When students experience difficulties in academic subjects, such as math, literature, history, and science, they are frequently unrelated to the topic. Information is often misprocessed at the input stage, meaning that an error on a math problem may have nothing to do with math but rather difficulty paying attention to two sources of information simultaneously. An inability to write an essay could be unrelated to poor writing aptitude but rather a failure in the writer’s planning function. This phenomenon leads to gaps in achievement that continue to grow because the underlying issue, the learning ability gaps, goes unaddressed in standard educational curricula.
The Instrumental Enrichment program aims to close learning gaps, helping learners avoid mistakes by enhancing their learning skills. Students learn new ways of thinking by completing tasks such as comparison, classification, analysis and synthesis, orientation in space and time, and hypothetical reasoning. Armed with these new strategies for examining problems, learners “bridge” these new strategies to curricular subjects and problem-solve in their everyday lives. With the acquisition of new concepts, cognitive operations, and metacognition skills come increased motivation for learning, self-regulation, and a shift in attitude, transforming a passive learner into an active one with a positive outlook!