Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jerome Seymour Bruner

Jerome Seymour Bruner (1915- ) is one of the best known and influential psychologists of the twentieth century. He was one of the key figures in the so called 'cognitive revolution' - but it is the field of education that his influence has been especially felt.
1. Instruction must be concerned with the experiences and contexts that make the student willing and able to learn (readiness).
2. Instruction must be structured so that it can be easily grasped by the student (spiral organization).
3. Instruction should be designed to facilitate extrapolation and or fill in the gaps (going beyond the information given).

A major theme in the theoretical framework of Bruner is that learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge. The learner selects and transforms information, constructs hypotheses, and makes decisions, relying on a cognitive structure to do so. Cognitive structure (i.e., schema, mental models) provides meaning and organization to experiences and allows the individual to "go beyond the information given".

"To perceive is to categorize, to conceptualize is to categorize, to learn is to form categories, to make decisions is to categorize."

He has also suggested that there are two primary modes of thought:
1. the narrative mode a. mind engages in sequential, action-oriented, detail-driven thought i. thinking takes the form of stories and "gripping drama”
2. the paradigmatic mode. a. the mind transcends particularities to achieve systematic, categorical cognition. i. thinking is structured as propositions linked by logical operators.

Bruner's ideas are based on categorization: Bruner maintains people interpret the world in terms of its similarities and differences.

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