Using metaphors for investigating and reforming students' and teachers' classroom practices

Year: 1998

Author: Thomas, Gregory, McRobbie, Campbell

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Teachers and students often possess entrenched, confined, and conservative beliefs regarding classroom practice and learning. These, often tacit, beliefs are significant barriers to classroom innovation and change. Changing teachers' and students' classroom practices requires that methods are available that enable teachers' and students' to make their tacit beliefs explicit and available for scrutiny. Metaphors are one means of exposing students' and teachers' beliefs regarding teaching and learning so they can be examined and discussed with a view to improving classroom practice and hence student learning. Recent research on the relationships between teacher and student metaphors and the teaching and learning, particularly in relation to science teaching and learning, is reviewed. The use of metaphors as a means of developing a shared understanding of learning processes between teacher and student is highlighted. The further potential use of these research findings in broader educational contexts is discussed.