Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jerome Brunner's Educational Theory

Jerome Bruner (1915-).

Jerome Bruner was born in U.S.A and his influence on teaching has been important. He was possibly the leading proponent of discovery approach in mathematical education although he was not the inventor of the concept (Romiszowski.,A.J.,1997).
Bruner describes the general learning process in the following manner. First the child finds in his manipulation of the materials regularities that correspond with intuitive regularities it has already come to understand. According to Bruner the child finds some sort of match between what it is doing in the outside world and some models or templates that it has already grasped intellectually. For Bruner it is seldom something outside the learner that is discovered. Instead, the discovery involves an internal reorganisation of previously known ideas in order to establish a better fit between those ideas and regularities of an encounter to which the learner has had to accommodate.
His approach was characterised by three stages which he calls enactive, iconic and symbolic and are solidly based on the developmental psychology of Jean Piaget. The first, the enactive level, is where the child manipulate materials directly. Then he proceed to the iconic level, where he deals with mental images of objects but does not manipulate them directly. At last he moves to the symbolic level, where he is strictly manipulating symbols and no longer mental images or objects. The optimum learning process should according to Bruner go through these stages.

1. Enactive mode. When dealing with the enactive mode, one is using some known aspects of reality without using words or imagination. Therefore, it involves representing the past events through making motor responses. It involves manly in knowing how to do something; it involves series of actions that are right for achieving some result e.g. Driving a car, skiing, tying a knot.

2. Iconic Mode. This mode deals with the internal imagery, were the knowledge is characterised by a set of images that stand for the concept. The iconic representation depends on visual or other sensory association and is principally defined by perceptual organisation and techniques for economically transforming perceptions into meaning for the individual.

3. Symbolic mode. Through life one is always adding to the resources to the symbolic mode of representation of thought. This representation is based upon an abstract, discretionary and flexible thought. It allows one to deal with what might be and what might not, and is a major tool in reflective thinking. This mode is illustrative of a person’s competence to consider propositions rather than objects, to give ideas a hierarchical structure and to consider alternative possibilities in a combinatorial fashion, (Spencer.K.,1991, p.185-187).

The association of these ideas of manipulations of actual materials as a part of developmental model and the Socraterian notion of learning as internal reorganisation into a learning by discovery approach is the unique contribution of Bruner (Romiszowski.,A.J.1997, p.23).

In 1960, Bruner (then a professor of Harvard University) proposed a “spiral curriculum” concept to facilitate structuring a curriculum ´around the great issues, principles, and values that a society deems worthy of the continual concern of its members´ (Bruner, 1960). The next decades many school system educators attempted to implement this concept into their curriculum. Bruner (1975) described the principles behind the spiral curriculum in the following way:

”…I was struck by the fact that successful efforts to teach highly structured bodies of knowledge like mathematics, physical sciences, and even the field of history often took the form of metaphoric spiral in which at some simple level a set of ideas or operations were introduced in a rather intuitive way and, once mastered in that spirit, were then revisited and reconstrued in a more formal or operational way, then being connected with other knowledge, the mastery at this stage then being carried one step higher to a new level of formal or operational rigour and to a broader level of abstraction and comprehensiveness. The end stage of this process was eventual mastery of the connexity and structure of a large body of knowledge”…(p.3-4).

It was in the 1980s, that a body of literature had accumulated in support of individual components of a spiral curriculum model. Reigeluth and Stein (1983) published the seminal work on “ The Elaboration Theory of Instruction”. It proposes that when structuring a course, it should be organised in a simple-to-complex, general-to-detailed, abstract-to-concrete manner. Another principle is that one should follow learning prerequisite sequence, it is applied to individual lessons within a course. In order for a student to develop from simple to more complex lessons, certain prerequisite knowledge and skills must first be mastered. This prerequisite sequencing provides linkages between each lesson as student spirals upwards in a course of a study. As new knowledge and skills are introduced in a subsequent lessons, they reinforce what is already learnt and become related to previously learned information. What the student gradually achieves is a rich breadth and depth of information that is not normally developed in curricula where each topic is discrete and disconnected from each other (Dowding, T.J. 1993).
Bruner suggested that cognitive process precede perception rather than the other way around, that a person may not perceive an object until he or she has recognised it. These cognitive theories of perception emphasise the role of knowledge in how we interpret the world.
Howard Gardner (1987,p.6) defined cognitive science as “a contemporary, empirically based effort to answer long-standing epistemological questions- particularly those concerned with the nature of knowledge, its components, its sources, its development, and its deployment. ”The theories of the constructivist are originated from this school of thought.
The beginning of the 1950s and maintaining through the 1990s, educators drew on rising insight of communications specialists, learning theories, and systems engineers. The 1990s have been marked by the challenge of construcivism.
Jerome Bruner's Educational Theory
M. Arndts, W. Cabelus, J. Edwards, J. Goldstein, B. Jones,
A. Marriott, M. Stewart, T. Mintzer Wisniewski & K. Zwick

Edited by G. K. Clabaugh, Ed. D.

edited 5/29/09
Born in 1915, to Polish immigrants, Jerome Bruner was raised in New York City. He was born blind but achieved sight after two cataract operations while he was an infant. Bruner became one of the leading education psychologists of his time, developing an influential theory of active learning that set a precedent for how teaching is conducted in the modern era.
Bruner was educated at Duke University and Harvard University, from which he was awarded a PhD in 1941. After receiving this doctorate, Bruner continued to work at Harvard, staying on as a professor in psychology from 1952-1972, where he also cofounded and directed the Center for Cognitive Studies.[1] In addition to his PhD from Harvard, Bruner holds honorary Doctorates from Yale, Columbia, Sorbonne, Berlin, and Rome. Bruner also taught at other universities, including Oxford, and is currently on the faculty of NYU’s School of Law, where he explains his current interests as: “the various institutional forms by which culture is passed on -- most particularly in school practices and in legal codes and legal praxis. In both examples, my concern is with how canonical forms create dialectic with the "possible worlds" of imaginative art forms. My preferred method of work in both instances is the anthropological-interpretive.”[2]
Bruner, along with Leo Postman, developed the so - called “New Look” in psychology. It dealt with the how people viewed the word around them and how they respond to different visual stimulus. Together they focused mainly on perception as an active process, based on experience and cultural conditions.[3]
In addition to studying perception, Bruner began to look at the role of strategies in the development of human cognition. [4] During the 1950’s and 1960’s, cognitive psychology led Bruner to a profound interest in the cognitive development of children and to what the appropriate forms of education may be for them. Ultimately, Bruner became one of the most influential figures in the “cognitive revolution,” and a great influence on education.[5]
Bruner’s studies were influenced by the work of Piaget, Vygotsky, and Luria. Their work helped Bruner develop his stages of cognition that he subsequently applied to the classroom, in his much-translated book The Process of Education (1960).[6] This book was a powerful stimulus to the curriculum-reform movement of that period. In it Bruner famously argued that any subject could be taught to any child at any stage of development, if it is presented in the proper manner.
Bruner also studied perception in children, concluding that children’s individual values significantly affect their discernment.[7] More recently, he made critical contributions to the 'cognitive revolution' and helped develop the field of cultural psychology. This sub-discipline takes particular account of the historical and social context in which educational processes take place. Bruner’s interest in this context was reflected in his later work on education, especially in his 1996 book The Culture of Education. [8]
I. Theory of Value: What knowledge and skills are worthwhile learning? What are the goals of education?
A major theme observed through Jerome Bruner’s studies is that education is a process of personal discovery. [9] According to Bruner, as cognitive growth occurs, students move through three stages of learning: enactive, iconic, and symbolic. In the enactive stage, students begin to develop understanding through active manipulation. Therefore, students at the enactive stage should be given the opportunity to “play” with the materials in order to fully understand how it works. In the second stage, iconic, students are capable of making mental images of the material and no longer need to manipulate them directly. Here students are able to visualize concrete information. The symbolic is the final stage in which students can use abstract ideas to represent the world. For example, students are able to evaluate, judge, and think critically.[10] Students must go through all of these stages successively in order to connect new ideas and concepts if they are to generate their own understanding.
Bruner maintains that effective teachers must provide assistance and guidance through these three stages via a process he calls “scaffolding”. This is how students build understanding. Ultimately, scaffolding allows students to become independent learners.
The overall goal of education is that a teacher should guide their students so that they build their own base of knowledge instead of being taught through rote memorization.[11] New information provided to the students would then be understood and classified based on the knowledge they already have. Bruner says, “The interconnection of the new experience with the prior knowledge results in the reorganization of the cognitive structure, which creates meaning and allows the individual to "go beyond the information given".”[12]
According to Bruner’s theory, the learner must instigate experiences, seek out the information necessary to solve problems, and reorganize what they already know to achieve new knowledge. In order to comprehend the material the learner must actively manipulate the information either concretely or abstractly, and use inductive reasoning to draw inferences and make generalizations. The students must then confirm or disprove these generalizations by themselves through “discovery learning” or with the assistance of a teacher through “guided discovery.” This allows students to identify an organizational structure and create a “coding system” to mentally connect concepts together.
Bruner says, “We teach a subject not to produce little libraries on that subject, but rather to get a student to think mathematically for himself, to consider matters as a historian does, to take part in the process of knowledge–getting. Knowing is a process, not a product.”[13] Learning will therefore become more consequential, practical, and memorable. At a conference at Columbia University, Bruner urged teachers to, “Transmit conventional ideas but encourage students to make the leap to the imaginable.” He insisted that, “We must not teach present fact, but to open up questions,” if we don’t, Bruner warned, we would be doing an injustice to the teaching of the different subject curriculums[14].

