Under the auspices of the Authorized Training Center of Prof. R. Feuerstein, the two non-profit organizations — Charlie Karlín (Prague) and ETP Slovakia, Center for Sustainable Development — prepared the conference, “Development of Thinking in Different Conditions”, which was held on November 9, 2017, in Brno for 80 participants. The topic was the Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment (FIE) method and its impact on socially disadvantaged people coming from a variety of different environments.
It was incredibly inspirational to hear about FIE’s application in the education of Roma children in a formal school environment. Both the elementary school and kindergarten located on “28th October” street in Brno as well as the elementary school located on Karasova street in Ostrava are confronted with similar problems since the younger children are not yet prepared to start school and the children already enrolled suffer from high absence, poor vocabulary and communication skills in general, the inability to concentrate for extended periods of time, the frequent tendency to be uncooperative and the inclination to be distractedly disruptive in class.
Enlightened school leadership in both schools has implemented the FIE into the curriculum for both morning or afternoon lessons and has seen significant progress after only one year of school. Perhaps most importantly, the kids enjoyed the FIE lessons! The school for hearing impaired children (Nursery School, Primary School and Secondary School for Hearing Impaired in Valašské Meziříči) even uses sign language at the FIE lessons. A different and very intriguing application of the FIE curriculum is demonstrated by the staff of the SOU for Convicted Prisoners in Stráž pod Ralskem, whereby the staff uses FIE in the education of adult convicted women.
Our work in the afterschool FIE clubs in ETP community centers, which has been highly recognized, was presented by Vladimíra Fortunová and Lenka Czikková. We are honored that we can use FIE in our clubs and we would recommend that the examples from the Czech Republic be followed by schools in Slovakia as well.