Cognitive distortions in the development of the "times" of the English language, or Who interferes with us will help us


    * The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon , or the Illusion of Frequency, is a cognitive distortion in which recently recognized information that appears again after a short period of time is perceived as unusually often repeated.

    Around the "bugs" ...

    The “software” of each of us is crammed with “bugs” - cognitive distortions .


    The question arises: how can a person perceive reality without them? Can human consciousness in principle be free from systematic deviations in perception? How would human society and the world change if everyone were free from them?

    While there are no answers to these questions, and while none of us is free from them, this “Achilles heel" of human perception has been successfully used by marketers, advertisers, and other practices of behavioral economics . They managed to create manipulative techniques, successfully exploiting our cognitive distortions to, for example, achieve the commercial goals of corporations.

    The author found a working application of cognitive distortion in another area - teaching foreign languages.

    Psychological inertia of the native language in the study of a foreign language

    As a specialist working with the minds of people, the author knows very well how painful and ineffective is the struggle with the psychological inertia of the native language when learning English.

    Cognitive science has revealed that, even if a person is well aware of the presence of cognitive distortions, this knowledge in no way gives a person immunity from falling into them. When teaching a language, the goal is the practical mastery of the language as a tool, and not the fight against the inevitable cognitive distortions that impede the achievement of this goal. At the same time, clashes with cognitive distortions in the process of mastering a foreign language are inevitable.

    Unfortunately, the currently existing popular technologies and methods of teaching foreign languages ​​at a systematic level do not take into account the natural resistance of the psyche to the integration of incomprehensible language structures, and, in fact, are rather long-term projects for breaking forehead with closed doors than a pleasant process of mastering important skills, accompanied by the pleasure of a sense of growth of skill and the profitability of intellectual, time and financial investments.

    In the process of teaching practice, the author learned one truth: to struggle with distortions of perception when learning a language is as unproductive as to fight one's own Shadows according to Jung, which can be overcome only by revealing them, realizing and accepting oneself. When the repressed Shadow is integrated back into the person, this shadow turns into a powerful resource.

    From this conclusion the idea was born to “saddle” the inertia of cognitive distortions, to play along in a controlled manner so that distortions would help, rather than hinder, the rapid assimilation of material.

    Method 12 (a link in the profile) was born - a heuristic way of “loading” the system of “tenses” of English grammar. A process in which some of our cognitive distortions, which are usually obstacles, play the role of our allies, providing, paradoxically, the awareness and comfort of the learning process, significant time and financial savings - in general, a fairly simple, algorithmized, and entertaining shortcut to goals.

    “Whoever bothers us will help us!”

    The system of mastering twelve English types of temporary forms of Method 12 contains the principle of aikido: “He who interferes with us will help us!”

    In fact, why invest in an exhausting struggle against cognitive biases if they can be used as powerful allies, on whose back it is much easier to triumphantly enter a new skill?

    What kind of cognitive distortions are these that help us master the material in the space of Method 12, and with which traditional approaches to teaching are so irrationally interacting?

    To begin with, with any traditional approach to language development, it is studied from the outside as an existing phenomenon. The prospect of further integration of this alien system into the arsenal of one’s own consciousness seems to the student as unsteady as taking a fortress wall in a jump. There is me, and there is a giant English, and I need to eat and digest this elephant, cutting off small pieces from it for a long time.

    Watching the moment when this eaten elephant becomes an integrated part of your consciousness, there is a cognitive distortion, designated as the " IKEA Effect " (to which the " Syndrome" was not invented by me " is associated ). Method 12 takes into account this phenomenon of the psyche, as well as the similar “ Effect of generation, or manifestation ” (which is an objective property of the psyche, and not cognitive distortion), building educational space on their inertia.

    Consider how Method 12 interacts with each of them.

    Let's consider how Method 12 interacts with each of them and how - traditional approaches:

    IKEA effect, descriptionMethod 12Trad. teaching methods
    The tendency of people to value something that they themselves took part in creating. Due to the fact that a lot of effort has been put into the project, people are often inclined to continue investing in obviously failed projects.In the framework of Method 12, people independently construct a system of English times, answering the teacher's questions proposed in a certain sequence. Trainees see how many steps are left before the construction is completed, and measure the profitability of their investments. When the structure is completed, they cease to invest in the creation of the structure and realize that the stage of improving the ownership of the structure begins.The student does not create anything himself, he only tries to blindly board a certain external matter abstract for him. As a rule, people try to understand the system of times for years and remain unsatisfied with their understanding and possession of this matter. Trainees either temporarily retreat, later, under the pressure of objective necessity, return to attempts to master the material; or stubbornly continue to invest in what they are doing very poorly without awareness.

    Generation effect, or manifestation, descriptionMethod 12Trad. teaching methods
    The best development of the material is carried out by a person in the conditions of its independent generation or completion by the person himself than with a simple reading. It manifests itself due to deeper processing of the completed information, which carries more semantic load. It involves the establishment of a larger number of associative relations, which increases the number of “access routes” to the generated information, as opposed to a simple “read”.In the framework of the Method, 12 people, answering successive questions of a cognitive nature, independently generate a system, evoking from their consciousness the familiar and understandable elements of their native language that they already have, recompiling them into another system of the language being studied. Thus, the new system is the creation of the student, and not an external object for study. The identity of the system shown is the system of English “times” - the responsibility of the teacher and developer, not the studentThe student does not create anything himself, he only tries to blindly study some abstract external matter unfamiliar to him, using relatively unsystematic rules and exercises developed by third parties.