II. Theory of Knowledge: What is knowledge? How is it different from belief? What is a mistake? A lie?
A major theme in Bruner’s theoretical framework 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 (connecting thoughts and organizing information) to do so.[15]
Bruner makes a case for education as a knowledge-getting process, meaning that children need to participate in the process of acquiring knowledge. [16] One of the three major considerations in the Process of Education deals with the structure of knowledge. Bruner maintains that the important things to learn involve how an idea or discipline is put together.[17] But he also reminds us that, “Knowledge is not a storehouse. You already "know" most of what you "learn" in science and mathematics. "Learning" is, most often, figuring out how to use what you already know in order to go beyond what you currently think.” [18]
In the Culture of Education, Bruner makes a connection between knowledge and beliefs. He states “that more is required to justify beliefs than merely sharing them with others. That “more” is the machinery of justification for one’s beliefs, the canons of scientific and philosophical reasoning. Knowledge, after all, is justified belief.”[19]
Bruner would conclude that making mistakes is necessary in order to gain knowledge. As a constructivist, Bruner knows that learning occurs through problem solving. Through the active process of discovery and trial and error the student can uncover the interrelationships between concepts and ideas, which allows them to gain knowledge about “new truths.” This process of making “mistakes” is a necessary process in order to discover the facts about the concept. It also allows the learner to have a better comprehension of the information learned because through making a mistake the student learns the accuracy of the information.[20] Bruner views mistakes as a necessary part of the learning process, children should be encouraged to try new things, even if mistakes happen. Learning and knowledge evolve through active experiences with one’s environment through trial and error experimentation. In The Process of Education, Bruner writes: “It takes a sensitive teacher to distinguish an intuitive mistake – an interestingly wrong leap – from a stupid or ignorant mistake, and it requires a teacher who can give approval and correction simultaneously to the intuitive student.” [21]
A lie, or a deception, according to Bruner’s theory could be classified as a deliberate misrepresentation of the information learned. Through discovery learning, these lies can be worked out and true knowledge acquired.
III. Theory of Human Nature: What is a human being? How does it differ from other species? What are the limits of human potential?
Scientists would classify man as a bipedal primate in the Hominidae family that is capable of viewing the world abstractly; has the ability to think about topics that took place in the past, present, and even the future clearly separates humans from every other animal on this planet. Bruner states that, “the divide in human evolution was crossed when culture became the major factor in giving form to the minds of those living under its sway.” [22]
Ultimately for Bruner, however, being human involves being part of a culture that empowers us to “look outside the human skin for the sources of human competence – to the culturally provided prosthetic devices that make it possible for the human mind to vault beyond itself[23].” Other species do not have this capacity. He was particularly interested in language and other representations of human thought.[24] Bruner emphasizes that humans are beings that interact with others verbally. They are able to make connections while constructing materials, to express understanding of a new concept and to demonstrate knowledge of the subject through models of reasoning. Once a human has discovered a new idea they can examine the perception to expand their understanding.[25]
Bruner also states that, “Although the world of culture has achieved an autonomy of its own, it is constrained by biological limits and biologically determined predispositions.”[26] These factors impact the ways in which humans construct meaning. Bruner cautions, “We need to realize human potential, but we need to maintain a culture's integrity and stability. We need to recognize differing native talent, but we need to equip all with the tools of the culture. We need to respect the uniqueness of local identities and experience, but we cannot stay together if the cost of local identity is a cultural Tower of Babel.”[27]
These two conflicting viewpoints, both given by Bruner show us that, as a human being with environmental, cultural and biological predispositions himself, Bruner strives for the imagined limitlessness of the collective human potential, but at the same time recognizes the powerful role that such variables play in the difference between what we can do and what we believe we can do based on our distinctly human interpretations of the world around us.
Having the potential for limitless cognitive growth, Bruner describes the brain’s “opportunistic” nature. “The humanoid mind/brain complex does not simply ‘grow up’ biologically according to a genetically predestined timetable but, rather, is opportunistic to nurturing in a human-like environment.”[28] Meaning humans have the ability to “understand what something ‘means’ requires some awareness of the alternative meanings that can be attached to it.”[29]

