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PRELIMINARY COMPARISON BETWEEN TWO
METHODS OF INTELLECTUAL SKILL DEVELOPMENT
P. Reinert, Ph.D.
Dept. of Chemistry/Physics
Southwest State University
Marshall MN 56258 U.S.A.
to the annual Conference of the
Society for Accelerative Learning and Teaching,
San Diego, California
April 27, 1989
in two sections of a one quarter entry level SALT style physics
course (N = 79) was allowed to choose one of two skill building
programs?one following a text by A. Whimbey and J. Lochhead and
for analytical skills, the other following a technique of W. Wenger
("Image Streaming") with more holistic goals. Approximately
equal numbers of students chose each method. Pretests of analytical
skill level and learning style were given. Apart from initial
instruction and occasional checking by the instructor, students
worked independently, out of class. Image Streaming students practiced
approximately half as many hours as did Whimbey students. Analysis
of results for Section 1 suggests that analytical skills increased
slightly more for Image Streaming than for the Whimbey method
by the end of the course. Positive correlations were noted between
course performance and increase of analytical skills versus students
hours of practice in Image Streaming. The data of Section 1 is
consistent with an improvement rate of approximately 0.4 IQ points
per Whimbey practice hour and approximately 0.9 IQ point per Image
Streaming practice hour. Learning Style Inventory post-tests suggest
that students who practiced Image Streaming became more "balanced"
in thinking styles while students who used the Whimbey text became
less "balanced"." Limitations of the study are
I have been
teaching university level physics for twenty years, most of that
time using traditional lecture/laboratory methods for instruction.
Beginning in the winter of 1984-5 and following a one week workshop
under Peter Kline at the Lozanov Institute in Silver Spring, MD,
I began converting my physics instruction to SALT-type methods.
Now, all physics courses (both noncalculus general education level
physics and introductory calculus level physics) which I teach
are "holistic" and use SALT techniques. The new methods
work well and will be the subject of a later paper.
For the past
four years, I have encouraged my students to independently develop
their analytical skills, expecting that better skill in this area
would enhance their success in physics. The text used for this
purpose has been Problem Solving and Comprehension, by A. Whimbey
and J. Lochhead (4th edition, 1986, Lawrence Eribaum Associates,
H@ale, NJ). The text comprises largely "story problems,"
and a special solving method is strongly encouraged?
are to work in pairs, each in turn becoming the "problem
solver" or the 'listener." The "problem solver"
is to solve the problem, but s/he is to verbalize each step of
the solution. The "listener" checks to see that each
step is correct and that each is verbalized). The text provides
a 38 point pre-test, the "Whimbey Analytical Skills Inventory"
(WASI) and a similar post-test, and the Appendix includes a correlation
of the WASI score with "I.Q." as measured by the Otis
Lennon Mental Ability Test (A. Whimbey, private communication).
Data collected over several years (N > 200) indicates that
the average increase in the WASI score for my physics students
has been 4.2 (corresponding to an IQ. increase on the Otis Lennon
test of 6.4 points) when they practice Whimbey independently out
of class, over a ten week period. The experience of instructors
at Southwest State University who use the Whimbey text in a ten
week structured remedial class is that approximately 30 hours
is typically required to finish all exercises in the book, if
proper techniques are used. In this case, the average increase
is typically 7.25 WASI points or 10.9 I.Q. points (J. Dulak, personal
I became acquainted with another method of intelligence development,
termed "Image Streaming" by its developer, Dr. Win Wenger
and described in Beyond O.K. (1979, Psychegenics Press, P.O. Box
332, Gedthersburg, MD 20877) and described more extensively in
A Method For Personal Growth And Development (Prepublication edition,
1987, Psychegenics Press). In practicing Image Streaming, students
also preferably work in pairs, or with a tape recorder. Sitting
comfortably with eyes closed, each student allows mental images
to appear, then in turn describes these verbally in great detail
not only as regards shapes and colors, but also as to aroma, touch,
taste and sound. (Impressions from the other senses are remarkably
easy to get when deliberately sought, as my students have since
verified.) Wenger describes Image Streaming as a form of "Pole
Bridging" - making better connections between "poles"
of the brain. In this case the visual and the speech areas (W.
