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[xmca] Cognitivist theory & language learning

I'm using a variety of tools for learning Portuguese, including dubbed and subtitled movies as well as books written for instruction. In one of these, following a list of sixteen first-conjugation verbs, I find this helpful advice:

In order to learn these verbs, try to first memorize them by putting the verbs into lists or categories. Can you divide the above list into "things that I do often" and "things that I rarely do"? How about dividing the list into "action verbs" and "mental verbs"? Whatever categories you chose to organize the verbs, the important thing is that you find a way to process and arrange these new pieces of information in your brain. Once you have done this, it will be easier to retrieve the information later.

(Source: Ferreira, Fernanda L. The Everything Learning Brazilian Portuguese Book: Speak, Write and Understand Portuguese in No Time. Avon, Mass.: Adams Media, 2007., p. 111)

I see this as an extraordinarily clear and straightforward expression of a view of learning that I find quite common in education circles. I expect that I'll be using it as a clear example of wrong-headed thinking about learning.

Maybe others will find similar value in this example; but I'm also writing to ask if anyone has equally clear and succinct examples to share that could be used to show what's wrong with this, and how to understand learning more appropriately, instead ... things that would be clear and easily accessible for people in education for whom the cognitivist approach seems to be right?

Muito obrigado,

Tony Whitson
UD School of Education
NEWARK  DE  19716


"those who fail to reread
 are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
                  -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
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