Levine, Ambassador, Bruner Speak
Bruner Appeals to Top Scholars To Boost Lower-Level Education
"The phenomenon of the modern tithe, those at the head of a field transisting the structure and unifying themes of the field for the child," will largely determine education in the sixties, Jerome S. Bruner, professor of Psychology, predicted yesterday.
Speaking before the Hillel Round Table of World Affairs, Bruner emphasized the emerging concepts of education, comparing them to the educational philosophy of John Dewey.
According to Dewey, education should relate the world to the life of the growing child. Knowledge had to be "ingested as an alien thing."
On the other hand, modern educators regard "relating the structure of knowledge to the child's rational tools as the proper purpose of education." Referring to his own work on the teaching and learning of mathematics, Bruner explained how a student on an elementary level can understand such basic concepts as commutation and distribution if they are properly translated men with sufficient depth in the field.
Bruner cited the work of a committee of leading physicists who prepared a new high school course in physics as another example of top level scholars doing "plow-back work" of their own field into education.
As aids to teachers faced with presenting their subject in a new manner, Bruner recommended comprehensive teaching manuals, seminars led by teachers with superior training, and, whenever possible. Saturday morning lectures given by scholars from local colleges and universities.
"If we are to work seriously at improving education, we must look at the process of education," he declared.
Quoting Abraham Ribicoff, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Bruner pointed out that an intonsive examination of the processes of agriculture, beginning with the establishment of the land-grant colleges in 1860, has produced an almost miraculous increase in the production of food and fibre.
Attacking the socialization of the individual in Dewey's philosophy, Bruner declared that "education must help the individual develop his own internal culture." Modern culture is so complex, he said, that even a Galileo or an Aquinas could no longer master it in its entirety.