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Jerome Bruner

A custom research paper example may begin: Jerome Bruner was born in 1915. He received a B.A. in psychology from Duke University in 1937 and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1941. From 1945 until 1970 Bruner was a professor of psychology at Harvard. In 1970, he moved to Oxford University in England. In 1991, Bruner joined the faculty of New York University where he remains today. He is affiliated with the Psychology Department and the Law School, where he studies “the various institutional forms by which culture is passed on… in legal codes and legal praxis".

Jerome Bruner

During World War II, Bruner worked in the “Anglo-American Psychological Warfare Division” (Bruner, Search 45) where he reported on the state of mind in areas the Allies had passed through. After the war, he began his famous work in cognitive and educational psychology. His interest in education led him to study developmental psychology. He disputed Piaget’s theory that there are some things very young children cannot learn. While at Oxford, Bruner focused on language development. In the 80s, he developed a theory of how the mind structures reality via narrative. In the 90s, he turned to the study of the psychology of law.

Among his most famous works are: The Process of Education, Actual Minds, Possible Worlds, The Culture of Education, and Acts of Meaning. His career is one of the most distinguished and certainly one of the longest in the field of psychology and philosophy of education.

Bruner and Educational Theory

The cognitive-interactionist theories of developmental psychologist J.W. Bruner represent a wealth of valuable knowledge regarding learning theory. Bruner places a strong emphasis on the role of culture as it informs learning, and draws on the fields of anthropology, linguistics, biology, philosophy, and sociology for his own theory formation. In studying the work of Bruner, it is described that the psychologist “has set in motion innovations for which there may have been theoretical bases for some time”.

Bruner describes the purpose of education as involving the acquisition and development of intellectual skills, and he stressed culture’s effect on a person’s intelligence and ways of thinking. Bruner’s ideas of learning have three facets:

  • Acquisition of New Information

  • Transformation of Knowledge

  • Check of the Pertinence and Adequacy of Knowledge

Bruner and Conceptualization

Bruner describes his ideas regarding learning as “instrumental conceptualization,” and basis his view on the ideas that “one’s knowledge of the world is based on one’s constructed models of reality,” and “such models are first adopted from one’s culture, then adapted to one’s individual use”. Bruner is recognized widely for his emphasis on the power of the narrative nature of learning.

No single thread is more prevalent in the complaints of educators today than the problems arising from too much television and game-playing in the daily routine of a child. For obvious reasons, children are drawn to the world of DVDs, television shows and role-playing games for the quick action, sound effects, fantasy, color, and the intensity of the overall experience. Beside such special effects, the effort of reading a book pales by comparison. Added to that, reading is intrinsically more difficult than merely watching, listening and absorbing. Reading is by and large an activity which the child might choose to do at a specific time, with no guarantee that his peers are also reading the same book at the same time, eliminating the satisfaction of peer comparisons and social interaction regarding the experience. However, if all the children in a particular social group watch The Simpsons at the specific time that it airs in their area, they can share the experience at recess the next day, or later that evening by television or chat room. To the satisfaction of educators everywhere, there are occasional exceptions, one of the most dramatic being the Harry Potter books, fiction so involving to children that they not only eagerly read them, but they surmounted the obstacle of the very length of the books. These would be important concepts to include in your research paper.

Still, the accessibility of popular culture poses many difficulties, some social, and some primarily concerned with literacy. Children can slip into a trance-like “robotism” when watching television – they enter a world in which their parents for the most part play no role. The lack of reality, the violence, the crass sentiments that this world may embrace are in themselves cause for concern. In addition, time spent in front of the television contributes to physical laziness, as well as mental laziness (depending of course on the choice of program). Sad to say, however, the ratings for discovery programs and other worthwhile offerings lag severely behind those of so-called “popular” entertainment. Bruner’s theories did not take into account these examples of popular culture that demonstrate the many facets of current entertainment options that serve to dimin
ish the importance of literacy to children.