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OMG, TMI! READ ASAP!

OMG, TMI! READ ASAP!

September 17, 2020

By Richard Marquez, President/CEO, Texans Can Academies

If there was ever a time when using an acronym was justified, Texans Can Academies’ hallmark school curriculum system is it. The Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment program – or for my purposes today, just FIE — is the consummate system for child education and development. Anyone who knows me will attest that I am a zealous crusader for this landmark learning model first developed by child psychologist and world-renown Israeli researcher, Reuven Feuerstein. While working with orphans who had survived the holocaust, Professor Feuerstein developed the FIE program, which today is widely recognized and utilized by schools and institutions throughout Europe.

Years ago, I became interested in the term Meta-Cognitive development, and that led me to the work of Dr. Feuerstein. I immediately appreciated the idea that there is hope for all of us to improve our cognitive condition. I learned that no one had to accept what had been previously diagnosed, or misdiagnosed, by others.  Individuals did NOT have to “learn to live with the conditions we had and make the best of it.” Through many hours of training, I can attest that I have personally seen children transformed through the use of Dr. Feuerstein’s work.

The principle tenet of Feuerstein’s eponymous program is, in simple terms, that the human brain can be rewired. I consider this idea a remarkable tool for us at Texans Can Academies. Many of our students come to us because a traditional school setting and/or learning technique is not optimal for them. Kids are often falling further and further behind their peers due to setbacks in the classroom, problems understanding, and different learning styles. We discover that the majority of students falling behind have not developed the proper skills to learn.

The FIE program provides the structure to break down barriers in the classroom and in curriculum and give students ways to learn that fit them. Most of the remarkable strides we have made over the past 9 years at our 14 Texans Can Academies throughout the state are directly attributable to our commitment to the FIE education model. My well-documented personal belief that our country’s absolute moral imperative to educate our youth is undoubtedly present in Feuerstein’s creed that regardless of age, socio-economic status, cultural backgrounds or disability, a person’s cognitive function can improve. Every child deserves every chance to succeed, and some require several chances.

The FIE program aims to enhance the cognitive skills of students, especially those with learning differences, behavioral issues and special needs. It enhances the cognitive functions needed for academic learning through a series of exercises and mediation techniques. Through these tasks, the learner gains the knowledge and tools required to improve their ability to actively learn.

Most importantly, the new skills gained through FIE are readily transferred to one’s life.  Students learn to problem solve not only formulas or test questions but also the problems they encounter in their daily lives.  They learn how to not react impulsively but to become self-sufficient thinkers which is an invaluable trait for all of us.

FIE’s entire system and delivery is based on human interaction. Our students particularly crave human interaction to be recognized and valued and therefore make and see progress in their studies.

With the inevitable lag in education many children across the nation are going to experience due to COVID-19 and prolonged on-line learning, the principals of FIE are more important than ever.  At Texans Can, we will continue FIE through our online learning systems and are preparing for it to be used and needed more than ever once our students return to the classroom.

I’m particularly proud that Texans Can Academies is currently the largest organization in the U.S. utilizing the FIE program, as well as sharing it with other institutions who are interested in adopting it. The Texans Can Academies’ administrators, faculty and counselors can share countless student success stories about FIE. We watch in awe as our students change from passive recipients of information to confident, active learners. It is a method that has proven it can significantly impact the lives of students as lifelong learners.

FYI, IMO, FIE FTW! TTYL!

(For your information, in my opinion, Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment for the win! Talk to you later!)

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