    These two phenomena, one of which is cognitive distortion, are the pillars on which two of the four (symmetrical first and third) stages of Method 12 are built, where the construct of the English system of temporal forms is revealed.

    The triumph of the owl and the globe

    Further, Method 12 successfully overcomes the eternal problem of students “pulling a Russian owl onto the English globe,” which the author had already written about .

    It appears that this cognitive distortion is a derivative of the distortions “ Confirmation bias ” , “ Semelweis effect ” and “ Clusterization illusion ”. They are united by the tendency of our psyche to seek or interpret new information in such a way that it is embedded in a paradigm that already exists in the mind. In the case of learning English - the phenomenon of the stubborn search for Russian cognitive logic in a foreign language, which there, of course, is almost absent in the sought-after form.

    Instead of arguing with powerful force, that, in addition to our will, begins to “pull” new material that is outside the paradigm of the native Russian language onto this very paradigm, instead of driving nails of rules into this spontaneous process and flipping the jerking stick and correcting endless errors in speech and exercises, we, as a wise psychiatrist, affectionately agree with an unruly consciousness. “Yes, dear. Do you want it like that? Of course, my good, let it be as you want. ”And we are building the right channel for the elements.

    The comforted consciousness ceases to be stressed and panic from the fact that it is not possible to “cram the unwelcome”. Meanwhile, we gently offer him a display of a system of species of temporal forms, encoded in a system of habitual for him, consciousness, “peaceful” realities and symbols - “facts”, “processes”, “deadlines”, “perfect facts”, etc. . This auxiliary symbolic construction is arranged in such a way that it is identical to the system of twelve English active voice times. For several hours of training, the consciousness smoothly imposes an auxiliary 3D construction on the English Tenses system, and naturally integrates Present Perfect Simple and Future Perfect Progressive that were once hated and incomprehensible to it. We can draw an analogy with the situation when a medication must be delivered to the blood of a sick animal. The beast refuses to eat a pill in its pure form, and, instead of wasting time on its resistance and aggression, the owner simply mixes the pill into a treat. Voila.

    As a result, we allowed the consciousness to “pull” for our pleasure, but slightly adjusted this process: the “owl” became English, and the “globe” became Russian. That is, the consciousness, under the strict guidance of the teacher, stopped looking for Russian cognitive logic in English, but, on the contrary, found elements of the cognitive logic of English in Russian and built these elements common to both languages ​​into understandable and familiar categories into a model of the system that is identical to the system of temporal forms of English language. We painlessly and comfortably overcame the resistance of consciousness, avoided a futile struggle with it, using the mechanisms of the above cognitive distortions in favor of a better and deeper interiorization of the skill.

    Moreover, when developing the internal terminology of Method 12, we use the natural inertia of the Acquaintance Effect with the object and the Accessibility Heuristics, conditionally coding some cognitive constructions that are the most difficult for Russian perception, with common folk phrases, such as: “who first got up, he slippers”, “I walked, walked, walked, found a pie, sat down, ate, went on”, “scissors”, “ pins ”,“ pieces ”. Now that we have such capacious memes in our arsenal, we have mercifully relieved consciousness: now, to embed the formidable Past Perfect in our Russian-language paradigm, we do not need furious definitions like “an action completed prior to some past point of time specified or implied, formed in English by had and the past participle ”. It is enough to hint with a conspiratorial look: “whose slippers”?

    It doesn’t sound scientific, I agree. But without cognitive distortion and reduced to a logical system, simple and reliable, like a Kalashnikov assault rifle. Taken from the context of the built system, this “pragmaterminology” loses all meaning.

    It is worth mentioning that the course is built in cycles, in the best traditions of the Effect of level processing and Interval repetition . The material of the first stage is processed in a new, deeper, round in the third, the second stage is mirrored to the “enriched” fourth. And then - the sky is the limit ... A strong "skeleton" of the English grammar was implanted in the student’s head. Then you can build on it embossed “muscles” and polish other linguistic beauty as much as the student wants and needs.

    Teacher's sinful sin

    We thought a lot about students. What about the teacher? He is also a man with his own distortions. What does the teacher overcome in teaching in Method 12? The distortion of perception with the ominous name “ Curse of knowledge ”: “one of the cognitive distortions in human thinking, which is that it is extremely difficult for more informed people to consider any problem from the point of view of less informed people.” Having such transparent technology in work, the teacher has no chance to unwittingly confuse the student’s head. It is likely that when teaching according to Method 12, as in that anecdote, “while I explained - I understood myself”, the teacher, explaining the material, sometimes can see in it something that he had not seen before.

    I would like to know what kind of perception difficulties those who read this text faced when learning languages. And a big request to those who do not have cognitive distortions is to avoid throwing minus stones into the Method whenever possible. The author tried.

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