IV. Theory of Learning: What is learning? How are skills and knowledge acquired?
In his book In Search of Mind, Jerome Bruner explains his idea of learning: “’Learning’ is, most often, figuring out how to use what you already know in order to go beyond what you currently think. There are many ways of doing that. Some are more intuitive; others are formally derivational. But they all depend on knowing something “structural” about what you are contemplating-how to put it together. Knowing how something is put together is worth a thousand facts about it. It permits you to go beyond it.”[30]
According to Bruner, learning is an active social process in which students construct new ideas or concepts based on current knowledge. The student selects information, originates hypotheses, and makes decisions in the process of integrating experiences into their existing mental constructs.[31] This is similar to Information Processing Theory (IPT), where the learner selects and transforms newly acquired information into meaning. By organizing the cognitive structure, using schema and mental models, the learner can provide meaning and organization to experiences and go beyond the information given.[32]
Bruner describes learning as what happens when one applies previous learning and life experience (biological or cultural) to the completion of a new task or the understanding of an unfamiliar concept. He also maintains that if given the proper organization and facilitation of the new information, a person at any age can learn, even if it is only the most basic understanding of the material being taught. This type of ‘scaffolding’ allows learners to use all of their biological as well as cultural tools in order to ‘build’ their understanding of a task or topic.
Bruner maintains that learning follows a similar sequence no matter the age of the learner. As was already mentioned, Bruner argues that there are three ways in which human beings interpret the world around them. In learning, we move through each stage to develop a more comprehensive understanding of what we are experiencing, but these stages are very integrated, occurring together in some cases, and only loosely sequential as one translates into the other.[33] In these three stages which are enactive (action-based), iconic (image-based), and symbolic (language-based), learners faced with new information move through each stage of representation as they grasp the concept of what is being learned.
Both Jean Piaget, Bruner’s mentor, and Bruner himself demonstrated how thought processes could be subdivided into distinct modes of reasoning. While Piaget related each mode to a specific period of childhood development, Bruner saw each mode as dominant during each development phase, but present and accessible throughout. “Although Bruner derived these stages from Piaget, Bruner, unlike Piaget, did not contend that these stages were necessarily age-dependent.”[34]
Bruner suggests that the approach taken with regards to structure in learning should be a practical one. “The teaching and learning of structure, rather than simply the mastery of facts and techniques, is at the center of the classic problem of transfer... . If earlier learning is to render later learning easier, it must do so by providing a general picture in terms of which the relations between things encountered earlier and later are made as clear as possible.”[35] Bruner also suggests that interest in the material to be learned is the best stimulus for learning, rather than external goals such as grades or competitive advantage.
Students build knowledge based on previously learned information in a spiraling fashion, which enables learners to connect prior schematic concepts. In a scholastic context, Bruner described this process as a Spiral Curriculum. Here is how he describes it: “the idea that in teaching a subject you begin with an “intuitive” account that is well within the reach of a student, and then circle back later to a more formal or highly structured account, until, with however many more recyclings are necessary, the learner has mastered the topic or subject in its full generative power.” [36] For example, a student first learns how to add. Later, the student learns how to multiply and connects the idea of multiplication as repeated addition. This is how students connect prior schemata with new information.
Bruner maintains that knowing is a process, therefore, his work focuses on the importance of understanding the structure of the subject being studied and the need for active learning as the basis for understanding. Bruner argues that when learners are presented with perplexing situations they will want to figure out the solution. This was the basis for his discovery learning theory. Discovery learning is an inquiry-based, constructivist learning theory that takes place in problem solving situations where the learner draws on his or her own past experience and existing knowledge to discover facts and relationships and new truths to be learned. Students interact with the world by exploring and manipulating objects, wrestling with questions and controversies, or performing experiments.[37]
That is why the structure of learning is more important than simply memorizing facts. Learners should be able to make connections between concepts. According to Bruner, schools often do a disservice to students because it limits teaching the important information. Learners need time to think analytically about information and not simply use their intuition to solve a problem. There needs to be an analytical process to investigate the information presented. In order to be invested in learning, learners must be interested in the material.[38]
V. Theory of Transmission: Who is to teach? By what methods? What will the curriculum be?
In The Culture of Education, Bruner describes his view on the transmission of knowledge, “Passing on knowledge and skill, like any human exchange, involves a sub-community in interaction. At the minimum, it involves a ‘teacher’ and a ‘learner’ – or if not a teacher in flesh and blood, then a vicarious one like a book, or film, or display, or a ‘responsive’ computer. It is principally through interacting with others that children find out what culture is about and how it conceives of the world. Unlike any other species, human beings deliberately teach each other in settings outside the ones in which the knowledge being taught will be used.” [39]
Bruner disagrees with “our Western pedagogical tradition” where teaching, “is fitted into a mold in which a single, presumably omniscient teacher explicitly tells or shows presumably unknowing learners something the presumably know nothing about.”[40] He proposes instead that, “…learners help each other learn, each according to her abilities. And this, of course, need not exclude the presence of somebody serving in the role of teacher. It simply implies that the teacher does not play that role as a monopoly, that learners ‘scaffold’ for each other as well. The antithesis is the ‘transmission’ model first described…”[41]
Bruner’s theory of cognitive development focuses on the idea of active transmission, conducted via discovery learning. Discovery learning is an “inquiry-based, constructivist learning theory that takes place in problem solving situations where the learner draws on his or her own past experience and existing knowledge to discover facts and relationships and new truths to be learned”.[42] It is through this style of learning that a student interacts with his or her own world; exploring objects; questioning (creating hypothesis); and developing problem-based learning skills. Bruner found that, as a result of this learning development, students are “more likely to remember concepts and knowledge discovered on their own”.[43]
More than just actively learning, Bruner associated his cognitive development theory with the idea of promoting life-long learners. Bruner maintained, “Cognitive structure (i.e., schema, mental models) provides meaning and organization to experiences and allows the individual to go beyond the information given”.[44] The skills that promote transmission, in the opinion of Bruner, it allows the student to create connections to the material at hand, thus making deeper assimilations to information, and developing a stronger urge to see where the information will lead them next.
The instructor’s role on providing an environment in which this transmission of information can occur is key. The role of the instructor is to not only provide the key materials necessary for learning, but to also maintain an open dialogue with students, thus facilitating any possible connections that the student may not create independently.
To instruct someone... is not a matter of getting him to commit results to mind. Rather, it is to teach him to participate in the process that makes possible the establishment of knowledge. We teach a subject not to produce little living libraries on that subject, but rather to get a student to think mathematically for himself, to consider matters as an historian does, to take part in the process of knowledge-getting. Knowing is a process not a product. (1966: 72)[45]
Bruner marries his three modes of representation and Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development in what he calls the “spiral curriculum”. He describes this method in his book, The Culture of Education, “…in teaching a subject you begin with an ‘intuitive’ account that is well within the reach of the student, and then circle back later to a more formal or highly structured account, until, with however many recyclings are necessary, the learner has mastered the topic or subject in its full generative power.”[46]
Bruner’s theory of transmission is not meant to be restricted to a classroom setting. Instead, this theory focuses on one’s ability to develop skills that will aid them in learning outside of the classroom, as well. Bruner’s concept of instruction is meant to be “the means of transmitting the tools and skills of a culture, the acquired characteristics that express and amplify man's powers--especially the crucial symbolic tools of language, number, and logic.”[47] Never before have learning such skills been more necessary than now. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government”, meaning that a country’s well-being is based entirely on its citizens ability to digest, interpret, and develop information.[48]
Bruner maintains that the goal of teaching is to facilitate learning experiences and stimulate critical thinking skills; not simply to transmit knowledge. Bruner states, “In theorizing about the practice of education in the classroom (or any other setting, for that matter), you had better take into account the folk theories that those engaged in teaching and learning already have. For any innovations that you, as a "proper" pedagogical theorist, may wish to introduce will have to compete with, replace, or otherwise modify the folk theories that already guide both teachers and pupils” [49]. Therefore, anyone can teach in any setting, however, Bruner implies that the “educator,” should be knowledgeable about the theories that are accepted and employed by more seasoned practitioners. Otherwise, Bruner warns, novel ideas about the process of teaching and learning will undergo scrutiny and have to compete against the widespread theories of education that are currently implemented.
According to Bruner, children learn through a process of inquiry in which they discover relationships between concepts. As the learner is faced with problems he or she uses their prior knowledge, experiences, and self-motivation to uncover new truths. The student develops responsibility as he or she encounters new information. By physically interacting with concepts through questioning, experimenting, and researching students become part of the findings and are more inclined to comprehend the relationships between the hypotheses.[50]
Consequently, in the curriculum there must be a process of discovery where people examine and develop ideas through active engagement. Discovery learning encourages students to actively use their instinct to discover interrelationships between different concepts. This should be done through inductive reasoning where students can observe, analyze, infer, and confirm concepts. [51] In Discovery learning, it is the teacher’s responsibility to present examples for the students, however the student must use the evidence to prove or disprove their assumptions with support from the teacher.[52]
Given Bruner’s theory of discovery learning, the environment is designed to encourage learners to continually question and explore concepts through hands on experiences. Curiosities are destined to arise therefore the curriculum is not specifically planned out. Bruner says, “We have become so preoccupied with the more formal criteria of "performance" and with the bureaucratic demands of education as an institution that we have neglected this personal side of education[53].” Thus, Bruner implies that although we focus on mastery of curriculum objectives in our culture of education, we should also cultivate critical thinking skills and collaboration within our learners. Bruner emphasizes that, “In most matters of achieving mastery, we also want learners to gain good judgment, to become self-reliant, to work well with each other. And such competencies do not flourish under a one-way "transmission" regimen[54].”
