I read this in a psych report:
“…. distinction between capacity to learn i.e. intellectual capacity to learn discrete bits of information and his ability to process this information in a functional manner, i.e. cognition.” My mind went to how people learn languages; those who intellectually grasp a language as discrete bits of information, mostly grammar features and vocabulary, understand the language at that level, what CI people call “knowing about the language” while the CI methods goes for processing the information in a functional manner, i.e. communication.
What CI does is have the learner process language input, i.e. see a picture of a sheep in a field as someone says, “There’s a sheep in the field and his name is Raymond. Raymond is hungry.” The existential structure, ‘there is’, as input, the vocabulary items ‘sheep’, ‘field’, as input, the structure ‘his name is’ and ‘is hungry’ as input, but all in a manner that is functional – at the beginner level mere comprehension. Later fuller utterances like, “Given the enormity of the challenge, it is no wonder Warren blanched,” become input, often in the format of reading.
The difference between intellectual grasp of a language, knowing about the language, and functional capacity is the difference between grammar-based instruction and CI-based instruction. I’ve struggled for years with the word ‘cognitive’ since learning grammatical concepts is cognitive and processing communication is cognitive; here is the distinction: intellectual capacity vs functional use.