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A PRELIMINARY COMPARISON BETWEEN TWO
METHODS OF INTELLECTUAL SKILL DEVELOPMENT

by

Charles P. Reinert, Ph.D.
Dept. of Chemistry/Physics
Southwest State University
Marshall MN 56258 U.S.A.

Presented to the annual Conference of the
Society for Accelerative Learning and Teaching,
San Diego, California
April 27, 1989

ABSTRACT

Each student 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 discussed.

I. Introduction

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?

Students 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 communication).

Recently, 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 physics students.

II. Procedure

Winter quarter 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 follows.

Section 1 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 Whimbey.

Section 2 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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On examination 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 considered here.

III. Results

A. Mean Values - Essential results (means) are shown in Table 1 below, with a few standard deviations shown in parentheses. A few comments are in order:

1. Entries 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.

TABLE 1

Section 1

Section 2

Whimbey I.S. Whimbey I.S.
Students 12 14 24 19
pre-LSI (.2,.5) (-.6,-.2) (.95,2.6) (3.1,.8)
post-LSI (-3.5,-I) (-.8,2.8) (.3,.3) (1.6,1.2)
Hours of practice 9.8 5.9 18.6 11.6
post-WASI 25.0 (6) 25.6 26.0 (8) 27.3
WASI 22.2 (7) 22.0 27.1 (7) 27.9
Final Exam 234.1 (45) 217.6 147.9 (25) 160.2
Course Grade 88.% (6%) 84% 82% (S%) 83%
Study hrs each week, course only (Qual.) 4.1 (2) 3.2 2.6 (1.6) 2.8
"Expressional Fluency" 9.9 8.7 10.1 (5) 11.8
"Decorations" 35.1 37.2 44.0 (8) 49.3
"Making Objects" 11.8 11.5 10.2 (3) 10.2 (3)
Mean of 3 creat. tests 20.6 (14) 19.1 21.4 24.3
"Feelings" (Qual.) 47.7 (28) 52.3 48.7 (51) 54.5
"Health" (Qual.) 37.7 (44) 52.5 -- --
Comfort with practice method (1-10 scale)
(Qual.)
6.1 (1) 7.1 6.9 (1) 6.5

C. Correlations: 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 relationship.

TABLE 2

CORRELATION OF VARIOUS MEASURES WITH PRACTICE HOURS.

1. Final Exam (FE) with I.S. hours (ISH)

Section 1 Section 2
FE = 113. + 12.2 ISH FE = 129. + 2.0 ISH
COD = 0.53 COD = 0.48
COC = 0.73 COC = 0.69
SD = 52.2 SD = 15.6


2. WASI Change (WC) with I.S. hours (ISH)

Section 1 Section 2
WC = 0.35 + 0.54 ISH (poor data)
COD = 0.30  
COC = 0.55  
SD = 7.0  

3. WASI change (WC) with Whimbey hours (WH)

Section 1 Section 2
WC 5.= 65 - .23 WH (poor data)
COD = .03  
COC = -.17  
SD 6.7  


4. "Creativity" (CR) with I.S. hours (ISH)
(CR - sum of the three Guilford tests)

Section 1 Section 2
(no significant correlation) CR = 53.5 + 1.18 ISH
  COD = 0.19
  COC = 0.44
  SD = 16.7

5. "Feelings" with I.S. hours

Section 1 Section 2
(no significant correlation) (no significant correlation)

6. "Health" with I.S. hours

Section 1 Section 2
(no significant correlation) (no significant correlation)

IV. Discussion

Although 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.)

The Whimbey 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).

Creativity 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.

Student feedback 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.

Results of 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 communication).

Student "comfort" 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:

For Whimbey group
Using "average values:" 0.4 IQ point increase per Whimbey hour
Using the slope: (no significant correlation was measured between WASI increase and Whimbey practice hours)

The Section 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 practice hour.


For Image Streamers,
Using "average values:" 0.9 IQ point per Image Streaming hour
Using the slope: 0.8 IQ point increase per Image Streaming hour

These increases 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.

In passing, 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
one.

It should 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.



©1998 by Project Renaissance (regarding this internet version only, other copyrights may apply). While we encourage the free distribution of this article (complete text only, including this notice and acknowledgement of source), we do require that expressed permission be granted by Project Renaissance for any major republication. For minor printing and sharing, we only request that you notify us.

To reach Win Wenger, please visit his website at Project Renaissance.

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