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Thinking ... observed

Feuerstein's Method : A peek into the Mental Act


Professor Reuven Feuerstein developed a framework that we can observed when the learner is engaged in any activity. He name it the Mental Act. 

The mental act is artificially separated into three phases, namely: input, elaboration and output. This model is used by the mediator to better understand and help the child who is experiencing difficulties. For example, when the child fails in the task of classification, the underlying cause of the difficulty can be explained using the mental act. In this case, the mediator is able to pin point that a lack of classification can be due

 to imprecise data-gathering at the input phase, and inability to compare the items at the elaboration phase and poor communication at the output phase. 

An analysis of the child’s deficit cognitive functions will determine the amount of mediation needed.

A list of the Deficient Cognitive Functions (DCF) found in the mental act are listed.


 Blurred and sweeping perception

Unplanned, impulsive and unsystematic exploratory behavior Lack of, or impaired, receptive verbal tools and concepts which affect discrimination

• Lack of, or impaired, spatial orientation, including the lack of stable systems of reference which impair the organization of space

• Lack of, or impaired, temporal orientation

• Lack of, or impaired conservation of constancies across variation in certain dimension of the perceived object

• Lack of, or impaired deficient need for, precision and accuracy in data gathering

Lack of, or impaired capacity of considering two sources of information at once, reflected in dealing with data in a piecemeal fashion rather than as a unit of organized facts


• Inadequacy in experiencing the existence of an actual problem and subsequently defining it

• Inability to select relevant, as opposed to irrelevant cues in defining a problem

• Lack of spontaneous comparative behavior

• Narrowness of mental field

• Lack of, or impaired, need for summative behavior

• Difficulties in projecting virtual relationship

• Lack of orientation towards the need for logical evidence as in interacting modality with one’s objectal and social environment

• Lack of, or limited internalization of one’s behavior

• Lack of, or restricted, inferential-hypothetical thinking

• Lack of, or restricted planning behavior

• Lack of verbal inventory on receptive level or are not mobilized at the expressive level

• Episodic grasp of reality


• Egocentric communication modalities

• Blocking

• Trial and error responses

• Lack of, impaired verbal tools for communicating adequately elaborated responses

• Deficiency of visual transport

• Lack of, or impaired, need for precision and accuracy in communication one’s responses

• Impulsive acting out behavior, affecting the nature of communication process

The DCF are important because it determines the form of social interaction that needs to be made salient for the child. At each phase of the mental act, the mediator elicits social interaction by requesting, questioning and seeking justification based on the MLE perimeters.