The curriculum, according to Bruner, should involve sequencing within a course. In order for students to build on knowledge that is more complex they must first acquire a skill set that allows them to move into more complex topics. The foundation allows the students to spiral higher while studying new skills and reinforcing previously learned information.[55] Bruner described the spiral curriculum in the following way,”…I was struck by the fact that successful efforts to teach highly structured bodies of knowledge like mathematics, physical sciences, and even the field of history often took the form of metaphoric spiral in which at some simple level a set of ideas or operations were introduced in a rather intuitive way and, once mastered in that spirit, were then revisited and reconstrued in a more formal or operational way, then connected with other knowledge. The mastery at this stage then being carried one step higher to a new level of formal or operational rigor and to a broader level of abstraction and comprehensiveness. The end stage of this process was eventual mastery of the connexity and structure of a large body of knowledge…”[56]
In an historic sense Bruner is suggesting using a modernized, more sophisticatd form of Socratic learning. This learning was first developed by the Greek philosopher, Socrates used questioning, to “stimulate rational thinking and illuminate ideas[57].” Similarly, Bruner proposes that instructors should arouse curiosities and draw hypothesis from their learners by using the Socratic questioning method to actively engage them in dialogue[58].
VI. Theory of Society: What is society? What institutions are involved in the educational process?
The American Heritage Dictionary defines a society as “… a group of humans broadly distinguished from other groups by mutual interests, participation in characteristic relationships, shared institutions, and a common culture.”[59] The key word here, as it relates to Bruner, is “culture.” In The Culture of Education, Bruner says “Culture shapes the mind, it provides us with the toolkit by which we construct not only our worlds but our very conception of ourselves and our powers”.[60]
Bruner suggests that a need for societal membership is built into the species. He writes, “Children show an astonishingly strong "predisposition to culture"; they are sensitive to and eager to adopt the folkways they see around them. They show a striking interest in the activity of their parents and peers and with no prompting at all try to imitate what they observe.” [61]
For Bruner, however, this imitation, indeed the entire process of socialization, is complicated by the fact that society is an ever-adapting, ever-changing mechanism. This requires us to continually redefine how we educate the young. Bruner writes, “We are living through bewildering times where the conduct of education is concerned. There are deep problems that stem from many origins - principally form a changing society whose future shape we cannot foresee and for which it is difficult to prepare a new generation.”[62] This is why Bruner thinks that educators must continually change how they instruct their students.
Importantly, Bruner also maintains that education must transcend mere enculturation. He reasons that, “Finding a place in the world … is ultimately an act of imagination.”[63] “The home, workplace, and social (friendship) circles have different values and beliefs, which complicates the individual’s ability to subsist within one culture. Therefore, people should be encouraged to identify and understand their perceptions of culture and go “beyond the cultural ways to innovate ... to create.” Bruner adds, “Each must be his own artist, his own scientist, his own historian, his own navigator.”[64]
As to the institutions involved in the educational process, in The Culture of Education, Bruner stresses that all cultural institutions are involved —some in tension with others. He stresses that, “…there is a reciprocal relation between education and the other major institutional activities of a culture: communication, economics, politics, family life, and so on… education is not a free-standing institution, not an island, but part of the continent.”[65]
Of course Bruner recognizes schools as major institutions in the educational process; but he does so with criticism of the formalistic evaluation and bureaucracy that they involve.
"If school is an entry into the culture and not just a preparation for it, then we must constantly reassess what school does to the young student's conception of his own powers (his sense of agency) and his sensed chances of being able to cope with the world both in school and after (his self-esteem). In many democratic cultures, I think, we have become so preoccupied with the more formal criteria of 'performance' and with the bureaucratic demands of education as an institution that we have neglected this personal side of education".[66]
At some points Bruner seems to see schools as handmaidens of society, rather than a means for social reform. For instance, he explains the relationship between school and society thusly, "What we resolve to do in school only makes sense when considered in the broader context of what the society (note that he treats society as a living organism) intends to accomplish through its educational investment in the young. How one conceives of education, we have finally come to recognize, is a function of how one conceives of culture and its aims, professed and otherwise.”[67]
At one point Bruner’s growing appreciation of the profound impact society has on the process of schooling prompted him to wish that he had had a greater interest in society when he was doing his research. He writes, “If I had it all to do over again, and if I knew how, I would put my energies into reexamining how the schools express the agenda of the society and how that agenda is formulated and how that is translated by the schools. That, it seems to me, would be the properly subversive way to proceed.”[68]
Bruner’s use of the word “subversive” here suggests that he is no mere apologist for the status quo; and he does see a tension between reproducing culture on the one hand and empowering individuals on the other. In the final analysis, empowerment seems to win out, for Bruner maintains that the ultimate function of education is to “… enable people, individual human beings, to operate at their fullest potential, to equip them with the tools and the sense of opportunity to use their wits, skills, and passions to the fullest”.
He also stresses the importance of schools nurturing students’ self-esteem and the personal side of education. He says, “Any system of education, any theory of pedagogy, any ‘grand national policy’ that diminishes the school’s role in nurturing a pupils’ self-esteem fails at one of its primary functions”.[69] But he cautiously notes, “The antinomic counterpart to this is that the function of education is to reproduce the culture that supports it – not only reproduce it, but further its economic, political, and cultural ends”.[70]
VII. Theory of Opportunity: Who is to be educated? Who is to be schooled?
In his research, Bruner does not single out a particular socioeconomic class, culture, gender, age group, or ethnicity as more deserving of the opportunity to receive an education. Bruner believes in the potential of all human beings to learn, within as well as outside of, a cultural context. In the following quote from The Culture of Education, Bruner enthusiastically declares the desired function and education to all humans when he said; “It is unquestionably the function of education to enable people, individual human beings, to operate at their fullest potential, to equip them with the tools and the sense of opportunity to use their wits, skills, and passions to the fullest. “School provides a powerful opportunity for exploring the implication of precepts for practice”.[71]
Jerome Bruner supports the idea that all people in a culture need to be educated as a means to induct the young into a culture’s canonical ways and to enhance their individual powers. Education provides cultural tools and perspective for mental activity to occur. Bruner would maintain that it is inevitable that everyone is educated in one way or another. For example, he states, “Education does not only occur in classrooms, but around the dinner table when family members try to make joint sense of what happened that day, or when kids try to help each other make sense of the adult world, or when a master and apprentice interact on the job.”[72] Bruner says that receiving an "education could provide richer opportunities than it does for creating the metacognitive sensitivity needed for coping with the world of narrative reality.”[73]
So far as schooling is concerned, Bruner maintains that all people should have this opportunity. That’s because Bruner conceives of school as, “Ideally, school is supposed to provide a setting where our performance has fewer esteem-threatening consequences than in the ‘real world’ presumably in the interest of encouraging the learner to “try things out.”[74] Schooling, like education, allows learners to gain knowledge and experience within their culture. “Mental life is lived with others, is shaped to be communicated, and unfolds with the aids of cultural codes, traditions, and the like.”[75] These “cultural codes” are generally taught in schools as language, mathematical symbols and the like.
VIII. Theory of Consensus: Why do people disagree? How is consensus achieved? Whose opinion takes precedence?
In studying Bruner’s theory, disagreement between people is due to cultural differences. Bruner states that, “learning and thinking are always situated in a cultural setting[76]. ” Bruner describes culture as “an interplay between the versions of the world that people form under its institutional sway and the versions of it that are products of their individual histories[77].” Individuals, therefore, construct knowledge on the basis of their culture and from their own experiences, as in discovery learning. Consequently, varying cultural beliefs and different life experiences are the causes of disagreement between people.
Bruner maintains that, “what is sacred is that any well-wrought, well-argued, scrupulously documented, perceptively honest construal of the past, the present, or the possible deserves respect. We all appreciate that, nevertheless, we must decide between competing accounts, competing narratives. That is political and social reality[78].” Consensus, would therefore, be achieved by the majority of people who accept a particular account or narrative. Although many documented narratives maybe honest, thoughtful, and well defended, it is the majority rule that creates consensus. Yet, Bruner writes that, “… every narrator has a point of view and we have an alienable right to question it[79].” It is the act of questioning popular narratives and beliefs that triggers disagreement.
“Some narratives about "what happened" are simply righter, not just because they are better rooted in factuality, but also because they are better contextualized, rhetorically more "fair-minded," and so on[80].” Bruner implies that some narratives or stories are more correct because they are embraced by the status quo or majority. Therefore, the opinion of the majority takes precedence. As Bruner noted, “We accept a certain essential contestability of stories[81].”
In Acts of Meaning, Jerome Bruner writes about disagreements, “When there is a breakdown in a culture (or even a micro culture like the family) it can usually be traced to one of several things. The first is a deep disagreement about what constitutes the ordinary and canonical in life and what the exceptional and divergent…A second threat inheres in the rhetorical overspecialization of narrative, when stories become so self-servingly motivated that distrust displaces interpretation, and “what happened” is discounted as fabrication…And finally, there is a breakdown that results from sheer impoverishment of the narrative resources-in the permanent underclass of the urban ghetto…It is not that there is a total loss in putting story form to experience, but that the “worst scenario” story comes so to dominate daily life that variation seems no longer to be possible.”[82]
Though a cultural community shares many views and ideals, Bruner writes, “…human beings forever suffer conflicts of interests, with attendant grudges, factions, coalitions, and shifting alliances.”[83] As such, Bruner acknowledges, “There must obviously be some consensus to ensure the achievement of civility.”[84] To achieve consensus cultures have “interpretative procedures for adjudicating the different construals of reality that are inevitable in any diverse society.”[85] In addition to these adjudicating procedures, cultures employ peacekeeping strategies. Bruner writes, “In human beings, with their astonishing narrative gift, one of the principal forms of peacekeeping is the human gift for presentating, dramatizing, and explicating the mitigating circumstances surrounding conflict-threatening breaches in the ordinariness of life. The object of the narrative is not to reconcile, not to legitimize, not to even excuse, but to rather explicate…To be in a viable culture is to be bound in a set of connecting stories, connecting even though the stories may not represent a consensus.”[86]
As for whose opinion prevails when consensus is not achieved, Bruner would likely maintain that it depends on the situation. If a law has been broken, an culturally recognized interpretive authority’s (courts of law) opinion would prevail. In a family situation, perhaps the disagreement would go unresolved as a difference of opinion and narrativized to be due to “a generation gap”. If the disagreement is large, as in a difference in opinion on religion, one could seek out a different subculture within the larger culture with members who share a more similar opinion.
Bruner illustrates this point of coming to a conclusion by testing ideas when he states “"Every narrator has a point of view and we have an inalienable right to question it”.[87] With this statement, Bruner exemplifies the idea that discussion, as well as disagreement and the ability to question a point of view, is the best means of coming to a unified agreement.

