooms could be beneficial for pupils with learning difficulties, but to meet multifaceted pedagogic needs, other approaches that infused thinking skills across the curriculum should also be considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available