06 October 2010

The Theory of Instruction and Discovery learning

Mode of representation:is the basic method by which people understand and make use of their environments.The modes give us three fundamental ways by which we know something .We can construe them in a similar manner to Piaget 's four stages approach:Bruner's Theory of Instruction:
The enactive representation:Infants can use this mode only.The verb enact involves processing information using only one response :motor skills/responses. Crawling across a room by an infant towards some objects is an example of this mode of representation when learning something new or difficult to visualize.
The Iconic representation:This mode develops gradually from enact as the child grows older. An icon is an illustration ,a pictorial representation.A child sketching a hut or other such object it has seen is using the iconic mode . It is more advanced stage of thought than the previous one as events and things in the world are concretely represented.
The symbolic representation:is the most advanced than the other two for it provides a means of going beyond what is immediately perceptible in a situation. Language plays a pivotal role as the world is represented in symbols and in abstract ways.This mode is similiar to Piaget 's formal operational stage. Bruner believes that teachers can combine knowledge of developmental stages and modes of representation to determine language and content appropriate for teaching the structure of a discipline at different periods of childhood. Pre-school children can be introduced to the basic theory of family by playing mock family roles for example father , mother or child with these roles are assigned to each actor.
The same idea can be taught older children using pictures and by symbolic mode (language) or children acting buying and selling to demostrate basic economic theory.Pictures can be used to show the flow and distribution of money ,good and services from provider and to the consumer. Then in symbolic fashions the child can learn concept using mathematics.
Economy:in Bruner's sense economy is related to the structure of a subject.It involves the amount of information a student must learn and remember inorder to understand the subject. The larger the amount ,the less the economy.
Power:of the material being learned is its value in terms of its applicability.Thus a summary of atopic is a very economical means of presentation ,but is probably not very powerful as a more thorough description of the same material that teaches meaning and use.
Proper sequencing of information:
Bruner emohasised the importance of representing a subject in a careful ,logical ,insightful and coherent sequence of increasing difficulty . What is referred to as spiral curriculum.
This implies that the sequence of structured material is the order in which the component parts of the subject are presented. Included and interesting too is the idea ,the act of learning .It involves the process of learning a subject takes place in a series of episodes , each of which involves three integrated steps:
Acquisition is the process of obtaining new information that can be used to either replace or refine something previously known.
Transformation is the second step which is the manipulation of information to make it fit new situation.
Evaluation is the process of checking whether the acquired information has been manipulated approximately and correctly.
Discovery learning:is an important concept in the philosophy of child-centred education to which Bruner's theory culminates.It is characterized as progressive learning as at its roots is an attempt to plan the curriculum on child .It seeks from a philosophical perspective, a justification of the content of education not in the nature of child, the one who is being educated .This concept originated in the idea of such prominent educationists Rousseau,Freire,Pestalozzl,Dewey and Piaget before Bruner refined it.
Discovery learning maybe taken to mean a teaching strategy that avoids instruction and encourages children to find out things for themselves. Deardon, R.F.(1972)suggests that by discovery learning the teacher may reasonably expect children to learn something new and to do so through some initiative of their own .Bruner's remarks on discovery learning,"discovery .like surprise ,favours the well prepared mind."
Bruner argues that children learn most actively and remember best when they generate concepts and principles on their own.Discovery learning encourages the learner to become active in making the learning meaningful to himself. It is interesting to note that Bruner 's approach is similar to what Freire advocates.

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