This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: e through motor responses. We know something
by doing it. When knowledge is represented or stored in an enactive mode, it is
often represented as a habit or pattern of motor activity for accomplishing a task
(Bruner, 1978). For example, the series of actions for tying a knot may be
represented in an enactive mode. When working with very young children, we
need to remember that they may know how to do things they cannot explain
verbally because their knowledge is represented in an enactive rather than
symbolic mode. 37 Iconic Representation
The second representational system to develop is iconic representation.
Iconic representation is the use of mental images to represent knowledge.
According to Bruner, this capability develops relatively early in life, and can be
observed during infancy. One example of iconic representation is when a young
child represents her/his understanding of circles by a mental picture of circles.
Bruner (1978) noted that even adults are sometimes better able to understand
verbal information if we transform it into a picture or image. For example, it is
sometimes useful to draw maps or diagrams of text to help students understand
the relationships among the ideas in the text.
The final representational mode to develop is symbolic representation.
Symbolic representation involves the use of arbitrary symbol systems like
language or mathematical notation. For example, we could represent a rule such
as, “I need to invert and multiply when I divide fractions” as a set of verbal
propositions. According to Bruner (1978), the ability to use language to represent
knowledge is very important in the development of logic, our ability to deal with
events outside of our experience, and our ability to reflect on our own thinking.
Culture and Cognitive Development
Earlier in this chapter, we discussed Vygotsky’s ideas of cultural tools and
cognitive development as the internalization of those tools. Bruner tends to view 38 cognitive development in a very similar manner. He believed that cultural systems
assist cognitive development by helping learners acquire the amplification
systems of the culture. There are amplifiers of actions such as hammers and
shovels, amplifiers of the senses such as microscopes and pictures that stop the
action, and amplifiers of thought such as logic systems and language (Bruner,
1964; Bruner, 1965). Like Vygotsky, Bruner believed that amplifiers of thought
are the most powerful amplification systems.
Another point of similarity with Vygotsky is that Bruner believed that
learners acquire amplification systems by interacting with the social, physical and
cultural resources of their environments (Bornstein & Bruner, 1989). Like
Vygotsky, Bruner believed that the nature of these instructional interactions will
differ based on the goals that a cultural group has for its members. For example,
in his analysis of Laurence and Lorna Marshall’s films of the hunter and gathering society of the !Kung Bushmen of th...
View Full Document
This document was uploaded on 03/29/2014 for the course EPS 324 at N. Arizona.
- Spring '08