Educational Theory of the Month – Spiral Curriculum – Jerome Bruner
“We begin with the hypothesis that any subject can be taught in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development.” Jerome Bruner
You may have noticed that often when teaching a regular Bready doing the Picaro course, the same material just keeps coming up. This is because IQBar follows Jerome Bruner’s ‘spiral curriculum’.
The basis of spiral theory is coming back to ideas previously taught and building on them. For example, students can begin to look at directions, such as ‘left’, ‘right’, ‘in front of’ or ‘next to’ and apply them to simple images, in a few sessions time, this can be revisited with additional activities and more opportunities to apply the new phrases into their own understanding. For example, ‘my house is next to the park’. Breadies can build on what they can remember and now understand with certainty.
Bruner developed the theory in the 1960s with the belief that any student has the ability to learn complex problems if they are given the correct education with regular recaps and development of ideas. He believed that starting with a simple premise and continuing to return to it, with gradually increased difficulty and the opportunity to apply it to later work, helps students feel confident in understanding their topic and being able to apply it properly in day-to-day life. The structure is used widely in China and Taiwan’s education system and has proven to be fundamental in how the countries develop and solidify their students’ knowledge in areas such as the sciences and maths.
In terms of language learning, this process helps with the busy schedules that our Breadies have. Learning at IQBar is often juggled with school work, homework and extracurricular, so the opportunity to recap work recently covered gives Breadies more opportunities to hold on to previously covered knowledge while expanding in difficulty and context.
Within IQBar courses however, this means Buddies do not need to repeat lessons or particular areas to make sure a Bready understands. If your Bready is struggling with one area, be it shapes, or simple sentence structure, make note of the difficulty, consider ways to help understanding next time, see how the Bready responds within the homework task, and expand on the area when it appears again in later sessions! Repeating a session can lead to Breadies feeling demoralised or frustrated, a new subject can help prepare the Bready to meet the topic again in the future!
Let us know if you’ve seen the spiral curriculum in action! How can it be applied to other courses such as CGE and exam based work? How do your Breadies normally respond to the same topics but a little more complicated? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!