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Jerome S Bruner (1966)

Toward a Theory of Instruction

Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Bruner presents a distillation of half a decade's research and reflection. His theme is dual: how children learn, and how they can best be helped to learn--how they can be brought to the fullest realization of their capacities.

"One is struck by the absence of a theory of instruction as a guide to pedagogy,"

Bruner observes;

"in its place there is principally a body of maxims."

At the conceptual core of the book is an illuminating examination of how mental growth proceeds, and of the ways in which teaching can profitably adapt itself to that progression and can also help it along. Closely related to this is Bruner's "evolutionary instrumentalism," his conception of instruction as the means of transmitting the tools and skills of a culture, the acquired characteristics that express and amplify man's powers--especially the crucial symbolic tools of language, number, and logic. Revealing insights are given into the manner in which language functions as an instrument of thought.

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