[1] “Jerome Bruner and the Process of Education” Retrieved from web site: http://www.infed.org/thinkers/bruner.htm
[2] Jerome Bruner’s own description of his current interests on his New York University web page, http://www.psych.nyu.edu/bruner/
[3] “Biography: Jerome Seymour Bruner” Retrieved from web site: http://www.answers.com/topic/jerome-bruner
[4] Smith, M. K., “Jerome S. Bruner and the process of education”, The encyclopedia of informal education. Retrieved from web site: http://www.infed.org/thinkers/bruner.htm
[5] Ibid
[6] Key V. Hevern, “Jerome S. Bruner”, Narrative psychology: Internet and resource guide, Le Moyne College Website, 3 February 2009, http://web.lemoyne.edu/~hevern/nr-theorists/bruner_jerome_s.html
[7] “Jerome S. Bruner” Retrieved from web site: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/82186/Jerome-S-Bruner
[8] “Jerome Bruner and the Process of Education.” Retrieved from web site: http://www.infed.org/thinkers/bruner.htm
[9] [9] Hollyman, David. “Jerome Bruner,” A Web Overview. Retrieved from web site: http://au.geocities.com/vanunoo/Humannature/bruner.html
[10] J. Bruner. Retrieved from web site: “http://starfsfolk.khi.is/solrunb/jbruner.htm_3.htm”
[11] Ibid
[12] Wenyi Ho, Constructivism and Learning, Retrieved from web site: http://www.personal.psu.edu/students/w/x/wxh139/construct.htm.
[13] Jerome Bruner, Toward a Theory of Instruction, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966, p. 72.
[14] Sherwood, Emily. Dr. Jerome Bruner Speaks at Columbia Teachers College: “Educating a Sense of the Possible. Nov. 2005. Retrieved from web site: http://www.educationupdate.com/archives/2005/Nov/html/col-jeromebutler.html
[15] “Constructivist Theory (J. Bruner)” Retrieved from web site: http://tip.psychology.org/bruner.html
[16] “Jerome Bruner and the Process of Education” Retrieved from web site: http://www.infed.org/thinkers/bruner.htm
[17] “Jerome Bruner” Retrieved from web site: http://www.answers.com/topic/jerome-bruner
[18] Bruner, Jerome. In Search of Mind. New York: Harper Colophon, 1983, p. 183.
[19] “Jerome Bruner – Quotations and Extracts.” Retrieved from web site: http://oaks.nvg.org/bruner-words.html
[20] Discovery Learning. Retrieved from web site: http://www.learning-theories.com/discovery-learning-bruner.html
[21] Bruner, J. (1960). The Process of Education. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. P. 68.
[22] Jerome Bruner, Active Meaning, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1990, p. 12.
[23] Jerome Bruner, In Search of Mind Essay in Autobiography. Harper & Row, New York, NY, 1983, p. 278
[24] Ibid
[25] Jerome Bruner: A Web Overview. Retrieved from web site: http://au.geocities.com/vanunoo/Humannature/bruner.html
[26] Bruner, Jerome. The Culture of Education. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA. 1996.
Retrieved from web site: http://www.des.emory.edu/mfp/brunerculture.html
[27] Bruner, Jerome. Philosophical Insights from Jerome Bruner. Retrieved from web site:
[28] Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1996, p. 170.
[29] Scoot London, A Book Review: The Culture of Education by Jerome Bruner, 20 February 2008. Retrieved from website http://www.scottlondon.com/review/bruner.html
[30] Bruner, Jerome S. In Search of Mind: Essays in Autobiography (Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Series). New York: HarperCollins, 1984, p. 183.
[31] The Gold Scales, Jerome Bruner: Retrieved from website http://oaks.nvg.org/jerome-bruner.html
[32] TIP: Theories, Constructivist Theory (J. Bruner): Retrieved from website http://tip.psychology.org/bruner.html
[33] Encyclopedia > Jerome Bruner, Retrieved from website http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Jerome-Bruner
[34] General Teaching Council for England, Jerome Bruner’s constructivist model and the spiral curriculum for teaching and learning, 27 March 2009, Retrieved from website http://www.gtce.org.uk/research/romtopics/rom_teachingandlearning/bruner_may06/study.
[35] Bruner, J (1960) The Process of Education, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press
[36] TIP: Theories, Constructivist Theory (J. Bruner): Retrieved from website http://tip.psychology.org/bruner.html
[37] Discovery Learning (Bruner): Retrieved from website http://www.learning-theories.com/discovery-learning-bruner.html
[38] Jerome Bruner & The Process of Education. Retrieved from website http://www.infed.org/thinkers/bruner.htm
[39] Bruner, Jerome. The Culture of Education. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA. 1996. pg 20
[40] Ibid
[41] Ibid. pg 21
[42] “Discovery Learner (Bruner. Retrieved from website) http://www.learning-theories.com/discovery-learning-bruner.html
[43] Ibid
[44] “Constructivist Theory (J. Bruner). Retrieved from website http://tip.psychology.org/bruner.html
[45] Smith, M.K. (2002) 'Jerome S. Bruner and the process of education', the encyclopedia of informal education http://www.infed.org/thinkers/bruner.htm.
[46] Bruner, Jerome. The Culture of Education. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA. 1996. Retrieved from web site: http://www.des.emory.edu/mfp/brunerculture.html
[47] Jerome Bruner, Toward a Theory of Instruction, Harvard University Press. Retrieved from website http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/BRUTOW.html
[48] “JaysPolitics.” Retrieved from website http://jayspolitics.blogspot.com/2006/02/thomas-jefferson-quotes-on-democracy.html
[49] Bruner, Jerome. Philosophical Insights from Jerome Bruner, Retrieved from website http://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/quotations/bruner.html
[50] Discovery Learning (Bruner). Retrieved from website http://www.learning-theories.com/discovery-learningbruner.html
[51] Inductive Reasoning. Retrieved from website http://www.changingminds.org/disciplines/argument/types_reasoning/induction.htm.
[52] Jerome Bruner and Discovery Learning. . Retrieved from website http://wps.prenhall.com/chet_mills_internet_1/0,11172,2580422-content,00.html
[53] Bruner, Jerome. Philosophical Insights from Jerome Bruner. Retrieved from website http://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/quotations/bruner.html
[54]Bruner, Jerome. Philosophical Insights from Jerome Bruner. Retrieved from website http://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/quotations/bruner.html
[55] Jerome Bruner. Retrieved from website http://starfsfolk.khi.is/solrunb/jbruner.htm_3.htm
[56] Ibid
[57] Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socratic_method
[58] Constructivist Theory (J. Bruner) Retrieved from web site: http://tip.psychology.org/bruner.html
[59] The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Retrieved from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/society
[60] Jerome Bruner and the Process of Education: Retrieved from http://www.infed.org/thinkers/bruner.htm
[61] Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, Harvard University Press Cambridge, MA. 1996. p 47.
[62] Mark Wagner, Ph.D, Educational Technology and Life, March 13th, 2006, April 17 2009, Retrieved from website,1240135928&fr=fptbhptb5&u=edtechlife.com/%3Fp=1217&w=jerome+bruner+society+societies&d=buNOQ0xISffi&icp=1&.intl=us
[63] Bruner, Jerome. Philosophical Insights from Jerome Bruner. Retrieved from website http://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/quotations/bruner.html
[64] On Knowing, Jerome Bruner. January, 2009.
Retrieved from web site: http://leading-learning.blogspot.com/2009/01/on-knowing.html
[65]Bruner, Jerome S. Culture of education. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 1996.pp 33-35
[66] Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1996, p. 39.
[67]Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, Harvard University Press Cambridge, MA. 1996. Retrieved from website http://oaks.nvg.org/bruner-words.html
[68] Jerome Bruner, In Search of Mind, Harper & Row, 1983.
[69] Ibid, p. 38.
[70] Ibid, 66.
[71] Bruner, Jerome. Culture of Education. p. 78. Retrieved from website http://oaks.nvg.org/bruner-words.html.
[72] Ibd. p.XI
[73] Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, Harvard University Press, 1996. Retrieved from website http://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/quotations/bruner.html
[74] Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education, Retrieved from website http://www.des.emory.edu/mfp/brunerculture.html
[75] Bruner, Jerome S. Culture of education. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 1996.p. XI
[76] Bruner, Jerome. Philosophical Insights from Jerome Bruner. Retrieved from website http://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/quotations/bruner.html
[77] Bruner, Jerome. Philosophical Insights from Jerome Bruner. Retrieved from website http://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/quotations/bruner.html
[78] Bruner, Jerome. Philosophical Insights from Jerome Bruner. Retrieved from website http://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/quotations/bruner.html
[79] Some Thoughts From Gerome Bruner: Passages From the Culture of Education, Retrieved from website http://oaks.nvg.org/bruner-words.html
[80] Bruner, Jerome. Philosophical Insights from Jerome Bruner.http://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/quotations/bruner.html
[81] Bruner, Jerome S. The Culture of Education. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996. Retrieved from website http://oaks.nvg.org/bruner-words.html
[82] Bruner, Jerome S. Acts of Meaning. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 1990. p. 96
[83] Ibid. p. 95
[84] Ibid
[85] Ibid
[86] Bruner, Jerome S. Acts of Meaning. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 1990.p. 96
[87] Bruner, Jerome. Culture of Education. P. 138. Retrieved from website http://oaks.nvg.org/bruner-words.html.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Teaching concepts:an instructional design guide


