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Ágnes Vámos: Metaphors in the content analysis of educational concepts

Metaphors offer an appropriate research tool for the exploration of educational concepts and thinking. In the present study 255 university students provided metaphor responses to the concepts of school, teacher, learner, teaching and learning. The starting point was the provocation of the metaphor of school as theatre. In their responses, students associated director-actor and actor-audience pairs to the roles of teacher and learner. Correspondingly, the concept of teaching was associated with direction and performance/play, whereas learning with rehearsal and performance/reception/watching. This difference highlights the difference in thinking between arts and science majors, originating in different experiences with schooling and education. Rooted in cognitive science, the analysis of the metaphors (including those volunteered by the students) showed that the school can be conceptualised as a space of preparation and of being prepared, or as a journey. The teacher is an adult possessing professional knowledge necessary for creating something, one who is able and willing to direct and influence the process of emergence and progress. The learner is a small creature, the subject of domination, defenceless; or, raw material to be processed. Teaching and learning are both work done to realise a future objective or product. From a certain perspective, this objective appears to be life itself. It seems, then, that students consider teaching, but not learning, as a part of life. This may have special consequences regarding their conceptualisation of children.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 101. Number 1. 85-108. (2001)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Vámos Ágnes, Eötvös Lóránd Tudományegyetem (ELTE), Neveléstudományi Intézet. H-1146. Budapest, Ajtósi Dürer sor 19-21.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia