EARLI 2015


Andreas Demetriou Keynote

Educating the developing mind: Bridging psychological research with educational practice

 Andreas Demetriou
University of Nicosia, Cyprus


We will first summarize an overarching theory of cognitive organization and development integrating cognitive, developmental, and differential approaches to intelligence. The theory specifies a common core of processes (Abstraction, representational Alignment, and Cognizance) underlying inference and meaning making. This core develops over four reconceptualization cycles (episodic representations, representations, rule-based concepts, and principle-based concepts starting at birth, 2, 6, and 11 years, respectively) with two phases in each (production of new mental units and alignment). This sequence relates with changes in processing efficiency and working memory in overlapping cycles such that relations with efficiency are high in the production phases and relations with WM are high in the alignment phases over all cycles. Reconceptualization is self-propelled because the core is continuously upgraded generating inferential possibilities of increasing inclusiveness and flexibility. Based on this theory, a model for education is proposed that specifies, first, educational priorities for different phases of development according to the cognitive developmental milestones associated with each phase. We will also specify how we can educate students to (1) advance their general inferential and problem solving capabilities, (2) use their central executive capacity efficiently, (3) learn how to learn and become critical thinkers, and (4) construct mental models to support conceptual change in specific domains. Special examples will be drawn for the education of students at risk for illiteracy and innumeracy.