W Wenger, private communication). My own brief personal introduction
to Image Streaming at the 1988 Phoenix SALT conference was impressive,
and suggested the present work, in which the Whimbey and Image
Streaming methods were compared in their effectiveness for my
1988-89 at Southwest State University furnished an opportunity
to involve relatively large numbers of students in a comparison
of the two methods. Physics 100 ("Our Physical Universe")
is a one quarter course covering aspects of brain/mind function
(as it pertains to SALT methods), physics (mechanics, electricity
and magnetism, optics and some modern physics), and some cosmology.
The text used was my own?Man, Mind and The Universe (1988, Glenview
Press, Garvin, MN 56132), a SALT based collection of appropriate
dialogues and illustrations, plus writing and numerical exercises.
Two sections of Physics 100 were taught, with student population
totaling 79 students for the two. Since the conditions were somewhat
different for the two sections, a brief discussion of those conditions
comprised 29 students, approximately 20% of whom were "nontraditional"
(23 or older). We met in a modest size (7m x 10m) classroom, modified
for SALT instruction. Students sat in comfortable chairs (most
were reclinable airline seats) arranged in a semicircle. For scheduling
reasons, we met for a two hour block Wednesday through Friday
of each week for only the last seven weeks of the term. Instruction
was SALT based, and I would describe the class atmosphere as warm
and friendly ?all students were on a first name basis after the
first week. (As is now customary in my classes, each student adopted
a "professional" name. Consequently, such notables as
"Albert Einstein," "Oprah Winfrey" and "Joan
of Arc" were in regular attendance.) On one wall of the room
was a large colorful mural of the Earth as seen from the Moon;
attractive posters depicting various physical concepts and formulae
were prominently posted on other walls. Music was provided as
appropriate by a stereophonic sound system using a compact disc
player. In Section 1, 17 students chose Image Streaming, 12 chose
comprised 50 students, approximately 35% of whom were 23 or older.
This section met each Wednesday evening for one 4 hour block,
over a total time period of 12 weeks (with a two week interruption
for Christmas break). The "classroom" was a small gymnasium
(9m x 12m), with students sitting on gymnastic mats. A CD system
provided appropriate music via small speakers at the corners of
the room. However, the sound quality in this somewhat cavernous
room was inferior to that provided for Section 1. No chalkboard
or easel was available - newsprint spread on the floor or taped
to the block was provided some writing opportunities. Insofar
as possible, I again used SALT methods for instruction. Because
of the size of the group and the infrequent meetings, I did not
attempt to learn each students "professional" name.
The atmosphere for Section 2 appeared much less than "Ideal"
for SALT instruction. Twenty-six students chose Image Streaming;
twenty-four chose Whimbey.
At the beginning
of instruction for each section, each student was given the WASI
"pretest" to determine analytic skill level, and Kolb's
Learning Style Inventory (Kolb, 1976) to assess learning style.
Students were then given a brief introduction to each method of
skill development, allowed to choose one method, and then given
an opportunity to practice their choice for approximately 40 minutes
while I coached their technique. All students received "log"
sheets on which practice hours, partner, etc., were to be recorded.
At the following class period, students were given a similar opportunity
for formal practice so that I could observe technique. The remainder
of student work with either method was done independently, outside
of class. I advised the Whimbey group to attempt to finish the
Whimbey book, and asked the Image Streamers to put in as much
practice time as possible, in blocks of about twenty minutes each.
As a means of evaluating student progress and attitudes during
the course, I distributed and collected "feedback" forms
at most class meetings of both sections. At or near the end of
the course, I administered the post-WASI exam and three tests
of creativity: "Expressional Fluency" (1958, Christensen
and Guilford), "Decorations" (1963, Gershon, Gardner,
Merrifield and Guilford), and "Making Objects" (1963,
Gardner, Gershon, Merrifield and Guilford). At the final meeting
of the class, the final examination was administered. (For this
course, the final exam consists of a "fill in the blank"
list of one hundred or more vocabulary words, mathematical formulae
and symbols, which the student is asked to define. The list for
Section 1 comprised approximately one hundred sixty items, that
for Section 2 approximately one hundred twenty items.) Students
were also assessed for cerebral dominance by a simple test consisting
of 4 physical exercises.
