Feuerstein method, the complete guide

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Flintstone method

Il method flint it is known and practiced all over the world and is spreading more and more also in Del Paese. But what exactly does it consist of? He explains it to us Liliana Gravaghi, psychologist expert in learning difficulties e applicator of the Feuerstein method at the Cooperative Atelier of Thoughts of our city.

In this article

  • Chi era Reuven Feuerstein
  • Intelligence according to Feuerstein
  • What is the Feuerstein method
  • Who is a Feuerstein broker and what does he do
  • How the Feuerstein method works
  • For whom is the Feuerstein method suitable
  • How to access the Feuerstein method

Medodo Flint: chi era Reuven Flint

The Feuerstein method is named after its creator, the Israeli psychologist Reuven Feuerstein. Born in the city in 1921, he became a pupil of the Swiss psychologist and pedagogist Jean Piaget (among the first scholars of the cognitive development of the child) before living the terrible experience of the Nazi concentration camps. "Feuerstein developed his method starting from the 1992s precisely to recover the many children who, following the events of the Second World War, had psychological trauma, cognitive deficiencies and learning difficulties similar to mental retardation" explains the expert. "Reuven Feuerstein was a professor of psychology and pedagogy in Israel and the United States and since XNUMX he has founded and directed the Flint Institute of Jerusalem, the only body that supplies the tools and accredits the Feuerstein Centers in the world ».

Intelligence according to Feuerstein

The Feuerstein method is based oninnovative conception of intelligence developed by the scholar: "Intelligence is modifiable: can be developed, strengthened and trained. This is because, according to Feuerstein, intelligence is a set of mental processes, "the organism's propensity to change its cognitive structure, in response to the need to adapt to new stimuli, whether of internal or external origin", citing his words".


His Theory of Structural Cognitive Modifiability is based on this assumption: "All human beings, according to Reuven Feuerstein, can learn to learn. Everyone can change and learn at any moment of their life ». If intelligence can therefore be learned, does it mean that one is not born intelligent, but becomes one? "Not exactly. Intelligence is largely determined by genetic inheritance, but the Feuerstein method emphasizes how it is is always editable and improvable. In this sense, Reuven Feuerstein's famous phrase "chromosomes do not have the last word" should be read: even a very serious child can improve. For us the phrase "you will never make it" does not exist ».

Read also: 11 tips to train children's intelligence

What is the Feuerstein method

The Feuerstein method therefore allows to increase the ability to learn through a series of cognitive enhancement exercises. Such exercises do not take place alone, but through interaction with a mediator, that is, a person able to accompany the reasoning.


«The learning of a person can take place in two ways - explains Dr. Gravaghi - For autonomous subjects and without deficits it takes place through direct exposure to stimuli, in an accidental and unplanned way. For example, a child only needs direct observation from parents to understand how to answer the phone. Other times, however, the process is passive and requires mediation, that is, a human figure who stands between the stimulus and the child to facilitate his understanding and emulation ».

Read also: Learning techniques: this way you can learn anything

Who is a Feuerstein broker and what does he do

In this broad sense, mediators can be all adults who relate to the child: first and foremost parents, teachers, grandparents and of course also professionals experienced in the Feuerstein method, the only ones who can apply the PAS tool (see below). «The important thing is that when faced with a problem they never replace the child and do not give answers, but only ask questions to make him reflect on the process. As a scaffold supports the construction of a house - but it is a temporary structure and is not part of the house itself - so the mediator joins the child to support the learning and has the aim of mediating less and less until it is no longer necessary".


According to the Feuerstein method, the interaction between any adult and the child becomes mediation when the adult implements three basic criteria:

  1. Mediation of intentionality and reciprocity. «The mediator must express to the child the intention to create a relationship with him. Capture her gaze, create physical contact or proximity, speak with a regulated tone of voice, emphasize some words, use non-verbal language and facial expressions, remove any sources of distraction for the child from the environment. The message is "I am here for you, now I ask you to do this exercise because I want to help you. I want to establish a relationship and work with you and I would like you to want to work with me too, to listen to me". I cannot expect the child to change if I do not tell him that I want changes from him and that I am there with and for him ». In short, the relationship stimulates the child to do better as if he were thinking to himself: "if you ask me, then I'll try".
  2. Mediation of transcendence. «The mediator must go beyond the immediate activity he is carrying out, he must move the experience that the child is experiencing" here and now "in other contexts and situations. That is, he asks the child to think about other experiences similar to the one he is having, for example answering the phone can be similar to answering the intercom. If I limit myself to making the method sheet, I do not accompany the child to change, but if I can make him make connections with other experiences, this small activity will really be useful for the future as well.
    This activity, said bridging, is the fundamental core of the Feuerstein method. That is why at the end of the work page we ask the child to formulate a principle or a generalization. For example, if we worked on classification, let's try to say what it means to classify in general: it means to divide according to categories. A similar situation can be when the mother divides the laundry into socks and T-shirts ». The path is from the detail of the work sheet to the general principle, to then return to many details different from the one exemplified in the sheet. The goal therefore is not to do the exercise right, but to learn a lesson for life.
  3. Mediation of meaning. «The mediator must give an emotional value to the experience he is sharing with the child. Communicating the meaning of mediation to him motivates the child to cooperate: "I would like you to understand why we did this exercise, because it can really have a positive impact on your life".