Check this site. This gives a more complete explanation on conjunctive, disjunctive and relational concepts

concepts as building blocks of thinking

A warning should be given here. Our textbook rightly says that "the concepts are the basic building blocks around which people organize their thinking and communication". This sounds philosophical, however when it starts to present the various kinds of concepts one realizes that it shifts from the philosophical viewpoint into a psychological description of the concept. I personally does not mind the author for doing this. What is important is that we, as readers, are aware of the shift being done.
If one sticks to the philosophical view of the definition of the concept, one gets into the minds of john locke, emmanuel kant, and others, and we have to get into terms such as a posteriore, and a priore, which are in the field of philosophy. This makes it complicated. Hence the psychological treatment of the concept will suffice for our purpose.

Sternberg's Triarchic Model of Intelligence

Triarchic theory of intelligence
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The Triarchic Theory of Intelligence was formulated by Robert J. Sternberg, a prominent figure in the research of human intelligence. The theory by itself was groundbreaking in that it was among the first to go against the psychometric approach to intelligence and take a more cognitive approach. Sternberg’s definition of human intelligence is “(a) mental activity directed toward purposive adaptation to, selection and shaping of, real-world environments relevant to one’s life” (Sternberg, 1985, p. 45), which means that intelligence is how well an individual deals with environmental changes throughout their lifespan. Sternberg’s theory comprises three parts: componential, experiential, and practical.
• 1 Different components of information processing
o 1.1 Componential / Analytical Subtheory
o 1.2 Experiential / Creative Subtheory
o 1.3 Practical / Contextual Subtheory
• 2 Challenges
• 3 See also
• 4 References
• 5 Bibliography

