50 Inspiring Quotes By Jerome Bruner

Every child can learn any subject at any stage if taught properly. This strong belief of Jerome Bruner helped transform the education system and curriculum in the United States.

Jerome Bruner is a renowned American psychologist who significantly contributed to the field of cognitive psychology. While education systems today understand the challenges and experiences of students, it was Bruner who introduced the concept of development stages. In his study, he suggested teachers and educators to keep it less overwhelming for students and give children the power of choices with their academics. 

Bruner believed in igniting the natural curiosity of children to learn and explore and hence, he insisted on student-teacher interaction. His published works and quotes provide a more holistic view of his teachings and findings. This blog post will help you explore and uncover the important findings of Bruner in a comprehensive way. These quotes by Jerome Bruner can also be used to bring positive changes in the curriculum for student development.

Best quotes by Jerome Bruner 

Just as child development quotes are famous for imparting knowledge about development stages, Jerome Bruner’s quotes also highlight various aspects of perception, thinking, and cognitive abilities. The below-mentioned quotes are a doorway to acquiring knowledge and enhancing teaching methods.

1. We are storytelling creatures, and as children, we acquire language to tell those stories that we have inside us.

2. Teaching is the canny art of intellectual temptation. 

3. Education must, be not only a transmission of culture but also a provider of alternative views of the world and a strengthener of the will to explore them.

4. The essence of creativity is figuring out how to use what you already know in order to go beyond what you already think.

5. The agentive mind is not only active in nature, but it seeks out dialogue and discourse with other active minds. And it is through this dialogic, discursive process that we come to know the Other and his points of view, his stories. We learn an enormous amount not only about the world but about ourselves by discourse with Others.

6. Learners are encouraged to discover facts and relationships for themselves.

7. Being able to “go beyond the information” given to “figure things out” is one of the few untarnishable joys of life.

8. In reference to right answers – Knowing is a process, not a product.

9. It is sentimentalism to assume that the teaching of life can always be fitted to the child’s interests, just as it is empty formalism to force the child to parrot the formulas of adult society. Interests can be created and stimulated.

10. The young child approaching a new subject or a new problem is like the scientist operating at the edge of his chosen field.

11. The shrewd guess, the fertile hypothesis, the courageous leap to a tentative conclusion – these are the most valuable coins of the thinker at work. But in most schools guessing is heavily penalized and is associated somehow with laziness.

12. The main characteristic of play – whether of child or adult – is not it content but its mode. Play is an approach to action, not a form of activity.

13. “Thinking about thinking” has to be a principal ingredient of any empowering practice of education.

14. In time, and as one comes to benefit from experience, one learns that things will turn out neither as well as one hoped nor as badly as one feared.

15. One seeks to equip the child with deeper, more gripping, and subtler ways of knowing the world and himself.

16. Knowing and communicating are in their nature highly interdependent, indeed virtually inseparable.

17. The foundations of any subject may be taught to anybody at any age in some form.

18. The notion of multiple literacies recognized that there are many ways of being and of becoming-literate, literate and that how literacy develops and how it is used depends on the particular social and cultural setting.

19. Interest in the material is the best stimulus to learning, rather than such external goals as grades or later competitive advantage.

20. In the perception of incongruous stimuli, the recognition process is temporarily thwarted and exhibits characteristics that are generally not observable in the recognition of more conventional stimuli.

21. Good teaching is forever being on the cutting edge of a child’s competence.

22. For in certain respects, how the mind works is itself dependent on the tools at its disposal. How the hand works for example, cannot be fully appreciated unless one also takes into account whether it is equipped with a screwdriver, a pair of scissors, or a laser beam gun…

23. The more fundamental or basic is the idea he [the student] has learned, almost by definition, the greater will be its breadth of applicability to new problems. 

24. There is a deep question whether the possible meanings that emerge from an effort to explain the experience of art may not mask the real meanings of a work of art.

25. Students should be encouraged to discover the world and relationships for themselves.

26. Understanding something in one way does not preclude understanding it in other ways.

27. Knowledge is a justified belief.

28. One of the great triumphs of learning (and of teaching) is to get things organized in your head in a way that permits you to know more than you “ought” to.

29. A child tackling a new problem is like a scientist investigating at the limit of his natural field of study.

30. Culture and education are two sides of the same coin, and we cannot understand one without understanding the other.

31. Discovery is the ability to see what everybody else has seen and to think what nobody else has thought.

32. A failure to equip minds with the social skills for understanding feeling and acting in a cultural world is not simply scoring a pedagogical zero. It risks creating alienation, defiance, and practical incompetence. And all of these undermine the viability of a culture.

33. We begin with the hypothesis that any subject can be taught effectively in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development.

34. The fish will be the last to discover water.

35. I believe in a school that not only teaches children what we know about the world but also teaches them to think about possibilities.

36. The purpose of education is to produce autonomous learners who can continue to learn after they leave school.

37. What one does and how one teaches with the aid of such devices [teaching machines] depends upon the skill and wisdom that goes into the construction of a program of problems.


38. We are only now on the threshold of knowing the range of the educability of man-the perfectibility of man. We have never addressed ourselves to this problem before.

39. The enemy of reflection is the breakneck pace – the thousand pictures.

40. We are not just information processors, we are meaning makers.

41. Passion, like discriminating taste, grows on its use. You more likely act yourself into feeling than feel yourself into action.

42. Now, school is a culture itself, not just a preparation for it, a warming up. 

43. Grasping the structure of a subject is understanding it in a way that permits many other things to be related to it meaningfully. To learn structure in short, is to learn how things are related.

44. Learning and thinking are always situated in a cultural setting and always dependent upon the utilization of cultural resources.

45. A curriculum is like an animated conversation on a topic that can never be fully defined, although one can set limits upon it.

46. There is a universal truth about human cognition: the ability to deal with knowledge is exceeded by the potential knowledge that remains in our environment. To deal with this diversity, human perception, memory, and cognitive processes are governed by strategies that protect our limited capacity so that we are not overwhelmed by thousands of stimuli provided by the environment.

47. Stimuli, however, do not act upon an indifferent organism.

48. There is, perhaps, one universal truth about all forms of human cognition: the ability to deal with knowledge is hugely exceeded by the potential knowledge contained in man’s environment. To cope with this diversity, man’s perception, memory, and thought processes become governed by strategies for protecting his limited capacities from the confusion of overloading. We tend to perceive things schematically, for example, rather than in detail, or we represent a class of diverse things by some sort of average typical instance.

49. Organizing facts in terms of principles and ideas from which they may be inferred is the only known way of reducing the quick rate of loss of human memory.

50. Knowledge helps only when it descends into habits.

Wrapping up 

Jerome Bruner has been an inspirational psychologist to uncover the modes of representation under cognitive development. His findings and research highlight the importance of the student-teacher relationship and how knowledge should be imparted to children. With the above-mentioned quotes, you can get a clear idea about his ideology and thought process. 

Quotes also help express a bigger idea in shorter words thereby conveying messages effectively. For understanding child growth, you can also check out famous Erik Erikson quotes on child development. It is important to know that quotes provide a helpful way of learning and may also be used among teachers to initiate healthy changes in teaching patterns.

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