Journey to Excellence

General Information

According to Jerome Bruner, the instructor should encourage students to construct hypotheses, makes decisions, and discover principles by themselves. The instructor's task is to "translate information to be learned into a format appropriate to the learner's current state of understanding" and organize it in a spiral manner "so that the student continually builds upon what they have already learned."

Bruner states that a theory of instruction should address the following aspects:

  1. The most effective sequences in which to present material.
  2. The ways in which a body of knowledge can be structured so that it can be most readily grasped by the learner.

Brunerís constructivist theory can be applied to instruction by using the following principles:

  1. Instruction must be concerned with the experiences and contexts that make the student willing and able to learn ( readiness).
  2. Instruction must be structured so that it can be easily grasped by the student ( spiral organization).
  3. Instruction should be designed to facilitate extrapolation and/or fill in the gaps ( going beyond the information given).

The following table describes the constructivist stages within a lesson:

Constructivist Stage Focus and Purpose


The Invitation Stage is the element in the lesson plan where students' prior knowledge, ideas and beliefs about the concepts in the lesson sequence are brought into play. The teacher might use any one of the following:

  • a provocative question
  • a demonstration
  • a discrepant event
  • an interesting challenge


The purpose of the Exploration Stage is to assist students in exploring the concepts, phenomena, and ideas of the lesson.


The Explanation Stage should help the students discuss and reflect on their findings, data, and analyses. They should have the opportunity to see what others found, to compare their ideas to other students and experts on the topic.

Taking Action

In the Taking Action Stage, students should be involved in an activity that will assist them in taking personal and/or social responsibility for the concepts and ideas they researched. This stage provokes the student to ask, "What did I learn, and how can I use this knowledge to solve a problem?"

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