[edit] Different components of information processing
Sternberg associated the workings of the mind with a series of components. These components he labeled the metacomponents, performance components, and knowledge-acquisition components (Sternberg, 1985).
The metacomponents are executive processes used in problem solving and decision making that involve the majority of managing our mind. They tell the mind how to act. Metacomponents are also sometimes referred to as a homunculus. A homunculus is a fictitious or metaphorical "person" inside our head that controls our actions, and which is often seen to invite an infinite regress of homunculi controlling each other (Sternberg, 1985).
Sternberg’s next set of components, performance components, are the processes that actually carry out the actions the metacomponents dictate. These are the basic processes that allow us to do tasks, such as perceiving problems in our long-term memory, perceiving relations between objects, and applying relations to another set of terms (Sternberg, 1997).
The last set of components, knowledge-acquisition components, are used in obtaining new information. These components complete tasks that involve selectively choosing information from irrelevant information. These components can also be used to selectively combine the various pieces of information they have gathered. Gifted individuals are proficient in using these components because they are able to learn new information at a greater rate (Sternberg, 1997).
Whereas Sternberg explains that the basic information processing components underlying the three parts of his triarchic theory are the same, different contexts and different tasks require different kind of intelligence (Sternberg, 2001).
[edit] Componential / Analytical Subtheory
Sternberg associated the componential subtheory with analytical giftedness. This is one of three types of giftedness that Sternberg recognizes. Analytical giftedness is influential in being able to take apart problems and being able to see solutions not often seen. Unfortunately, individuals with only this type are not as adept at creating unique ideas of their own. This form of giftedness is the type that is tested most often. Other areas deal with creativity and other abilities not easily tested. Sternberg gave the example of a student, “Alice”, who had excellent test scores and grades, and teachers viewed her as extremely smart. Alice was later seen having trouble in graduate school because she was not adept at creating ideas of her own (Sternberg, 1997).
In different way intelligence according to him has three components 1-metacomponents(or executive skilkls) 2- performance 3- khnowledge acquisition
[edit] Experiential / Creative Subtheory
Sternberg’s 2nd stage of his theory is his experiential subtheory. This stage deals mainly with how well a task is performed with regard to how familiar it is. Sternberg splits the role of experience into two parts: novelty and automation.
A novel situation is one that you have never experienced before. People that are adept at managing a novel situation can take the task and find new ways of solving it that the majority of people would not notice (Sternberg, 1997).
A process that has been automated has been performed multiple times and can now be done with little or no extra thought. Once a process is automatized, it can be run in parallel with the same or other processes. The problem with novelty and automation is that being skilled in one component does not ensure that you are skilled in the other (Sternberg, 1997).
The experiential subtheory also correlates with another one of Sternberg’s proposed types of giftedness. Synthetic giftedness is seen in creativity, intuition, and a study of the arts. People with synthetic giftedness are not often seen with the highest IQ’s because there are not currently any tests that can sufficiently measure these attributes, but synthetic giftedness is especially useful in creating new ideas to create and solve new problems. Sternberg also associated another one of his students, “Barbara”, to the synthetic giftedness. Barbara did not perform as well as Alice on the tests taken to get into school, but was recommended to Yale University based on her exceptional creative and intuitive skills. Barbara was later very valuable in creating new ideas for research (Sternberg, 1997).
[edit] Practical / Contextual Subtheory
Sternberg’s third subtheory of intelligence, called practical or contextual, “deals with the mental activity involved in attaining fit to context” (Sternberg, 1985, p.45). Through the three processes of adaptation, shaping, and selection, individuals create an ideal fit between themselves and their environment. This type of intelligence is often referred to as "street smarts."
Adaptation occurs when one makes a change within oneself in order to better adjust to one’s surroundings (Sternberg, 1985). For example, when the weather changes and temperatures drop, people adapt by wearing extra layers of clothing to remain warm.
Shaping occurs when one changes their environment to better suit one’s needs (Sternberg, 1985). A teacher may invoke the new rule of raising hands to speak to ensure that the lesson is taught with least possible disruption.
The process of selection is undertaken when a completely new alternate environment is found to replace the previous, unsatisfying environment to meet the individual’s goals (Sternberg, 1985). For instance, immigrants leave their lives in their homeland countries where they endure economical and social hardships and go to other countries in search of a better and less strained life.
The effectiveness with which an individual fits to his or her environment and contends with daily situations reflects degree of intelligence. Sternberg’s third type of giftedness, called practical giftedness, involves the ability to apply synthetic and analytic skills to everyday situations. Practically gifted people are superb in their ability to succeed in any setting (Sternberg, 1997). An example of this type of giftedness is "Celia". Celia did not have outstanding analytical or synthetic abilities, but she “was highly successful in figuring out what she needed to do in order to succeed in an academic environment. She knew what kind of research was valued, how to get articles into journals, how to impress people at job interviews, and the like” (Sternberg, 1997, p.44). Celia’s contextual intelligence allowed her to use these skills to her best advantage.
Sternberg also acknowledges that an individual is not restricted to having excellence in only one of these three intelligences. Many people may possess an integration of all three and have high levels of all three intelligences.
[edit] Challenges
Psychologist Linda Gottfredson (Gottfredson, 2003) criticises the unempirical nature of triarchic theory and argues that it is absurd to assert that traditional Intelligence tests are not measuring practical intelligence when they show a moderate correlation with income, especially at middle age when individuals have had a chance to reach their maximum career potential, an even higher correlation with occupational prestige, and that IQ tests even predict the ability to stay out of jail and stay alive (all of which qualifies as practical intelligence or "street smarts").
Gottfredson claims that what Sternberg calls practical intelligence is not a broad aspect of cognition at all but simply a specific set of skills people learn to cope with a specific environment (task specific knowledge).
As for the creative component of Sternberg's model, a Harvard study questions whether it's meaningful to treat creativity as a cognitive ability separate from analytical intelligence, but instead finds that creativity is simply the product of a high intelligence score combined with a low level of latent inhibition—when high intelligence levels are not present, low levels of latent inhibition put one especially at risk for schizophrenia.[1]
[edit] See also
• Educational psychology
• Intelligence quotient
• J. P. Guilford
• Multiple intelligence
[edit] References
1. ^ Decreased Latent Inhibition Is Associated With Increased Creative Achievement in High-Functioning Individuals
[edit] Bibliography
• Gottfredson, L. (2003). Dissecting practical intelligence theory: Its claims and its evidence. Intelligence, 31, 343-397.
• Sternberg, R. J. (1985). Beyond IQ: A Triarchic Theory of Intelligence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
• Sternberg, R. J. (1997). A Triarchic View of Giftedness: Theory and Practice. In N. Coleangelo & G. A. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of Gifted Education (pp. 43-53). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
• Sternberg, R.J., Nokes, C., Geissler, W., Prince, P., Okatcha, F., Bundy, D.A., Grigorenke, E.L. (2001). The relationship between academic and practical intelligence: a case study in Kenya. Intelligence, 29, 401-418.
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triarchic_theory_of_intelligence"
Categories: Educational psychology | Intelligence | Psychological theories

Sternberg's Biography & Theory of Intelligence

Robert Sternberg
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Robert Jeffrey Sternberg
Born December 8, 1949 (age 59)

Nationality American

Fields psychometrician

Institutions Tufts University

Alma mater
Yale University, Stanford University

Doctoral advisor Gordon Bower

Known for Triarchic theory of intelligence, Triangular theory of love

Robert Jeffrey Sternberg (born December 8, 1949), is an American psychologist and psychometrician and the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University. He was formerly IBM Professor of Psychology and Education at Yale University and the President of the American Psychological Association. He is a member of the editorial boards of numerous journals, including American Psychologist. Sternberg has a BA from Yale University and a PhD from Stanford University. Gordon Bower was his PhD advisor. He holds ten honorary doctorates from one North American, one South American, and eight European universities, and additionally holds an honorary professorate at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.
• 1 Research interests
• 2 A theory of intelligence
o 2.1 Practical application
o 2.2 Criticisms
• 3 Theory of cognitive styles
• 4 Bibliography
• 5 See also
• 6 References
• 7 External links
• 8 Further reading

