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Jerome Bruner is an American psychologist who has contributed to cognitive psychology and educational psychology. He contributed to the constructivist theory of learning. Bruner was born blind and received his sight at the age of two after surgery removed cataracts.

Is learning a solitary activity undertaken by an individual, or is learning a social activity, something done by a group within a context?
  • Since education takes place in (and is a product of) culture, learning is inherently social
  • "culture shapes the mind [...] it provides us with the toolkit by which we construct not only our worlds but our very conception of our selves and our powers" The Culture of Education (1996)
  • "[...] human mental activity is neither solo nor conducted unassisted, even when it goes on 'inside the head'" ibid.
  • “People and their actions dominate the child's interest and attention.” Acts of Meaning (1990)

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. The Culture of Education (1966)

Is learning primarily focused on the transmission of facts and information or is it focused on the development of understanding of concepts and new knowledge?
  • Due to the interrelated-ness of ideas, understanding of fundamental concepts is a primary goal of education
  • “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” The Process of Education (1960)

Is our goal as educators to prepare an individual who can recall sets of information or develop groups of individuals who can apply the information to as yet unsolved problems?
  • "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." Toward a Theory of Education (1966)
  • "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. 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" The Culture of Education (1996)

Does development precede learning, or does learning precede development?
  • While learning may not be the cause of physical developments, any child can learn any topic as long as it is structured appropriately
  • “We begin with the hypothesis that any subject can be taught effectively in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development.” The Process of Education (1960)
  • “Self too must be treated as a construction that, so to speak, proceeds from the outside in as well as from the inside out, from culture to mind as well as from mind to culture.” Acts of Meaning (1990)