Bruner argued that you can teach any child any subject at any age in an intellectually responsible way. Critically discuss what he meant by this with reference to theories of Behaviourists, Piaget and Vygotsky, and to classroom practice. The work is to be 6 pages with three to five sources, with in-text citations and a reference page. Other theories have been created which suggest different elements in the process of learning. All of these theories are consistent with the argument of Bruner that ‘you can teach any child any subject at any age in an intellectually responsible way’. This argument simply means that learning is not a product, it is a process.
Basically, Bruner argues that if a child recognises an idea s/he can immediately apply that idea in unfamiliar situations, in connection to personal experience and previous knowledge acquired (Erneling & Johnson, 2005: 6). For instance, if a learner can construct grammatical sentences in English, it means that the child understands or recognises grammar rules in English. A learner is aware that normally a subject starts with a sentence, followed by a verb. There are several other concepts that children, prior to the start of formal education, can produce naturally or by themselves (Moore, 2001: 9). That independent knowing is true, powerful, determined by a need to interact, and is applied readily in constantly changing circumstances (Cummins, 1996: 51).
This essay will examine and discuss the abovementioned argument of Bruner. In order to make the discussion comprehensive Bruner’s argument will be evaluated in relation to other behaviourists, Piaget, and Vygotsky’s theories.
The work of Vygotsky works up Piaget’s by stressing the social instead of the entirely psychological features of instruction and learning, a stress which, consequently, gives much importance to issues of education (Palmer, 2001: 41). Still, as with Piaget, the theory of Vygotsky is not resistant of criticism. One of the major problems is that Vygotsky seems to make a quite strong differentiation between ‘everyday’ knowledge (obtained outside the classroom context and usually understood in an ‘unreflecting’ manner) and ‘scientific’ knowledge (acquired through formal education) (Palmer, 2001: 35-37).