What is Cognitive Development? [Resume of Bruner's Theory]

 Cognitive development theory can be said as the scientific study of human’s mind development (McLeod, 2007), it is to describe a set of natural or social phenomena as the result of an experiment. There are three main theories we can using in helping children’s cognitive development.
   As its title, children’s cognitive development is about the growth changing of their thinking. Even there are three theories represents children’s cognitive development, it is not always follow the rules. It can be changed unpredictably (Siegler, n.d.)
   Here, there are three theories of children’s cognitive development, each theories has its own focus in learning children’s cognitive development and has strengths or weaknesses.

Students of Lab School UPI kindergarten
on the cognitive mode of image based

Bruner’s theory
    Bruner’s theory of cognitive development is the youngest one than the two theory before. For Bruner, the important aspect to deal with children’s cognitive development is language ability (Cameron, 2001), and the outcomes of cognitive development is thinking which is created from the experiences.

-----Children’s cognitive development
According to McLeod (2008), in Bruner’s research of this cognitive development, Jerome Bruner proposed three modes of presentation;
a.       Enactive representation (action-based)
This representation is happens in age 0-1 years generally. Children will memorize how they move their hand in shaking rattle, and when they even do not hold the rattle, they will shake their hands.
b.      Iconic representation (image-based)
This usually happens in age 1-6 years, children can learn from images. So, they stored information visually in the form of images. [This can be seen in the picture above of some kindergarten student learning by images given to them].
c.       Symbolic representation (language-based)
This is by most people, was experienced by children on age 7 onwards. They started to learn information in the form of code or symbol, for the example is language.

-----Teaching Language to Children
There are two important ways stated by Brunner in teaching language to children; Scaffolding and routines (Cameron, 2001)
a.       Scaffolding
Same as Vygotsky’s theory, Bruner argues that Children learn by the help of adults or peers, the attitudes, values and beliefs of the culture around them (Siegler, n.d.). Also, Bruner employee Scaffolding in doing Zone Proximal Development (ZPD). Scaffolding is the activities process of doing ZPD (Cameron, 2001), while ZPD itself is the distance that differs the independent ability and the dependent ability of the children’s.
So in here. Children has an experience in memorizing the image of a clown by thinking that a clown will be looks with big-fat body.
b.      Routines
            The second ways in helping children’s cognitive development is by the routines. Children can learn well by something that repeated all the time, for example by giving them a good manner through our action or telling them a story again and again so that they can learn the language they heard.
   In the end, we can conclude that this theory is much likely to be the way to educate children than the theory of children’s cognitive development. So, it is a well-applied as the teaching strategies.


Cameron, L. (2001). Teaching Languages to Young leLarner. Cambridge: Cambridge University press.
McLeod, S. (2007). Cognitive Psychology: Bruner. Retrieved from SimplyPsychology: http://www.simplypsychology.org/bruner.html
Siegler, R. (n.d.). Cognitive Development in Childhood. Retrieved Desember 24, 2016, from NOBA: http://nobaproject.com/modules/cognitive-development-in-childhood