Enhancing thinking for students in new times: A cognitive modifiability approach

Year: 1997

Author: Tan, Oon Seng

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Unprecedented breakthroughs in technology and constant changes in many aspects of life call for our students to be highly adaptable. Such adaptability calls for a high degree of cognitive and affective skills. What can we incorporate in our curriculum to help students enhance their capacity to think and learn both now and in "new times"?

The paper will share on the rationale, philosophy, content and methodology of an intervention to enhance thinking skills. The intervention was piloted by the presenter for first year engineering students at a polytechnic.

The theoretical foundations of the intervention are based primarily on Feuerstein's Theory of Structural Cognitive Modifiablity. Samples of intervention strategies will be demonstrated and explained. These strategies involve the use of exercises to bring about self-reflection, critical awareness and meta-cognition as well as thinking tools and models to enable participants to be more effective problem-solvers and creative initiators and applicators of ideas. The thinking processes addressed in the intervention include areas such as perception, planning behaviours, precision of thought, use of classification and categorising, broadness of mental field, orientation towards logical evidences, inferential-hypothetical thinking, positive mental habit formation, analytical and divergent thinking.