Cognitive Acceleration (CASE and other projects)
What is Cognitive Acceleration?
Cognitive Acceleration is a method for the development of students' general thinking ability (or general intelligence) which has been developed at King's in a series of research and development programmes continuing from 1981 to the present. Originally developed for science departments in secondary schools (CASE: 'Cognitive Acceleration through Science Education'), the methods have now been extended to other subjects and to younger children.
Programmes include, for Key Stage 3:
CASE: Cognitive Acceleration through Science Education
CAME: Cognitive Acceleration through Mathematics Education
Cognitive Acceleration through the Arts
And for Key Stages 1 and 2:
Let's Think! and Let's Think Early Years (r & y1)
Let's Think through Maths! (ys 1 & 2)
Let's Think through Science! (ys 3 & 4)
Thinking Maths for ys 5 & 6
Let's Think through Literacy! (ys 5 & 6)
The Development of Cognitive Acceleration
All Cognitive Acceleration programmes are rooted in the cognitive psychology of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, from which has been derived a teaching approach which challenges students' current level of thinking, which encourages the social construction of knowledge (students making knowledge co-operatively), and which encourages 'metacognition' - students' reflection on their own thinking and problem-solving processes.
Over many years of rigorous evaluation, it has repeatedly been shown that Cognitive Acceleration has substantial, positive effects on students' cognitive growth, and subsequently on their academic achievement. See“The effects of Cognitive Acceleration” (pdf file).
Each of the programmes has a set of curriculum materials, but the secret of their success lies in the pedagogy - that is, the way that the teacher uses the materials. For this reason, we consider that effective use of Cognitive Acceleration methods depends heavily on the adequate professional development of teachers.
Currently under development at King’s College is the newest of the Cognitive Acceleration programmes:
Let's Think in English
Already established Cognitive Acceleration programmes are now promoted under the title of Let’s Think. Details can be found at www.letsthink.org.uk