Cold and Warm Mediations: How can do they Work?

In the school setting, cold and warm mediations are extremely beneficial for learning. Learn more about how they can help.
Cold and Warm Mediations: How can do they Work?

Last update: 10 September, 2021

Learning isn’t an easy task. To help support and facilitate the learning process, many teachers use what are called mediations. Today, we’re going to focus on two types of them, cold and warm mediations, and how they can be helpful for students.

When a child tries a new task that they have yet to master, these are two types of mediations or supports the teacher can use.

Cold and warm mediations in the learning process

Like we mentioned, the two types of supports are cold and warm mediations. When it comes to cognitive processes, we’re dealing with cold mediation. On the other hand, when we’re referring to motivational and emotional processes, it helps to employ warm mediation. 

Child doing homework

When we say motivational or emotional processes, we mean an internal state that starts and maintains goal-oriented behavior. In that state, therefore, we include motives, coping mechanisms and their feelings towards the work.

These two types of mediation are not isolated aids. Instead, the teacher should use both of them when helping their students work on a task. That’s because cold mediation is dependent on warm mediation to be successful. In other words, warm mediation enhances the effect of cold mediation. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Cold mediations or cold aids

According to Sánchez, cold mediations are “aids that mobilize the specific cognitive processes of a task.” So, they’re supports that have to do with the mental (cognitive) processes that intervene and facilitate the development and resolution of a task.

Cold aids involve a set of strategies and processes that aim to solve the resolution of a task or a problem. In addition, with this strategy, the teacher and student will be working together. To do this, you have to set goals and choose the right means to achieve them. In the medium-long term, these aids will promote autonomy in the learning process. 

What happens at the cognitive processes level (cold dimension) when we face a new task? When we’re faced with new tasks, our minds create an action plan to try to achieve a goal or solve the problem.

To do this, we need to establish an initial state or a starting point where we have to define and propose the objectives we want to meet (planning). Next, we try to create an action plan that will lead us to solve the problem (development). Then, finally, we reach the final state, where we reflect on what we have achieved or haven’t achieved (evaluation). Therefore, when it comes to cold mediation, there are three phases:

Planning

In this phase, the cold mediations are aimed at activating our prior knowledge (what we already know). Then, using those aids, we’ll set a goal or joint objective, and we’ll let the child know how we’re going to achieve that goal. For this, you can use inquiries, evocations, set objectives, etc.

Monitoring or development

In this next phase, we’ll identify the best way to face the task and reach the goal. So, we have to develop an action plan to achieve our goal.

To do this, you need to make note of the initial state and the final state. In between those two states is the development of the task. That’s where you have to help the student, organize and understand the information. In this phase, the aids will consist of making connections between ideas, explanations, repetition, examples, recapitulations, questions, etc.

Mother and child doing homework at home.

Evaluation

In this final stage, we’ll reflect on whether the child has achieved the goal you both set at the beginning (evaluation). You can do this by asking questions that summarize the most important content. That way, the child will be able to explicitly demonstrate their learning. Also, you can include additional mediations by offering recaps and summaries of the most important ideas.

Warm mediations or warm aids

Sánchez defines warm mediations or aids as “aids that mobilize motivational-emotional processes.” You could say that warm aids are based around the beliefs and emotions of each person when they’re faced with a new task.

Therefore, its function is to help control emotional and motivational processes. As a result, the child feels more secure and learning is more meaningful. 

Remember, warm aids shouldn’t be used in isolation. Instead, the educator should use them in tandem with cold mediations. Like we’ve mentioned, warm aids enhance the effect of cold ones. 

Just like we organized cold mediations in three phases, we organize warm mediations in a way that coincides with the cold phases.

Pre-decisional

For Sánchez, the moment is a deliberative phase. “This is the phase the precedes the performance of the task. In this phase, we weigh whether or not we should accept the task and with what degree of commitment.”

You could say that this is the moment the student reflects on and assesses the importance of the task and the meaning behind completing it. Once they’ve thought about what they want to achieve with the task, they make a commitment. In other words, we decide whether or not the task is worth doing.

Therefore, warm aids work to facilitate the task and increase the degree of desirability. These mediations are aimed at stimulating the intrinsic evaluations of the task, posing challenges, competing and autonomy, etc.

Post decisional

This phase represents our own will to carry out the task (volition). This volitional phase, according to Sánchez, “is a phase in which a task is being carried out and it’s necessary to protect ourselves from all the elements that can take us away from it.”

Therefore, once you have committed yourself to the task, the main goal is to maintain and protect the goal you’ve committed to. To do so, you have to regulate and manage your own behavior, thoughts and emotions. So, these warm mediations are aimed at motivational control.

cold and warm mediations

The objective is to ensure the child doesn’t give up on the task and doesn’t get bored or anxious. To help with this, warm mediations are aimed at offering the child ways to measure their self-efficacy, success, competence, etc.

Evaluation

In this phase, you should evaluate how the child has solved the task. You should look at whether they have succeeded or failed in reaching the goal that you set together in the initial phase.

According to Sánchez, this phase “is the phase the follows the completion of the academic task, in which the student gets a result from it and looks for an explanation for it.”

Ultimately, you’ll look at whether the child achieved the proposed goal and to what extent they did so. The warm mediations in the last phase consist of feedback related to the achievement and its effects, positive evaluations, corrections, etc.

Things to keep in mind about cold and warm mediations

As you can see, cold and warm mediations must be used simultaneously. Remember, cold mediations help the child cognitively and, therefore, are responsible for building knowledge. On the other hand, warm mediations help the emotional and motivational processes that we activate to maintain interest in the knowledge.

Although the cold mediations are enough to organize and regulate learning, the role of the warm mediations is to reinforce the aids at a cognitive level. 

In addition, offering warm aids is very necessary and beneficial, especially in classes that last for a long time, those that require a lot of effort from students, or those that are fairly routine and repetitive in nature. Also, warm mediations are beneficial in promoting autonomy in children.

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  • La lectura en el aula. Qué se hace, qué se debe hacer y qué se puede hacer. E. Sánchez, R. García, J Rosales.  Barcelona: Grao, 2010
  • Una herramienta para motivar. De Sixte. (2017)