Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Brain-Based Aspects of Cognitive Learning Approaches in Second Language Learning

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Brain-Based Aspects of Cognitive Learning Approaches in Second Language Learning

Article excerpt


Language learning process is one of the complicated behaviors of human beings which has called many scholars and experts 'attention especially after the middle of last century by the advent of cognitive psychology that later on we see its implication to education. Unlike previous thought of schools, cognitive psychology deals with the way in which the human mind controls learning. Although it was great development on the way of understanding the nature of learning, cognitive psychologists were criticized by other approaches that this caused mush evolution in cognitivism. On the other hand by the rapid growth of technology our understanding of brain has increased, therefore we know its functions and structures even while working. Neuroscience and its implications to educational domain has been increasing time to time, it means neuroscience and education never were so close to each other. Meanwhile, Brain-based researchers can confirm many learning theories that introduced during the educational great efforts of cognitive and non-cognitive approaches. This paper argues in favor of application of those approaches to language classrooms utilizing as guarantee some of the main perception from brain-based learning theories.

Keywords: language learning theory, cognitive approach, neuroscience, brain-based learning theory

1. Introduction

With the evolution of brain imaging technology, we can study intimately the human's brain even while working, thinking, and learning and its association with education domain. Nowadays, some methods, strategies, and even instructions in education domain can be revised and supported by novel science such as neurology, neuropsychology, to name just a few. Unlike previous learning theories, brain-based learning theory as new paradigm believes that learning takes place when two neurons communicate. Brain-Based Learning considers research depend on neural mechanisms that promote the learning process as a way to optimize presentation. Therefore, learning is duo to the structures and functions of the brain, and as long as the brain is not banned from fulfilling of its instinctive processes, learning occurs. However, genetic and environmental factors, and the connections among cells created by an individual's experiences influence learning. Each brain system within the whole brain seems to work collaboratively to provide meaningful learning (Cain & Cain, 2006). Thus, it can be said that "the brain learns best when it processes cognitive, affective, and psychomotor information simultaneously" (Jensen, 2005, p. 89). "Brain-based learning that is relevant and meaningful to previous mental, emotional, and physical experiences strengthens memory" (Wolfe, 2001, p. 90).

This learning approach, based on physiological and biological studies of the brain, is derived from the brain theories mentioned already and has developed into guiding principles of learning in the 21st century, increasing the effectiveness of learning and teaching. Researchers like Gardner, Jensen, Caine& Caine, Sousa, etc. advocate this approach, "Brain-based learning is a natural, motivating, and positive way of maximizing learning and teaching." It is an approach that is based on the ways our brain learns best" (Jensen, 2005, p. 12). Caine and Caine (2006) indicate that brain-based learning includes admitting the brain's rules for meaningful learning and adapting teaching with those rules in brain. Moreover, many educators confirm that neuroscience furnishes a biological and physiological foundation for effective teaching trains (Jensen, 2005). Therefore, educators who design curricula, lesson plans, or classroom activities cannot ignore this approach. This study adopts twelve mind / brain learning principles described as its teaching and learning guiding principles. The main brain compatible learning and teaching principles follow:

1. The brain is a parallel processor

2. Learning engages the entire physiology. …

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