If the child needs mediation to learn, his change will be as much possible as the environment around him is modifying, or as much as possible the method will be used: the ideal would be for all the adults with whom he interfaces to apply it and at any time of the day.

«However, parents and teachers can hardly always be mediators as we have described them before. This is why the experts of the Feuerstein method intervene, who, however, do not just take care of the child, but the whole family and aim to involve teachers as much as possible by applying the method at school ».

Also read: 10 things that improve school learning

How the Feuerstein method works

Phase 1: LPAD

The first phase of the Feuerstein method involves the dynamic assessment of the subject's propensity to learn (child or adult), in English Learning Propensity Assessment Device (LPAD): «It is a series of tests that evaluate the propensity to learn. It differs greatly from the well-known measurement of the IQ according to the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) in one fundamental aspect: if the latter is a static test (that is, which photographs the intelligence of the subject at a given moment) to be carried out without the help from anyone, the LPAD is a dynamic test, which evaluates what the subject could get to do if the help of a mediator takes over. The test is therefore carried out with mediation and verification - to use the terminology of the Belarusian educational psychologist Lev Semënovič Vygotskij - the zone of proximal development, that is what future potential does the tested child or adult have».

Phase 2: it NOT

Having assessed the learning potential of the subject, we move on to the application part of the method through the tool of PAS (Instrumental Enrichment Program): «It consists of a series of pencil and paper cards divided into 2 groups: PAS Standard, indicated for ages 8 and up, and PAS Basic, which from 4 years of age works on learning prerequisites. Each tool works on a part of thought, for example comparison, classification, spatial orientation ». These exercises, always to be carried out under the guidance of a professional mediator, can be applied in two ways.


«The meeting between child and mediator can take place individually in the studio or at school. It is not recommended at home, as it is a place of everyday life for the child that would not be perceived as a modifying environment, that is, a place where one learns. At the end of the card, you try to write the principle in your personal notebook and to bridging with other similar situations. If the application takes place at school, at the end of the activity we agree with the teachers that the child can read the principle he has deduced to the class and ask his classmates to think about other areas of application. It also serves to communicate that he is doing a different job from the others, but that it can be of use to everyone: this step has very positive repercussions on the motivation and self-esteem of the child, who in fact is invited to share his progress even in the family " .


The group application is more suitable for younger children: "In this way, above all, the Basic PAS is applied, which makes a class or a group work, for example on emotional intelligence, the recognition of emotions and empathy".

Read also: What are emotions and how they affect children's learning

For whom is the Feuerstein method suitable

Born to help children with cognitive difficulties or cultural deprivations, the Feuerstein method is very popular for

  • reply to learning problems like BES (Special Educational Needs)
  • o increase the skills and autonomy of people affected by intellectual disability o down syndrome.

However, working on the strategies, the method is actually indicated for anyone who wants to train their thinking and increase their skills: «It is a very valid tool for cognitive enhancement suitable for all ages: it is used to improve one's study method; within the company for the training of managers and the development of problem solving, analysis and flexibility; with the elderly to prevent and combat cognitive impairment ".

Read also: Feuerstein method and learning disabilities

How to access the Feuerstein method

If you are interested in the Feuerstein method, you can contact a specialized studio or cooperative directly for further information. Or consult on the Feuerstein Institute the list of training centers present in the country, who will be able to refer you to the professionals closest to you. Make sure that the cooperative, association or freelancer you are contacting has obtained certification from one of these authorized centers. If you think that your child has school difficulties or needs support to increase his autonomy in the event of an intellectual disability, the intervention of the parent may not be enough. In this case, a specialized mediator, after the evaluation through LPAD, will agree with you the most suitable path for your child: generally it is a couple of meetings a week, at a cost that varies between 40 and 50 euros per hour. .

The interviewee

Liliana Gravaghi is a psychologist expert in learning difficulties e applicator of the Feuerstein method at the Cooperative Atelier of Thoughts of our city.

  • flint
  • learning
  • 3-5 children years
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