The IC-SC Cognitive Learning Model

In her theoretical model, Tseng postulates that any attempt at understanding the new is the transaction between each individual’s culture (IC), developed from a personal history of the world, and social culture (SC), composed of the histories of others in the learning environment. When SC consists of or includes the Target [Language] Culture (TC) – the culture of the second or foreign language being learned – the learner is confronted with differences that stretch their expectations, making comprehension of new concepts difficult. The most prevalent of these anomalous concepts are caused by mutual cultural misunderstanding between the learner and his/her conversational partners. The greater the tension between the known and unknown, the more it drives the learner to continually move forward cognitively. The interaction between our own inner world and the external world creates meaning, the comprehension of which comes from gaining new perspectives on culture in general, which in turn requires adjustment to IC. This is then internalized and becomes part of them – their Individual Culture (IC). However, as we do not share identical histories, IC continuously evolves and cannot become SC. These changes are not merely a result of a passive increase in knowledge of another culture, but of the active process of transaction between our individual culture (IC) and the social, or worldly, culture (SC) which is the milieu of our learning environment.

The relation between the base and its product can be illustrated as follows:

Figure  1.


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