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Metaphors for Education in policy and practice

By Judith Kidder


Aim To explore the significance of metaphors in the language used by trainee teachers in relation to teaching and learning and to compare this with the metaphors of government policy in order to explore how meaning is constructed. Although the analysis relates to the further education sector, the exploration of surface metaphors has relevance to teacher trainers in all sectors Content and hoped for impact on practice Metaphors might be seen as part of everyday language, but also as indicators of how understanding is constructed. Metaphors for learning in everyday language often include journeys, illumination and growth. Teacher trainees’ language, in reflection, tutorials and essays often uses surface metaphors which reveal a particular understanding of teaching and learning. Exploration of these metaphors can form a useful basis for understanding how trainees construct theory This presentation compares the conceptual understandings of teaching and learning and the relationship of metaphor to thought, through analysis of metaphors expressed in both the practice of prospective teachers training to teach and in what is required of them in policy documents. The metaphors used in these policy documents suggest a particular (and, arguably, restricted) understanding of education and teaching and learning, which displaces other discourses. These policy metaphors are based on the notion of skills as products which can be acquired by delivery of skills in government approved teacher training courses, through which teachers can be constrained to deliver policy as it is set out. The conceptual understanding of teaching and learning presented by trainee teachers, however, as demonstrated by their tacit metaphors, indicates a different and more complex discourse of learnin

Topics: L1, LB
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