[edit] Research interests
Sternberg's main research include the following interests:
• Higher mental functions, including intelligence and creativity
• Styles of thinking
• Cognitive modifiability
• Leadership
• Love and hate
Sternberg has proposed a triarchic theory of intelligence and a triangular theory of love. He is the creator (with Todd Lubart[1]) of the investment theory of creativity, which states that creative people buy low and sell high in the world of ideas, and a propulsion theory of creative contributions, which states that creativity is a form of leadership.
He is spearheading an experimental admissions process at Tufts to quantifiably test the creativity of an applicant.[2]
Sternberg has criticized IQ tests, saying they are "convenient partial operationalizations of the construct of intelligence, and nothing more. They do not provide the kind of measurement of intelligence that tape measures provide of height."[3]
In 1995, he was on an American Psychological Association task force writing a consensus statement on the state of intelligence research in response to the claims being advanced amid the Bell Curve controversy, titled "Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns."
[edit] A theory of intelligence
Main article: Triarchic theory of intelligence
Many descriptions of intelligence focus on mental abilities such as vocabulary, comprehension, memory and problem-solving that can be measured through intelligence tests. This reflects the tendency of psychologists to develop their understanding of intelligence by observing behaviour believed to be associated with intelligence.
Sternberg believes that this focus on specific types of measurable mental abilities is too narrow. He believes that studying intelligence in this way leads to an understanding of only one part of intelligence and that this part is only seen in people who are 'school smart' or 'book smart'.
There are, for example, many individuals who score poorly on intelligence tests, but are creative or are 'street smart' and therefore have a very good ability to adapt and shape their environment. According to Sternberg (2003), giftedness should be examined in a broader way incorporating other parts of intelligence.
Sternberg (2003) categorizes intelligence into three parts, which are central in his theory, the triarchic theory of intelligence:
• Analytical intelligence, the ability to complete academic, problem-solving tasks, such as those used in traditional intelligence tests. These types of tasks usually present well-defined problems that have only a single correct answer.
• Creative or synthetic intelligence, the ability to successfully deal with new and unusual situations by drawing on existing knowledge and skills. Individuals high in creative intelligence may give 'wrong' answers because they see things from a different perspective.
• Practical intelligence, the ability to adapt to everyday life by drawing on existing knowledge and skills. Practical intelligence enables an individual to understand what needs to be done in a specific setting and then do it.
Sternberg (2003) discusses experience and its role in intelligence. Creative or synthetic intelligence helps individuals to transfer information from one problem to another. Sternberg calls the application of ideas from one problem to a new type of problem relative novelty. In contrast to the skills of relative novelty there is relative familiarity which enables an individual to become so familiar with a process that it becomes automatized. This can free up brain resources for coping with new ideas.
Context, or how one adapts, selects and shapes their environment is another area that is not represented by traditional measures of giftedness. Practically intelligent people are good at picking up tacit information and utilizing that information. They tend to shape their environment around them. (Sternberg, 2003)
Sternberg (2003) developed a testing instrument to identify people who are gifted in ways that other tests don't identify. The Sternberg Triarchic Abilities Test measures not only traditional intelligence abilities but analytic, synthetic, automazation and practical abilities as well. There are four ways in which this test is different from conventional intelligence tests.
• This test is broader, measuring synthetic and practical skills in addition to analytic skills. The test provides scores on analytic, synthetic, automatization, and practical abiliteis, as well as verbal, quantitative, and figural processing abilities.
• The test measures the ability to understand unknown words in context rather than vocabulary skills which are dependent on an individual's background.
• The automatization subtest is the only part of the test that measures mental speed.
• The test is based on a theory of intelligence.
[edit] Practical application
Sternberg added experimental criteria to the application process for undergraduates to Tufts University, where he is Dean of Arts and Sciences, to test "creativity and other non-academic factors." Calling it the "first major university to try such a departure from the norm," Inside Higher Ed noted that Tufts continues to consider the SAT and other traditional criteria.[5][6]
[edit] Criticisms
Sternberg's ideas have been repeatedly criticized in the scientific literature for lacking empirical support (e.g., Deary, 2001; Gottfredson, 2003; Jensen, 1998). The proliferation of "intelligences" he has been suggesting followed the lead of Howard Gardner (1983) and has been copied by other theorists who have been coming up with related notions (e.g., Daniel Goleman, 1995 - "Emotional intelligence").
In 2003, Linda Gottfredson, a professor at the University of Delaware, published a detailed refutation of the claims behind practical intelligence in the journal Intelligence;[7] the article won the 2005 Mensa Excellence in Research Award.
[edit] Theory of cognitive styles
Sternberg proposed a theory of cognitive styles in 1997.
The four forms of mental self-government are hierarchical, monarchic, oligarchic, and anarchic. The hierarchic style holds multiple goals simultaneously and prioritizes them. The oligarchic style is similar but differs in involving difficulty prioritizing. The monarchic style, in comparison, focuses on a single activity until completion. The anarchic style resists conformity to "systems, rules, or particular approaches to problems."
The two levels of mental self-government are local and global. The local style focuses on more specific and concrete problems. The global style, in comparison, focuses on more abstract and global problems.
The two scopes of mental self-government are internal and external. The internal style is the preference to work independently. The external style is the preference to work in collaboration.
The four leanings of mental self-government are the liberal, legislative, executive and conservative. The liberal style involves the attempt to change "existing rules and procedures". The legislative style adds an additional requirement that these changes conform to the individual(s)' ideas. The executive style, in comparison, involves following tradition. The conservative style involves the additional requirement that the ideas are the individual(s)'.
[edit] Bibliography
Key References
On "Higher Mental Functions":
• Sternberg, R. J. (1977): Intelligence, information processing,and analogical reasoning: The componential analysis of human abilities.Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
• Sternberg, R. J. (1985): Beyond IQ: A triarchic theory of human intelligence. New York: Cambridge University Press.
• Sternberg, R. J. (1990): Metaphors of mind: Conceptions of the nature of intelligence. New York: Cambridge University Press.
• Sternberg, R. J. (1997): Successful intelligence. New York: Plume.
• Sternberg, R. J. (1999): "The theory of successful intelligence." Review of General Psychology, 3, 292-316.
• Sternberg, R. J., Forsythe, G. B., Hedlund, J., Horvath, J., Snook, S., Williams, W. M., Wagner, R. K., & Grigorenko, E. L. (2000): Practical intelligence in everyday life. New York: Cambridge University Press.
• Sternberg, R. J., & Grigorenko, E. L. (2000): Teaching for successful intelligence. Arlington Heights, IL: Skylight.
• (2007) Sternberg, R.J.: Wisdom, Intelligence, and Creativity Synthesized. New York: Cambridge University Press
Key References
On "Creativity":
• Sternberg, R. J., James C Kaufman, & Pretz, J. E. (2002): The creativity conundrum: A propulsion model of creative contributions. Philadelphia, PA.
• Sternberg, R. J., & Lubart, T. I. (1995): Defying the crowd: Cultivating creativity in a culture of conformity. New York: Free Press.
• Sternberg, R. J., & Williams, W. M. (1996): How to develop student creativity. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Key Reference
On "Leadership":
Sternberg, R. J., & Vroom, V. H. (2002): "The person versus the situation in leadership." Leadership Quarterly, 13, 301-323
Key Reference
On "Cognitive Styles":
Sternberg, R. & Grigorenko, E. (1997). Are cognitive styles still in style? American Psychologist, 52, 700-712.
[edit] See also
• Howard Gardner
• James C. Kaufman
[edit] References
1. ^ Sternberg, R. J., & Lubart, T. I. (1995). Defying the crowd: Cultivating creativity in a culture of conformity. New York: Free Press.
2. ^ Jaschik, Scott (2006). A "Rainbow" Approach to Admissions. Inside Higher Ed, July 6, 2006.
3. ^ The Theory of Successful Intelligence Interamerican Journal of Psychology - 2005, Vol. 39, Num. 2 pp. 189-20
4. ^ Sternberg, R. J. (2003). Giftedness According to the Theory of Successful Intelligence. In N. Colangelo & G. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of Gifted Education (88-99). Boston MA: Allyn and Bacon.
5. ^ Jaschik, Scott (2006). A "Rainbow" Approach to Admissions. Inside Higher Ed, July 6, 2006.
6. ^ McAnerny, Kelly (2005). From Sternberg, a new take on what makes kids Tufts-worthy. Tufts Daily, November 15, 2005.
7. ^ Linda Gottfredson, "Dissecting practical intelligence theory: Its claims and evidence", Intelligence, vol 31, (2003) 343–397)
[edit] External links
• Robert J. Sternberg - Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences - Tufts University (Tufts profile)
• Triarchic Theory of Intelligence - uwsp.edu
• Video (with mp3 available) of discussion about intelligence and creativity with Sternberg on Bloggingheads.tv
[edit] Further reading
• Gardner, Howard. Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York: Basic, 1983
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Sternberg"
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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jerome Bruner's Educational theory

All students must read this website http://www.newfoundations.com/GALLERY/Bruner.html

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Revised Blooms by Denise Tarlinton