Jerome Seymour Bruner is an American psychologist who made signification contributions to educational, cognitive and developmental psychology. This paper will focus on who Bruner is, his main theories explained, plus a comparison between Bruner and Piaget and the effectiveness of Bruners theories in the classroom.
Bruner was born and raised in New York City, Bruner graduated high school in 1933 and went on to major in psychology at Duke University; earning an AB degree in 1937. Subsequently, Bruner pursued a graduate study at Harvard University receiving the MA in 1939 and a Ph.D. in 1941.
Gardner (2001) noted;
“Jerome Bruner has served a vital role in the educational discourse of our time: bringing to bear the latest thinking in psychology on the contemporary problems of the society.” (page 94).
In 1960, Bruner published 'The Process of Education'; a landmark text which had a direct impact on policy arrangement in the US, influencing thinking and orientation of a wide group of teachers and students. The main objectives of this process is to present subject matter effectively, not only for coverage but the structure too. Bruner (1960) focusses on 4 key themes which emerged around the process. The first theme is the importance of the structure; a practical approach focusing on two different ways of learning. The first way of learning describes specific relevance to tasks that are highly similar to those who we originally learned to preform and the second is earlier learning renders later performance more efficiently through the transfer of principles and attitudes. The second theme is the readiness for learning. This theme suggests that schools have wasted a great deal of time postponing the teaching of important areas as they are considered too difficult. The theme supports the idea of 'the spiral curriculum'; the idea of this curriculum is to revisit the basic ideas repeatedly, building upon them until the students have grasped the full understanding that goes with them. The third theme is intuitive thinking, a neglected but important feature of productive thinking. Careful examinations of the nature of intuitive thinking is a great aid to those in teaching and effective thinking is supported by the development of self-confidence and courage. The fourth theme is motivation for learning; an interest in the learning material is the best stimulus for learning and must be kept broad and different in expression. It is important for students to feel motivated whilst learning, the motives for learning must be based upon as much as possible on interests. Bruner's work had a profound effect on education, researchers and the students he has worked with. Bruner (1964) clearly states that his theory is “the development of human intellectual functioning”.
A lot of Bruner's work was powered by earlier theoretical research of Vygotsky and Piaget. My main focus is on the similarities and differences of Bruner and Piaget, as LaFrancois (2000)...