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Jerome Seymour Bruner

Jerome Bruner is one of the most well-known American psychologists who successfully made several significant contributions to such spheres of human life as cognitive learning and educational philosophy. The essay aims to review the main biographical facts from the life of the theorist. In addition, the summary of his research works as well as his major publications will be made. Finally, special attention will be concentrated on the nature of educational theory.

Jerome Bruner was born in 1915 in New York. His family made a decision to emigrate from Poland before his birth. When being a student, he succeeded in his studying at Duke University and, consequently, received the bachelor’s degree in philosophy. Moreover, in 1941, he got a doctorate in philosophy at Harvard University. During the period of the World War II, Bruner was the participant of the Psychological Welfare Division. While working in this division, he investigated various social and psychological phenomena (Shore, 1997). However, in 1945, Jerome Bruner decided to come back to Harvard University as a teacher and a professor. In 1991, the theorist, under the influence of such spheres as cognitive and educational philosophy, became a member of a faculty in New York University. Throughout his long and impressive career, he received numerous honorary doctorates, for instance, from Columbia, as well as Yale. Moreover, his friends and colleges from well-known universities that are situated in Rome and Sorbonne confess that Jerome Bruner is not only a clever and gifted personality, but a real genius (Shore, 1997).

It is extremely important to emphasize the fact that Jerome Bruner made a significant contribution to the study of human education. During his lifetime, Bruner issued numerous books and scientific articles related to the spheres of education, learning, and philosophy. The most well-known books by Bruner are as follows:

  • The Process of Education;
  • Towards the Theory of Instruction;
  • The Culture of Education (Shore, 1997).

These three books, that were published by the author in 1960, 1966, and 1996, are recognized as classics. Furthermore, his work in the field of social programming that is named Man: A Course of Studying is usually referred to as a landmark or, in other words, a profound contribution to the sphere of education (Shore, 1997). Numerous books and articles serve as bright examples that Jerome Burner originated a so-called “cognitive revolution” in the field of educational and philosophical studies. In other words, the works mentioned above, should be understood as landmark texts, the publication of which resulted in a cultural turn. Those books had an enormous impact on the development of policy formation on the territory of the United States of America. In addition, they positively influenced the orientation of researchers and teachers (Shore, 1997).

Moreover, one more famous book written by Bruner is named Child’s Talk: Learning to Use Language. On the basis of this book, Bruner expressed and analyzed the most remarkable and surprising achievements of children. In order to write this book in an appropriate way, and to achieve authentic data, Bruner investigated the studying of children in the clutter of life or, in ther words, at home. Taking into consideration the point of view of Bruner, language should be mastered by using it. Besides, according to this point of view, spontaneous and versatile interactions influence the process of development of children much more efficiently that stable and monotonous formats (McLeod, 2012).

In addition, Jerome Bruner published numerous other books that are connected with the processes of development and studying of children and adults. In general, the amount of his published books is equal to fifteen. Moreover, with the help of cooperation and support of other famous theorists, he issued more than twenty articles on different topics (McLeod, 2012).

It is rather important to note the fact, that Jerome Bruner was the pioneer of such philosophical trends as cognitive, educational, and development philosophy. In 1947, Bruner conducted several experiments with children, which motivated him to investigate the cognition of human beings. In such a way, a series of experiments was enough to convince Bruner to work in the sphere of cognitive philosophy (McLeod, 2012). In 1956, Jerome Bruner made a decision to publish a book A Study of Thinking that includes information about human cognition. Moreover, one of his books Acts of Meaning, published at the same period of time, involves the description of more profound and broader understanding of such notions as mind, cognition, and its functions (McLeod, 2012).

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In 1967, Bruner became interested in the sphere of developmental philosophy. The philosopher observed and analyzed the ways and methods children accumulated information they received from various sources. Consequently, in the process of investigation the learning of children, he differentiated three modes or, in other words, forms of representation: action-based, image-based and, finally, language-based (Takaya, 2008). According to the point of view of the author of these three theories, every learner is capable not only to understand, but to learn any material in case it is organized and structured in an appropriate way.

Furthermore, every teacher has to follow a specific strategy in order to encourage children to perceive information. Firstly, each teacher is recommended to present the basic knowledge of a particular sphere of study. Secondly, the teacher should add some sophistication and innovation in order to make the process of studying more amazing. Besides, Bruner supports the idea that learning has to be spurred with the help of interesting information. In this case, such methods as complicated tests and punishment are ineffective (Takaya, 2008).

Therefore, while studying at Harvard University, Jerome successfully created and issued several works of the topic of evaluation of modern educational systems. These books include a lot of information concerning methods and strategies for the improvement of quality of learning process. Jerome Bruner always emphasized that education should not rely on facts and memorization. As a result, the theorist created the educational curriculum that fully corresponds not only to the needs, but to the wants of the students as well. The activities and experiments, conducted by Jerome Bruner, were recognized as innovative and extraordinary (Takaya, 2008).

Having analyzed the biography, the most important publicattions, and contributions of the theorist to the sphere of learning and education, it is possible to evaluate the nature and essence of learning theory in education, invented by the researcher. In the process of investigating the learning theory, Bruner supported the following methods and strategies towards education. Firstly, he believed that the teaching of structure is considered to be the most effective idea. On the contrary, facts and mechanical learning influence negatively the process of learning. Besides, the teacher is obliged to reproduce material clearly and intelligently in order to motivate people to study (Clabaugh, 2010).

Secondly, the author expressed the basic idea, that teachers should observe when the learners are ready to study the subject. Unfortunately, the studying of several subjects is usually postponed because teachers suppose their students are too young and inexperienced to study a particular area. However, because of these opinions, teachers waste time because of ineffective curriculums. As a result, Jerome Bruner gives a piece of advice to teachers to be very attentive in order not to lose the right moment. According to the point of view of the theorist, every field of study, despite its complexity, can be taught in an intelligent way to children of different age categories. This phenomenon was named by Jerome Bruner as the process of “spiral curriculum”. Taking into account the nature of this concept, teachers are not recommended just to wait for the readiness to meet new idea or theory (Clabaugh, 2010).

Thirdly, Bruner supported the idea that many teaching techniques are outdated and consequently, ineffective. According to his point of view, children are deprived of a chance to demonstrate their personal capabilities, imagination, and creativity. Many teachers forget that they are working with small children and impose complex practices on them. According to Bruner, the primary step of intellectual development of children should include active-based skills. In other words, children should remain active all the time because movement helps them to perceive information (Halloluwa, Kaushalya, Bandana, Yapa, Sumanadasa, 2011).

Moreover, Bruner believes that knowledge should be presented to children depending on its complexity. For example, teachers should give children the opportunity to learn the major colors and shapes. After that, when children are familiarized with shapes and colors, they should use their knowledge to create to create some types of objects. These patterns give a chance to learners to acquire information about real objects. Only after that, children are recommended to familiarize children with the alphabet. Taking into consideration the points of view of the author, practical knowledge is no less important than theoretical material (Halloluwa, Kaushalya, Bandana, Yapa, Sumanadasa, 2011).

As a result, it is possible to come to conclusions that Jerome Bruner is one of the most well-known psychologists of the 20th century. His books, programs, and articles are recognized as unique and landmark works in the sphere of psychology and education. Moreover, this personality has become popular because of profound contributions to the sphere of education and learning. The nature of learning theories in education deals with reliable support of learners in the initial phases of the learning process.

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