Jerome Bruner Interactive learning for early education and childcare students
ContentsSection 1Background informationSection 2Spiral curriculumSection 3ScaffoldingSection 4Modes of representationSection 5Summary
Background informationJerome Bruner was born in New York in 1915 and continues to play an important role in the study of childrens development and learning. He developed earlier work carried out by Lev Vygotsky in the 1920s and 30s. Bruner believed that knowledge and learning were gained most effectively when children learned through personal discovery rather than being taught.
Spiral CurriculumBruner stated that any subject can be taught to any child at any age in some form that is honest (Bruner 1977)At a simple level, the science of baking scones would allow children to discover the texture of dry ingredients e.g. flour & sugar, oily nature of margarine and the wet ingredient of milk. Combining ingredients to form a mixture would change the texture and finally the addition of heat from the oven would alter the consistency permanently.Now look carefully at the pictures in a similar but different context and decide how the childrens learning could be honest.
The science of waterApply your knowledge about spiral curriculum and note the learning opportunities linked to the pictures on the student activity sheet.
More water fun!Think about how these learning situations could be honest for young children.Remember there may be a variety of answers!
ScaffoldingBruner believed that adults can support children by scaffolding their learning. He advocated that the adult should assist the child to move from where they are to where they want to go. It should stem from the childs interests and desires and scaffolding should support their learning.
Images of scaffolding ?Which picture is the odd one out and why?
Modes of representationWhen adults represent something they are bringing back information from a previous experience. Bruner believes that this recall is processed in 3 inter-related ways.Enactive modeIconic modeSymbolic mode
Enactive modeWhen we represent things through doing this is termed the enactive mode. This is an important aspect of early education and staff often focus on process rather than product.
Iconic modeChildren in early education and childcare settings are often encouraged to record experiences using photographs, pictures and now video tape.How might children record experiences of making dough?
Symbolic modeBruner explains that children use the symbolic mode to represent something. When we write the word girl to mean a girl and the numeral 4 to represent the number four. In other words, children are using a code to show what they mean.How might children express themselves continuing with the dough scenario?
Variety of codesChildren use a variety of symbolic codes to express themselves includingDrawing & paintingDancingImaginative playMaking modelsLanguageNumeracy
Check your learningNow check your learning by matching the statements in this exercise.Without the web, you could try this matching activityNow check your overall knowledge with a quiz just for fun!Without the web, you could try this quiz just for fun!
Links to practice Spiral curriculumSpiral curriculum remains valid in early educationDry/wet sandScience of dough Building blocksThink how the above topics could be explored in early education and childcare settings.
Scaffolding works if staff are alert and responsive to childrens learning needs. Adults need to be clued in to children's thoughts in a sensitive manner and nurture the childs learning rather than impose their ideas on it. It is almost an intuitive experience.
RevisionEnactive mode by doing Iconic mode by making an image/picture
Symbolic mode by using symbols/codes
Modes of representation in practiceEncourage children to be active in the nursery.Promote recording of experiences through photographs/videotape.Provide opportunities for scribbling and early writing skills.
SummaryThe work of Jerome Bruner remains influential in early education settings today as he continues to explore how children play, learn and develop.Now you have had an introduction to his work, look at the books and find out more!
ReferencesBruce, T.(2005). 3rd edition Early Childhood Education. London: Hodder Arnold.Lindon, J. ( 2001). Understanding Childrens Play. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes.www.quia.com
It is stillness we have to justify not action
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