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of feedback and of student practice logs, it was determined that
virtually all of the Whimbey students practiced in pairs. Approximately
80% of the Image Streamers practiced in pairs. The remainder worked
alone or did not indicate how they practiced?their data is not
A. Mean Values
- Essential results (means) are shown in Table 1 below, with a
few standard deviations shown in parentheses. A few comments are
labeled as "QuaL" are obtained from student feedback,
and should be considered very qualitative in nature.
2. The first number of each coordinate pair under "LSI"
is the value of "Active Experimentation minus Reflective
Observation," while the second number is the value of "Abstract
Conceptualization minus Concrete Experience." See
Figure 1 for a plot of these coordinate positions.
3. Entries for "Feelings" and "Health" reflect
student feedback (on a scale of -100 to +100) for a set of 7 questions
related to student attitudes and a set of 4 questions generally
related to student health. The more "positive" the student
attitude toward these aspects, the higher the rating was to be.
This feedback was obtained midway through the academic term.
hrs each week, course only (Qual.)
3 creat. tests
with practice method (1-10 scale)
Apart from numerical "means," correlation was sought
between various results and the number of hours practiced by each
student. In Table 2 are shown the results of some linear regression
analyses. The "coefficient of determination" (COD),
"coefficient of correlation" (COC) and "standard
deviation" (SD) are given beneath each "best fit' mathematical
OF VARIOUS MEASURES WITH PRACTICE HOURS.
Exam (FE) with I.S. hours (ISH)
= 113. + 12.2 ISH
= 129. + 2.0 ISH
2. WASI Change (WC) with I.S. hours (ISH)
= 0.35 + 0.54 ISH
change (WC) with Whimbey hours (WH)
5.= 65 - .23 WH
4. "Creativity" (CR) with I.S. hours (ISH)
(CR - sum of the three Guilford tests)
= 53.5 + 1.18 ISH
with I.S. hours
with I.S. hours
the standard deviations are relatively large for all determinations,
the results of this preliminary work suggest some interesting
findings. Directing attention to Table 1, we see that the WASI
increase for Section 1 appears larger for Image Streamers than
for Whimbey, despite the fact that Whimbey students practiced
significantly more hours, and directly on the kinds of skills
tested. (Although both Section 2 groups showed a decrease in WASI,
this is almost certainly because I administered the post-WASI
on the same evening as the final exam, and immediately before
it. Students later confirmed that they "couldn't concentrate"
on the post-WASI because they were concerned about the final.
They understood that the post-WASI was for research purposes only
and would not affect their grade. In contrast, I administered
the post-WASI to Section 1 several Class periods before the final
exam, and their performance shows a positive change.)
group of Section I performed slightly better on the final exam
and on the course. It should be noted here that the Section 1
Whimbey group apparently studied about 30% more hours per week
(student feedback) than did the Image Streamers in that section.
In view of the strong correlation between final exam performance
and Image Streaming hours noted above, it would appear that had
the practice times for Whimbey and Image Streamers been equal,
the Image Streamers would have "won" in course performance.
In Section 2, the Image Streamers achieved a slightly higher final
and course average, and studied approximately 8% more hours per
week (student feedback).
measures suggest that in Section 1, the Whimbey group led in two
of the three Guilford tests. In Section 2, the Image Streamers
led in all three of the Guilford tests. However, it should be
noted that no pre-tests of creativity were made for either section.
on "feelings" and "health," while highly qualitative,
averaged slightly higher for Image Streamers of both sections
than for Whimbey students. On the other hand, there was no significant
correlation between "feelings" or "health"
and hours of practice in Image Streaming.
