Training, consultancy and resources to improve teaching and learning
You are here > Members' Resources > Online Learning Magazine > 2016 Magazine Issues > Issue 73: Inspiring Educators 3
Books Membership

To read the learning magazine, download resources and to access site resources you'll need to join and login:

  • Standard Member: Free
    Monthly updates, magazine & limited resources
  • Teacher Premium Member: £24 per annum
    Monthly updates, magazine & all teacher resources
Find out more about each level >>
Books Training Events
Designing Effective Online Teaching & Training
Two 2hr Online Sessions
Wed 15th, Fri 17th
13:45 to 15:45
Further Info on Course

Free Online Zoom School
Next session:   4th July 9:15am
Further Info on Course

Thinking Heads: 6 Sessions
for headteachers
One session each half term
Starts 1 Oct 20
  To be held Online or
Wandsworth, South London
depending on Covid-19
Further Info on Course

Availability On Key Dates:
All 20/21 Key Dates Available !

Professional Learning Available From Mike:
Online Training
Curriculum Design & Development
INSET & Non Closure Days
(New) Headteacher Executive Coaching
Thinking Heads Facilitation
Coaching Skills for Leaders
Video Coaching for Improved Teaching
Challenge 10 Toolkit - Quality Teaching
Programmes for MATs/TSAs/LAs
Books Teacher Premium Offer

Book Cover MI in PracticeMar 2020
This month's Teacher Premium Offer:

Multiple Intelligences in Practice £20.00
with free standard delivery in the UK

See expired members offers  

Shop Free Shop Delivery

Teacher Premium Members receive

  • Free UK Standard Delivery in the Thinking Classroom Book Shop
Magazine Issue 73: Inspiring Educators 3
July 2016

This month: Thoughts about Inspiring Educators 3

Article: Inspiring Educators 3
New Resources
Additional Resources

This Month's Article:

Inspiring Educators 3: Jerome Bruner

Inspiring Educators 3: Jerome Bruner An Article to inform/remind you about the massively influential work of Prof. Jerome Bruner. Third in the 'Inspiring Educators' series.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Categories: Article, Teaching & Learning, Educators

Tags: Psychology Scaffolding Constructivism Jerome Bruner

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

Jerome Bruner sadly passed away on 6th June 2016 and, I believe, continued lecturing at New York University School of Law into his late 90s. His contribution to understanding learning has been wide, deep, rich and powerful. He was a giant of educational giants. His voice was and remains strong, and his thinking as relevant as ever. Chances are you referred to his work in an essay or project while learning your classroom craft, and with a little excavation you'll find his ideas underpinning your day-to-day practice.

Like all the educators so far in this 'Inspiring Educators' series, Bruner's ideas make great sense in a system which aims to prepare young people for their futures rather than our pasts. Unfortunately such concepts often get lost in a culture of politically motivated summative assessment. I can't do Bruner justice in this short piece but we can keep his thinking alive. Below are four of his theories (gifts to the world of learning) alongside dialogue prompts that you may wish to use in staff training or as staffroom chat:

Idea/Gift to Learning

Development Prompts
Process of Education

Bruner said, "knowing how something is put together is worth a thousand facts about it." in the context of an education system that should not rely solely on the memorisation of knowledge.

In which ways do we formally teach the skills of memorisation - Recall-File-Retrieve?

What balance do we strike in a lesson/topic/year between remembering facts vs analysing concepts?

Is the balance one we choose or is it imposed?


Powerful metaphor for how children co-construct their learning. They build on the information they have already mastered, layer upon layer, supported by the adults around them. Once their learning is secure, like actual scaffolding around a building, the support can be removed.

Extend the building metaphor. How would we describe our pupils, our practice, our school, our vision? Who is the earthquake.....

What kind of impact might it have on learning if we share this metaphor with pupils?
Modes of Representation

Bruner proposed three modes in which children build their learning: enactive (action-based), iconic (image-based), and symbolic (language-based). Unlike Piaget's linear stages of development, he argued the modes overlap and integrate with one another.

What balance of actions, visuals and words do we offer to pupils as they encounter something for the first time?

What balance of modes do we use when assessing what pupils have learned?
Spiral Curriculum

Bruner suggested that individual subjects and skills that were taught in a curriculum should be revisited at regular intervals; each time to a deeper level. The first visit offers basic knowledge, then subsequent ones reinforce this but add sophistication and connections leading to mastery.

What control do we genuinely have over our curriculum? 

Is our curriculum spiral in nature? If not, what shape or journey best describes it?

What impact would a spiral curriculum have on learning outcomes?


"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."

New Resources:

10 Word Lesson

10 Word Lesson A Thinking Skills Tool showing you how to plan and deliver a lesson in 10 words or fewer. Really.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Creative Thinking, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, Junior

Tags: Independent Learning
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

10 Word Lesson PowerPoint

10 Word Lesson PowerPoint A Thinking Tool Template in PowerPoint with lots of ideas and examples for 10 Word Lessons. Includes guidance and ready-made teaching slides.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Creative Thinking, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, Junior

Tags: Independent Learning
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Skills Think Sheet - Problem Finding

Skills Think Sheet - Problem Finding A Think Sheet with tasks and challenges to help pupils learn how to find problems rather than simply solve them when they come along.

Categories: Think Sheet, Creative Thinking, Skills-Based Learning, All Ages, Any Subject

Tags: Problem Solving Creative Thinking
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Additional Resources:

Thinking Classroom Archive:

Inspiring Educators 2: Horace Mann

Inspiring Educators 2: Horace Mann An Article briefly describing the life, work and philosophy of 19th C. politician and educational reformer Horace Mann. Includes professional development prompts to help you enrich your own practice.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Find out more
Categories: Article, Teaching & Learning, Educators

Tags: Horace Mann Reform

Problem Solving

Problem Solving An Article exploring the nature of problems and our methods for seeking solutions. Reveals a simple method to engage with any problem by addressing the Mindset of Solutions.

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. 
Albert Einstein 

If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail. 
Abraham Maslow

What exactly is a problem?

This is a Free Sample Resource

Find out more
Categories: Article, Thinking Skills, Skills-Based Learning, Any Subject, All Ages, Educators

Tags: Problem Solving Mindset

2 Word Thinking

2 Word Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool for getting to the essence of ideas, books, concepts, stories etc. but in only 2 words.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Analytical Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Summarising
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Values Think Sheet - Challenge

Values Think Sheet - Challenge A Think Sheet with challenging thinking about challenge itself.

Categories: Think Sheet, Skills-Based Learning, Any Subject, Secondary

Tags: Challenge PSHE
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Next month we think about... Planning