Jerome Bruner on Pedagogy


Pedagogical theory is not only technical but cultural, ideological and political. If it is to have any impact, it must be self-consciously all of these.

So wrote Jerome Bruner in his book, Relevance of Education. He died last weekend, on 5th June, aged 100, in the same city in which he was born: New York City.

His wise words should be recited daily by every teacher, every student teacher and every teacher educator, and ought to be emblazoned on the hearts of all those of us who have anything to do with education. Anyone who views teaching as purely a craft, a neutral and objective conglomeration of techniques and systems and methodologies, is just plain wrong.

The classroom (or any space, physical or virtual, where teaching and learning take place) is a space in which people’s lives can be enhanced or diminished, in which young people in particular can flourish or be crushed. With that truth in mind, every teacher who cherishes and upholds that honoured status of teacher knows the validity of Bruner’s words.