Implicit Cognitive Vulnerability

Implicit Cognitive Vulnerability

Caroline M. Crawford (University of Houston – Clear Lake, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch447
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Abstract

Through the concept of implicit cognitive vulnerability, the learner develops a “comfortableness” within the instructional environment that engages the learner in a creative understanding of the subject matter that reflects a cognitively vulnerable sense of understanding that engages the learner in new and different ways with the subject matter. This cognitive vulnerability is not only creative in nature, but the “comfortableness” to safely “think outside the box” in new and different ways more fully supports the learner's understanding of the subject matter. The importance revolving around a learner's “comfortableness” within an instructional environment is a level of engagement within the learning community that impacts not only the sense of community engagement towards motivational and self-efficacy efforts, but more importantly the learner's sense of belonging and “comfortableness” within a learning community.
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Background

Cognitive vulnerability within the realm of cognitive psychology has a focus upon states of emotional depression (Haeffel & Hames, 2014; Hanklin & Abramson, 2001; Matthews & MacLeod, 2005; McGinn, Nooner, Cohen & Leaberry, 2015). However, within the learning process, one might suggest that cognitive vulnerability is not so much a state of depression, as much as a state of cognitive dissonance wherein the learner is attempting to understand information in new and different ways, by not only framing the information within the previously developed knowledge base, or conceptual framework of understanding (Vygotsky, 1933/1966, 1935, 1981) as well as the learner’s need for support within Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943, 1954, 1962, 1968, 1964/1970a, 1970b) that frames a five stage model that frames the deficiency needs (physiological, safety, social, esteem) and growth need (self-actualization) as vitally important areas of impact upon a learner’s motivational needs. One may suggest that the vulnerability inherent within the learning process engages Vygotsky’s conceptual framework of understanding the specific subject matter that also includes the connectedness of the new information with previously understood information, with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs that engages in the safety and esteem aspects of the community of learning (Klamma, Rohde & Stahl, 2005; Swan, 2002). This also supports Wittgenstein’s (1961) work related to a learner’s understanding of information within the realm of their own socially communicated and socially corrective understandings that frame learned information within a social context that may be perceived as the community of learning environment as well as the larger community of practice that also includes the larger social realm of influence.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Vulnerability: This term describes the cognitive understanding of the instructional process, wherein the student engages in differentiated understanding and efforts associated with the subject matter being learned. The student’s comfortableness with the information, the student’s comfortableness and engagement within the instructional environment (including the level of trust that the student feels towards the teacher and the other students) can further enhance each student’s ability to openly articulate creative thoughts and ideas, feeling a sense of safety that the student will not be derided for potentially incorrect understandings or “thinking outside the box” creativity that may be unusual understandings and ideas implemented with the subject matter under study.

Cognitive Vulnerability: The term is primarily implemented within psychology as suggesting a person’s depressive state. Within this discussion, the term does not suggest a level of mental depression. Instead, this term focuses upon a sense of dissonance, meaning discord or conflict, within a person’s mental processes while learning new information but more directly this term focuses upon the learner’s efforts towards using information in new and different ways of understanding.

Conceptual Framework of Understanding: This term was coined by Vygotsky (1933/1966 , 1935 , 1981 ) and means that all information is remembered by a person in a mixed understanding with other information. No learned information stands alone; instead, the information is linked within each person’s understanding with other prior knowledge, whether learned or experienced information. This occurs in a social context wherein the person learning the information, or re-learning prior information, is making connections of understanding between all prior knowledge points that connect with the current information under study. The checking of understanding occurs in a social context, with re-learning and re-connecting prior knowledge information occurring as is appropriate.

Subject Matter: This term reflects the information that is meant to be taught by the teacher, and learned by the students.

Collegial Learner: This term is offered as a label for all learners within an instructional environment. This term is implemented with the desire to reflect an instructional community environment wherein the students come together and support each other’s instructional understanding as well as supporting each other’s knowledge attainment while using the knowledge in new and different ways of understanding.

Reflective Practitioner: This term focuses upon the professionalism of the teacher, suggesting that the continuous analysis of the teacher’s strengths, weaknesses and areas of further development are necessary and appropriate towards recognizing the ever evolving understanding of the profession.

Cognition: Cognition is a term that focuses upon the thought processes of a person. Within this discussion, the term revolves around the mental processes of persons involved in the instructional process.

Instructional Facilitator: This term reflects the role of the teacher within any instructional environment. The reason for the term is the understanding that the teacher is not only a “sage on the stage” but is also a mentor, a coach, and a Socratic questioner as is necessary and appropriate towards supporting the learning efforts within the instructional processes. Facilitating each learner’s efforts is the role of the teacher.

Community of Learners: This term is an overarching understanding of the group of students, also including the instructional facilitator, who come together with the intention to learn information while also supporting the larger group’s instructional understandings and efforts. This term reflects a philosophical understanding, that learning is not a singular activity but, instead, is a socially supported effort.

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