Jerome Bruner on 2006… in 1986 and 1996

After the CUE conference, I’m back to working on phd outlining tonight.

It’s amazing, this excerpt from Bruner’s 1986 Actual Minds, Possible Worlds sounds quite a bit like something an edublogger like Will Richardson might write today:

We are living through bewildering times where the conduct of education is concerned. There are deep problems that stem from many origins – principally form a changing society whose future shape we cannot foresee and for which it is difficult to prepare a new generation. (p. 121)

This bit a few pages later was also striking:

A culture is constantly in process of being recreated as it is interpreted and renegotiated by its members… Education is (or should be) one of the principal forums for performing this function – though it is often timid in doing so.

This is not quite as shocking as reading Dewey write about these things a century ago, but it still makes me sad that we haven’t been able to address this fundamental problem in the last 20 years when it was so apparent so long ago.

Bruner returns to this theme in the preface of his 1996 The Culture of Education, where he asks these questions, familiar to a 21st century educational technologist:

Given the revolutionary changes throuigh which we are living, [would schools] do better to didcate themselve to the.. risky, perhaps equally quixotic ideal of preparing students to cope with the changing world in which they will be living? And how shall we decide what that changing world will be and what it will demand of them? … education is not just about conventional school matters like curriculum or standards or testing.

It seems Bruner was quick to rebel against standards, too. He was certainly suggesting an affirmative answer to these questions, but how long will it be before those in power feel the same way, and what can we do to create the social change necessary for that to happen?

At any rate, I hope to post more (and get some exercise) later tonight. Oh, and I hope to sleep. ;)