CognitivismLearning is a process that brings together cognitive, emotional, and environmentalinfluences and experiences for acquiring, enhancing, or making changes in one‟s knowledge,skills, values, and world views. Learning as a process focuses on what happens when thelearning takes place. Learning theories are attempts to describe how people and animalslearn, thereby helping us understand the inherently complex process of learning.One of the learning theories is Cognitivism. Cognitive theories look beyond behaviorto explain brain-based learning. Unlike behaviorism, it considers humans as „thinkingbeings‟. Humans are active processors of information where they infer a generative rule fromthe information given and then analyze its application in appropriate situations. The cognitiveapproach draws heavily on the cognitive constructivist learning theory which is based on thepremise that learning is an active individual process involving students‟ participation inknowledge acquisition.The constructivist theory is based on George Kelly‟s (1955) idea of the „personalconstruct‟ (internal models of the world) as the basic unit of mental cognitive structure that aperson deliberately creates in the process of cognition and through which s/he interprets,understands, and evaluates events, situations, and new information. Experts in theirrespective fields carry complex hierarchical personal constructs as compared to novices.Generally language is seen as the „vehicle‟ of building a construct. But same can betrue the other way round. Constructs can be built in such a way that they help in learning anew language. Learning is a cognitive process. In the process of cognition concepts(scientific and everyday) are formed and encoded “in the words of a language”(lexicalization) (O‟Grady, 1997, p.280) related to particular conceptual content. Naturallanguages supply different ways for encoding conceptualizations.
According to cognitive scientists, language knowledge is not different from any othertype of knowledge, so it is acquired, stored and retrieved according to the same structuralcognitive principles that operate in other areas. Derry gave a model for cognitive learning in1995. According to him, learning is the combination of prior knowledge with the newinformation. Prior knowledge models are the constructs on which new ones would be based.If the new knowledge is properly integrated in the mind, it would become part of existingconstructs and will help in itself to intake further concepts.The cognitive learning theory has had a significant impact on ESP in the recent times.The learners are given exercises based on activities related to their field. Similarly, they aretaught to develop reading strategies which would help them in reading and comprehendingany text of the foreign language. The teacher should have the idea of learner‟s priorknowledge and manipulate it for their own purpose.The cognitive code view of learning seems to answer many of theoretical andpractical problems raised by behaviorism. It treats the learners as thinking beings and putsthem firmly at the centre of the learning process, by stressing that learning will only takeplace when the matter to be learnt is meaningful to the learners.
ReferencesDavidko, Natalya. (2011). “A Cognitive Approach to Teaching English for SpecialPurposes (ESP)”. Studies About Language. NO. 18. Retrieved fromhttp://www.kalbos.lt/zurnalai/18_numeris/12.pdfHutchison, T., Waters, A. (1987). English for Specific Purposes: A learning-centredapproach. Cambridge: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge