By Jerome Bruner
During this vintage argument for curriculum reform in early schooling, Jerome Bruner exhibits that the elemental innovations of technological know-how and the arts could be grasped intuitively at a really early age. He argues persuasively that curricula should still he designed to foster such early intuitions after which construct on them in more and more formal and summary methods as schooling progresses.
Bruner’s foundational case for the spiral curriculum has motivated a new release of educators and may stay a resource of perception into the targets and techniques of the academic strategy.
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The approach taken is a practical one. Students, perforce, have a limited exposure to the materials they are to learn. How can this exposure be made to count in their thinking for the rest of their lives? The dominant view among men who have been engaged in preparing and teaching new curricula is that the answer to this question lies in giving students an understanding of the fundamental structure of whatever subjects we choose to teach. This is a minimum requirement for using knowledge, for bringing it to bear on problems and events one encounters outside a classroom-or in 11 THE PROCESS OF EDUCATION classrooms one enters later in one's training.
A scientist does not try to remember the distances traversed by falling bodies in different gravitational fields over different periods of time. What he carries in memory instead is a formula that permits him with varying degrees of accuracy to regenerate the details on which the more easily remembered formula is based. So he commits to memory the formula s = Yz gt2 and not a handbook of distances, times, and gravitational constants. Similarly, one does not remember exactly what Marlowe, the commentator in Lord Jim, said about the chief protagonist's plight, but, rather, simply that he was the dispassionate onlooker, the man who tried to understand without judging what had led Lord Jim into 24 THE IMPORTANCE OF STRUCTURE the straits in which he found himself.
These simplified representations have what may be called a "regenerative" character. A good example of this regenerative property of long-term memory can be found in science. A scientist does not try to remember the distances traversed by falling bodies in different gravitational fields over different periods of time. What he carries in memory instead is a formula that permits him with varying degrees of accuracy to regenerate the details on which the more easily remembered formula is based. So he commits to memory the formula s = Yz gt2 and not a handbook of distances, times, and gravitational constants.