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Participation in teacher training in two cognitive education programs : an exploratory and descriptive analysis Weir, Adele J.

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to examine the training, implementation and outcomes of Feuerstein's Instrumental Enrichment (FIE) and Bright Start-A Cognitive Curriculum for Young Children from the perspective of the teachers involved. The research was conducted by means of a survey distributed to all elementary schools in Vancouver and included 8 selected individual interviews. The 48 responding teachers had participated in a total of 114 training sessions, reflecting multiple trainings for 28 of the respondents. FIE and Bright Start were used in some way by about one third of the survey respondents, while Dynamic Assessment was used by over half of the respondents. Participants indicated a high use of mediated learning (MLE) and there were indications that MLE alone is having positive effects on teachers' practice. Factors that motivated teachers' participation in these trainings were: 1) school support 2) positive word-of-mouth-reports from friends and colleagues; 3) a search for improvements to teaching skills; 4) a match to a teacher's personal style. Suggestions for training improvement included: 1) better organization of the instructional time and materials; 2) improvements to the delivery of the training; 3) offering training in various formats; 4) increased opportunities for practice; 5) options for post-training support. Factors that positively influenced use of training included: 1) training in more than one program; 2) team teaching; 3) student success; 4) school support. Factors identified as not supportive of implementation included: 1) lack of post-training support; 2) isolation; 3) difficulties with the materials and manuals; 4) time limitations; 5) changes in teaching assignments. Suggestions to support increased use in schools included: 1) increasing the number of trained people in each school; 2) options for posttraining support; 3) including the programs in Learning Centers; 4) increasing publicity. Outcomes for teachers included a sense of improved teaching skills, an increase in positive attitudes towards students ability to learn, and more awareness of students' learning needs. These programs appear to offer teachers a valuable classroom option.

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