Jerome Bruner


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Jerome Bruner

  1. 1. Jerome Bruner: a learning theorist Powerpoint Templates Page 1
  2. 2. Jerome Bruner • Learning theorist • Associated with the Constructivist view of learning • Originated Discovery method of learning. • 1915: Born in NYC • 1947 : Ph. D. , Psychology from Harvard Powerpoint Templates Page 2
  3. 3. Jerome Bruner • Rooted mainly in the study of cognition • Reacted against behaviorist model of learning • Change from behaviorist model Powerpoint Templates Page 3
  4. 4. Bruner’s Beliefs • Bruner believes that students must be active—they must identify key principles for themselves rather than simply accepting teachers’ explanations. • This process has been called DISCOVERY LEARNING. Powerpoint Templates Page 4
  5. 5. What ideas and influences are associated with Bruner? 1. Constructivism • paradigm of learning • learners create their own subjective constructs of reality 2. Discovery learning •method of instruction •learning is best achieved through a process of inquiry Powerpoint Templates Page 5
  6. 6. What ideas and influences are associated with Bruner? • Other Constructivists include Piaget & Vygotsky • Builds on the concept of stages of development (Piaget) • Environment has bigger role in learning development. • Unlike Piaget however, Bruner argued that social factors, particularly language, were important for cognitive growth. Powerpoint Templates Page 6
  7. 7. What ideas and influences are associated with Bruner? • Vygotsky and his ideas on the Zone of Proximal Development and scaffolding came to be increasingly influential to Bruner's research (Smith, 2002). Powerpoint Templates Page 7
  8. 8. Discovery learning Teaching method • Inquiry based process • Focuses on learning through experience • Inductive Reasoning –using specific examples to formulate a general principle. Spiral construction of curriculum (revisits concepts) • • • • • Learner builds on past experience Students interact with environment Discovers facts and relationships on own Students create own construct of knowledge through narrative Powerpoint Templates Page 8
  9. 9. Advantages of Discovery Learning • active engagement • promotes motivation • promotes ownership of learning • the development of creativity and problem solving skills. • a tailored learning experience Powerpoint Templates Page 9
  10. 10. Criticisms of Discovery Learning • Too much information (cognitive overload) • Often requires vast resources unavailable in traditional classroom. • Lack of teacher control • Potential misconceptions • Teachers may fail to recognize misconceptions Powerpoint Templates Page 10
  11. 11. Examples of Discovery Learning • learning with and through narratives • case-based learning • guided discovery • problem-based learning • simulation-based learning • incidental learning Powerpoint Templates Page 11
  12. 12. Discovery in Action • A distinction is usually made between pure discovery learning, in which the students work on their own to a very great extent, and guided discovery, in which the teacher provides some direction. • Discovery Learning – Bruner’s approach, in which students work on their own to discover basic principles • Guided Discovery – An adaptation of discovery learning, in which the teacher provides some direction. Powerpoint Templates Page 12
  13. 13. Pure Discovery vs Guided Discovery • Unguided or pure discovery may be appropriate for preschool children, but in a typical elementary or secondary classroom, unguided activities usually prove unmanageable and unproductive. • For these situations, guided discovery is preferable. • Students are presented with intriguing questions, baffling situations, or interesting problems. Powerpoint Templates Page 13
  14. 14. Guidelines: Applying Bruner’s Ideas • Present both examples and non-examples of the concepts you are teaching. Examples: 1. In teaching about mammals, include people, kangaroos, whales, cats, dolphins, and camels as examples, and chickens, fish, alligators, frogs, and penguins as non-examples. 2. Ask students for additional examples and non-examples. • Encourage students to make intelligent guesses. 1. Instead of giving a word’s definition, say, ―Let us take a look at the words around it and think about what it possibly means.‖ Powerpoint Templates Page 14
  15. 15. Modes of Representation • Bruner suggested that different ways of thinking (or representation) were important at different ages • In contrast, Piaget emphasized that children developed sequentially through different stages of development. • The enactive mode (used in 1st 18 months) • The iconic mode (develops from 18 months) • The symbolic mode (6-7 years onwards) Powerpoint Templates Page 15
  16. 16. Modes of Representation • Each of Bruner's stages of representation builds off of the knowledge and information learned in the previous stage, or in other words, the stage before acts as scaffolding for the next stage. • Each stage is a "way in which information or knowledge are stored and encoded in memory" (Mcleod, 2008). Powerpoint Templates Page 16
  17. 17. I. Enactive (action-based) Sometimes called the concrete stage, this first stage involves a tangible hands-on method of learning. Bruner believed that "learning begins with an action touching, feeling, and manipulating" (Brahier, 2009, p. 52).  In mathematics education, manipulatives are the concrete objects with which the actions are performed. Common examples of manipulatives used in this stage in math education are algebra tiles, paper, coins, etc. anything tangible Powerpoint Templates Page 17
  18. 18. II. Iconic (image-based)  Sometimes called the pictorial stage, this second stage involves images or other visuals to represent the concrete situation enacted in the first stage.  One way of doing this is to simply draw images of the objects on paper or to picture them in one's head.  Other ways could be through the use of shapes, diagrams, and graphs. Powerpoint Templates Page 18
  19. 19. III. Symbolic (language-based)  Sometimes called the abstract stage, the last stage takes the images from the second stage and represents them using words and symbols.  The use of words and symbols "allows a student to organize information in the mind by relating concepts together" (Brahier, 2009, p. 53).  The words and symbols are abstractions, they do not necessarily have a direct connection to the information.  For example, a number is a symbol used to describe how many of something there are, but the number in itself has little meaning without the understanding of it means for there to be that number of something.  Other examples would be variables such as x or y, or mathematical symbols such as +, -, /, etc.  Finally, language and words are another way to abstractly represent the idea. In the context of math, this could be the use of words such as addition, infinite, the number three, etc. Powerpoint Templates Page 19
  20. 20. Scaffolding • Wood, Bruner and Ross (1976) – adults particularly parents, support children's cognitive development through everyday play interactions. • Scaffolding is a temporary support structure around that child’s attempts to understand new ideas and complete new tasks. Powerpoint Templates Page 20
  21. 21. Scaffolding Purposes The purpose of the support is to allow the child to achieve higher levels of development by:  simplifying the task or idea motivating and encouraging the child highlighting important task elements or errors giving models that can be imitated Powerpoint Templates Page 21
  22. 22. Application for Teachers of Mathematics • While Bruner has influenced education greatly, it has been most noticeable in mathematical education. • The theory is useful in teaching mathematics which is primarily conceptual, as it begins with a concrete representation and progresses to a more abstract one. • Initially, the use of manipulatives in the enactive stage is a great ways to "hook" students, who may not be particularly interested in the topic. Powerpoint Templates Page 22
  23. 23. Activity • Create your own examples of scaffolding experiences and explain how they support cognitive development. • What are its implications for education/instruction? Powerpoint Templates Page 23
  24. 24. References • Kearsley, G (2008). Constructivist theory. Retrieved February 14, 2008, from Explorations in Learning and Instruction Web site: Jerome Seymour Bruner. (2006). • In Encyclopedia of World Biography [Web]. Thompson Gale. Retrieved 2/18/2008, from • Learning Theories Knowledgebase (2008, February). Discovery Learning (Bruner) at Retrieved February 18, 2008 from • Bruner, , Jerome S. (2001). In Gale encyclopedia of Psychology [Web]. Retrieved 2/18/2008, from •'s+Stages+of+Representation Powerpoint Templates Page 24