The central theme of this text is the theory of mediated learning, one of the funda-mental pillars of the theoretical work of the Israeli professor Reuven Feuerstein. This is a theory that has enriched psychological views of the cognitive development of the child and inspired a series of research projects in the field of the interaction of mother-child and teacher-pupil. It has also made a fundamental contribution to the movement in education and psychology that regards school learning as something that should not be taken out of the context of ordinary life and that believes that the role of the teacher should not be reduced to the mere passing on of knowledge to a second party. For this reason it serves us here as the initial theoretical framework for discussion of the theme of mediation in the teacher-pupil relationship.
The article presents a behavioural profile of the teacher who fulfils the idea of mediation in his style of work with the pupil. This profile is based on the research project conducted by a professor at Madrid University, L. Tébar (El perfil del profesor mediator. Madrid : Santillana, 2003). It prompts reflection on what is usable for educational practice in Feuersteins theory and on how to bring this theory to life.
Feuerstein (Feuerstein, R., et al. Mediated Learning Experience (MLE): Theoretical, Psychological and Learning Implications. London : Freund Publishing House, 1999) argues that experienced mediated by learning is the basic condition for healthy cognitive development. Mediated learning is contrasted with direct learning and is described as a specific interaction between the child, the adult and the surrounding world. Feuerstein claims that the mediative approach of the adult is fundamental for influencing the structure of the child‘s intellect, but he also highlights the importance of emotion and interpersonal relations for the development of cognitive functions. If we seek to apply this to educational practice, then the teacher has by virtue of his position a considerable potential to influence through his personal approach the pupil‘s attitude to learning and the pupil‘s thinking. In answer to the ques-tion of the form that interaction definable as „mediating“ should take, Feuerstein answers with reference to 12 criteria. Through these he defines teaching situations (or any kind of other adult-child interaction) that bring the pupils the experience of mediated learning that in its consequences leads to the development of the intellect and the forming of cognitive structures.
Research projects in the last two decades concerned with the experience of teachers acquainted with Feuerstein‘s theoretical approach and ways to apply it in practice suggest that the teachers see their attempts to consciously introduce criteria of mediated learning into their teaching as aspects that in many respects improve the quality of their approach to teaching (e.g. Blagg, N. Can we teach intelligence? New Jersey : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates,1991). Familiarising teachers with the philosophy of the mediating approach to teaching is thus turning out to be one way of transforming educational practice.