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Mediated learning experience for the intellectually disabled children
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Seng, S. H., & Wong, S. S. (2000, November/December). Mediated learning experience for the intellectually disabled children. Paper presented at the MINDS-UNESCAP Millennium Symposium on Intellectual Disability, Singapore.
A common concern raised by teachers of the intellectually disabled child is his/her apparent inability
or reluctance to think critically and creatively. Recent intervention studies suggest the importance of
a dynamic teaching method to modify and improve such cognitive functioning based on the theory of
mediated learning experience. This methodology was developed by an Israeli psychologist Professor
Reuven Feuerstein who had succeeded in using it to correct deficient cognitive functioning and to
enhance the learning capacity of the intellectually disabled to the extent of being able to train them to
serve in the army. The underlying philosophy of mediated learning experience is that the intellectually
disabled child's intelligence does not remain fixed throughout life. Feuerstein's innovative methods of
testing and teaching show how the intellectually disabled can change and be modified if provided with
the right kind of intervention. The strategy is to make them how to think, something which few thought
possible. This paper provides an understanding of Feuerstein's cognitive intervention programs and
mediated learning strategies which focus on the process of learning itself. The main goal is not the
learner's acquisition of information but the development, refinement and crystallization of those
cognitive functions that are prerequisites to effective thinking. Case studies of how the lives of
intellectually disabled children have been enhanced by mediated learning experience will be discussed.
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