Learning & Teaching Foreign Languages

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Good questions

Read and Reflect

We shall, of course, try to encourage students to discover on their own.  Children need not discover all generalizations for themselves, obviously.  Yet we want to give them opportunity to develop a decent competence at it and a proper confidence in their ability to operate independently.  There is also some need for the children to pause and review in order to recognise the connections within what they have learned - the kind of internal discovery that is probably of highest value.  The cultivation of such a sense of connectedness is surely the heart of the matter.  For if we do nothing else, we should somehow give to children a respect for their own powers of thinking, for their power to generate good questions, to come up with interesting informed guesses.  So much of social studies till now has been a congeries of facts.  We should like to make the study more rational, more amenable to the use of mind in the large rather than mere memorizing.

 

(Bruner, 1966)

QUESTIONS

 

1. Why does Bruner believe changes in education (here, social studies) are necessary?

 

 

2. What changes does he advocate?  Why?

 

 

3. What skills and attributes does he associate with good learning and good learners?

 

 

ANSWERS

 

1. Why does Bruner believe changes in education (here, social studies) are necessary?

Simple exposure to "congeries" (collections, aggregations) of facts forces pupils to memorise information, and does not allow them to use their minds fully.

 

2. What changes does he advocate?  Why?

Learners should be allowed to discover information independently.

They can make internal connections and gain confidence in their own thinking skills.

 

3. What skills and attributes does he associate with good learning and good learners?

confidence, independence

ability to recognise connections

development of respect for their own powers of thinking

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