Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Posts Tagged ‘Jerome S. Bruner

Quote of the Day

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The combinatorial acts that produce effective surprise…almost always succeed through the exercise of technique. Henry Moore…tells us that he was driven to the use of holes in his sculpture by the technical problem of giving a sense of three-dimensionality to solid forms—”the hole connects one side to the other, making it immediately more three-dimensional,” a discovery made while fretting over the puzzle of how to avoid relief carving on brittle material like stone.

Jerome S. Bruner, On Knowing

Written by nevalalee

April 19, 2018 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

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There is one set of attitudes or methods [in discovery] that has to do with sensing the relevance of variables—avoiding immersion in edge effects and getting instead to the big sources of variance. This gift partly comes from intuitive familiarity with a range of phenomena, sheer “knowing the stuff.” But it also comes out of a sense of what things among many “smell right,” what things are of the right order of magnitude or scope or severity.

Jerome S. Bruner, On Knowing

Written by nevalalee

April 25, 2017 at 7:30 am

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Learning how to guess

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Jerome S. Bruner

Should students be encouraged to guess, in the interest of learning eventually how to make intelligent conjectures? Possibly there are certain kinds of situations where guessing is desirable and where it may facilitate the development of intuitive thinking to some reasonable degree. There may, indeed, be a kind of guessing that requires careful cultivation. Yet in many classes in school, guessing is heavily penalized and is associated somehow with laziness. Certainly one would not like to educate students to do nothing but guess, for guessing should always be followed up with as much verification and confirmation as necessary; but too stringent a penalty on guessing may restrain thinking of any sort and keep it plodding rather than permitting it to make occasional leaps.

May it not be better for students to guess than to be struck dumb when they cannot immediately give the right answer? It is plain that a student should be given some training in recognizing the plausibility of guessing. Very often we are forced, in science and in life generally, to act on the basis of incomplete knowledge; we are forced to guess. According to statistical decision theory, actions based on inadequate date must take account of both probability and costs. What we should teach students to recognize, probably, is when the cost of guessing is too high, as well as when guessing itself is too costly.

Jerome S. Bruner, The Process of Education

Written by nevalalee

December 31, 2016 at 7:30 am

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