Musings on: Bruner and The Culture of Education

 

 

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In his book, The Culture of Education (1996) Bruner, in Chapter 2 of his Folk Pedagogy holds that there are four dominant models of pedagogy. He describes in detail the following main educational approaches: Imitative learning where teachers model what the students should learn. Didactic learning where teachers and elders pass on the knowledge and children are recipients of this predetermined, structured knowledge base. Collaborative Learning, seeing children as thinkers dealing with certain intersubjective interchanges and finding value in discussion and collaboration. This approach is the center stone of the Harkness Method a relationally centered approach concerned and focused on questions of trust. Finally, Bruner details the concept of children as “knowers” and “managers” of their education,and facts of life, also termed “objective” knowledge.

 

As an ESL teacher to international students, I taught in varied school environments stipulating though their school culture the what’s and how’s of my educational delivery. Personally, my preference is the experiential learning model with a focus on the collaborative process – the Harkness Method. Harkness encourages verbalization, discussion, sharing, and trust. It enables students through a collaborative approach to come to that higher level thinking as per Bloom’s Taxonomy. The Harkness method encourages analysis, synthesis and evaluation through which students engender “judgments about the value of material and methods for given purposes.” Also, as an ESL teacher, I believe students must drive their own learning, especially adult learners entering College or University. The individual student’s management of “objective knowledge” bestows ownership to their educational process and trajectory.

One of the cornerstones of my teaching is ‘the flipped classroom.’ In the article “Flipping the college classroom for enhanced student learning”, Barkley, (NACTA Journal) states that the major attribute of a flipped classroom is more teacher time in class. “A teacher can spend more individualized attention on each student and provide more interactive experiences for enrolled students. This often translates into better student-teacher rapport and relationships. When students are placed in teams, students teach each other, a powerful way of learning new material, since students can often explain the concepts to each other in a style more conducive to learning.” Horn summarizes one of the major adjustments for the teacher; “Classroom time is no longer spent taking in raw content, a largely passive process. The classroom becomes an interactive environment that engages students more directly in their education.”
Berrett (2012) reports that a flipped class, “…demands that faculty members be good at answering students’ questions on the spot, even when their misconceptions are not yet clear because they are still processing the information.” Wilson (2013) defines a flipped classroom as “… moving the typical ‘transmission of knowledge’ component of a class (i.e. lectures) to outside of the classroom and move the ‘application of knowledge’ (i.e. homework) into the classroom,” but in order to successfully transmit knowledge outside of class, students need to be prepared, trained and guided in using the technology.

I see my role as an ESL teacher in the University Pathway Program to address my international ESL students cultural biases and belief systems – Bruner calls this “How people make sense of the world; How they deal with beliefs, values and symbols of the culture at large; and How they construct “realities” in their minds and share their ideas. In other words, how the single person’s sense of reality is cultivated or harmed through such as skilled and unskilled, and sound and unsound social interactions.” Through collaborative teaching, the Harkness Method, and giving students ownership to their individual learning preferences I have watched my students address their cultural expectations of teachers and their cultural knowledge transfer preferences. Their growth not only as learners but as citizens of the world was achieved through confronting, analyzing, wrestling and evaluating their own cultural biases and expectations giving way to self-directed, individual trajectories reflecting their passions, intelligences (Gardener), and personal authenticity.

Author: drcowinj

I am the Chief Marketing Officer for a start-up IT company, PeopleMovers®, a global Community Networking Platform. As an experienced executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement and development, change management and turn-around I worked with value-adding leadership. The primary drivers have been branding, marketing and efficiency, improved customer satisfaction and retainment, customer service, product management, cross-functional business improvements and development of sponsor presentations with sponsor meetings. On a day to day basis, I write press releases and speeches, analyze case studies, create presentations, organize media events and photo ops, press conferences, podcasts/webcasts, write video scripts, fan boards, and coordinate blogging and speaking opportunities. The Presidency of the Rotary Club of New York is dear to my heart. As the second woman to be elected in 109 years, I have a leadership role in shaping and directing the club's programs and international strategic alliances. The position encompasses being a leader, manager, and collaborator and working to further The Rotary Club of New York’s (RCNY) public diplomacy mission through the management of its United Nations International Breakfast meetings, sponsoring international Rotary scholars and amplifying the visibility of RCNY. Part of this volunteer leadership position centers around cooperation and collaboration to do "Service above Self." The Rotary network encompasses more than 1.3 million members worldwide. I am working on our International Breakfast Lecture series at the United Nations and a Harvey Relief event to increase the visibility of the club’s Rotary branding. The International Breakfast Series is streamed live on Facebook with an audience of 5000+ international viewers. Also, I am the US Ambassador of the Hepatitis Zero Campaign, a worldwide campaign dedicated to the eradication of hepatitis . As a University Pathway facilitator at EF - Education First, I conceived, designed and developed multiple portfolios of face-to-face, online and blended curricula across a variety of disciplines Courses and expertise are in Global Economics, International Affairs, Academic Writing, Grammar, and business case study seminars. For EF's Russian branch I held interactive webinars for lawyers, teachers, engineers with a strong practical applicability into real-life teaching.

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