student learning styles measurements via the Kolb Learning Style
Inventory are intriguing. The data, presented in Figure 1 and
superimposed on Kolb's findings for MIT seniors (Kolb, 1976) suggest
that Image Streamers in both sections tended to move toward what
might be termed a somewhat more "balanced" mode of thinking
style, while Whimbey students in both sections tended, on average,
to move away from "balanced" modes of thinking. The
movement of Image Streamers appears to be consistent with Wenger's
model of the way in which Image Streaming works - making better
connections between opposite brain hemispheres (W. Wenger, private
with both methods appeared to be about the same. Early on, the
Whimbey group seemed to lead, perhaps because the use of a textbook
for the method made that method seem more structured. Perhaps
ten percent of the Image Streaming students experienced initial
difficulties in "getting" images: I noted that many
of these learned to initiate the process by visualizing something
familiar, such as a birthday gift. Casual conversations with Image
Streaming students suggested that most of them were receiving
sensory impressions from at least 4 senses in their imagery.
It is of
some value to predict the increase in intellectual thinking as
a result of practice time with either technique. As noted earlier,
a one point change in the WASI corresponds to a 1.5 change in
the Otis Lennon Mental Ability Test. Efforts were therefore made
to predict the numerical increase in "I.Q." as a result
of Whimbey and Image Streaming practice. For Section 1, two predictions
were calculated, the first by simply dividing the average WASI
change by the average number of practice hours. Additionally,
a linear regression analysis was made between WASI change and
practice hours in order to obtain the mathematical slope of this
relationship and to therefore obtain the predicted rate of change.
The results of these two determinations are given below:
IQ point increase per Whimbey hour
significant correlation was measured between WASI increase and
Whimbey practice hours)
1 mean I.Q. increase per Whimbey practice hour is comparable to
results of aforementioned baseline data accumulated at Southwest
State University for remedial classes which use Whimbey for skill
development - an average increase of approximately 7.25 WASI points
in 30 hours of structured practice, or .36 I.Q. point per Whimbey
For Image Streamers,
IQ point per Image Streaming hour
IQ point increase per Image Streaming hour
for Image Streamers are consistent with measures made elsewhere
(W. Wenger, private communication). Because of the unfortunate
"timing error" made in administering the post-WASI to
Section 2 as explained earlier, no attempt has been made to estimate
I.Q. increase per hour expended for this section.
it is worthwhile to briefly examine the small percentage (20%)
of students who Image Streamed by themselves. Generally, their
academic performance, "feelings" and creativity scores
were less, although their average WASI score was nearly two points
higher than for the other Image Streamers. It is not known to
what extent these students verbalized their descriptions. It should
be noted that both the Whimbey and Wenger methods emphasize verbalization.If
a student must verbalize alone, then the suggestion of speaking
into a tape recorder is probably a very sound
be emphasized, in summary, that this study should be considered
preliminary in nature. Larger and more comprehensive replications
are needed to draw firm conclusions. For example, it should be
noted that in this work, students were allowed to choose a method
rather than being assigned one randomly. Also, pre-tests of creativity
were not made, nor have followup measurements yet been made several
months after the course, Finally, the unfortunate timing in administering
the post-WASI for Section 2 prevented measuring WASI increase
for that section. Despite shortcomings, however, the results of
this study suggest that Image Streaming can be an important and
efficient tool for enhancing analytical skills, perhaps improving
creativity as measured by Guilford, and perhaps achieving better
overall brain function as measured by the Kolb instrument. In
view of what seems to be a rather rapid rate of increase of "I.Q."
for Image Streaming, and since no reading by the student is necessary,
it is interesting to speculate about Image Streaming's use as
a remedial tool for K-12, its possible application to geriatric
populations, and even its potential for use with the mentally
handicapped. In contrast to the class size limitations usually
associated with SALT methodology, it may be that Image Streaming
can be effective for very large groups, perhaps into the hundreds,
since no particular group dynamics seem to be involved. I wish
to thank Dr. Arthur Whimbey and Dr. Win Wenger for their cooperation
and helpful comments. I am especially grateful to my students
for their willing participation in this work.
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