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  • Jerome Bruna's theory of development is based on the assumption that we learn

  • best when we go from concrete to abstract in a three-step process. First

  • comes hands-on action, then learning with images, and finally students transform

  • what they've learned into language. throughout the experience we constantly

  • revisit previously learned topics while teachers provide carefully structured

  • guidance along the way. And it seems to work.. In the 1980's the Singaporean

  • government decided to stop importing foreign textbooks and instead build the

  • world's best maths curriculum from scratch.

  • Since that time Singaporeans study fewer concepts with greater detail following

  • Bruner's guideline. Before we learn how well this worked out let's go through

  • each step of the theory with an example: First, we learn through en-active

  • representation. This happens in hands-on experiences ideally with real-world

  • applications: to divide 4 by 2, students learn to cut a cake into 4

  • slices so each can eat one now and bring one home later.

  • Step two is iconic representation: we now link our memories of the experience to

  • iconic pictures. Students are asked to draw a cake that was cut into four

  • pieces. Last comes symbolic representation. We

  • now use the images we internalized earlier and turn them into abstract

  • language such as mathematical symbols. Using a little bit of retrospection we

  • can easily solve the problem.

  • This last phase is also called language based because we are really just

  • learning the right words and symbols to express our thoughts. The actual maths

  • knowledge was acquired much earlier through hands-on experiences. Bruner

  • therefore advocated for the use of a spiral curriculum with continuous

  • repetition of the same fundamental ideas. The curriculum is comprised of three

  • characteristics: students revisit the same topic at regular intervals, the

  • complexity of the topic increases with each revisit, the new learning has a

  • relationship with previous learning. Teachers also use scaffolding, a term

  • coined by Bruner. Teachers do this by structuring activities based on students

  • existing knowledge and in a way that helps them to reach the desired learning

  • outcome. The teacher first demonstrates the process as the student watches then

  • the teacher lets the students have a go, steps back and offers support and

  • feedback when needed. Today, by the way, Singapore's fourth and eighth graders

  • are the world's best in both mathematics and science and Singapore's maths

  • curriculum is copied by educators from around the world. Jerome Bruner was born

  • blind in New York City in 1915. At the age of two modern medicine restored his vision.

  • Later he returned the favor by becoming a pioneer in cognitive development.

  • He believed that any subject can be taught in an intellectually honest form,

  • to any child, at any stage of development. What do you think about Bruna's theory

  • and his suggestion for better learning? Is this how you learn in your studies? If

  • not, what is one subject that you think could be made more understandable by

  • following his ideas?

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Jerome Bruna's theory of development is based on the assumption that we learn

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B1 learning curriculum revisit theory representation jerome

Bruner’s Theory of Learning: 3 Steps to a World Class Education

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    Summer posted on 2020/04/23
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