Analogical transfer - interest is just as important as conceptual potential.

Year: 2002

Author: Harrison, Allan

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Abstract:
Analogies and models are frequently used in science and science teaching and much research is devoted to examining their effectiveness. Little research, however. has been conducted into their affective benefits and this paper reviews five studies by the author and his colleagues to find examples of interest enhancing cognition. The rolling wheels refraction analogy, a comparative study of a class that received the wheels analogy and one that did not, two teacher interview studies and the bursting-balloons analogy for molecular shapes are re-examined for instances of motivation and interest contributing to concept learning. The motivational literature insists that conceptual change learning will only proceed when students are interested and engaged. The re-examined analogies and teacher views support this claim. I recommend that a resource of interesting and effective analogies be compiled for teachers, that teachers are encouraged to systematically present their analogies in a model like the FAR guide, and that dedicated research be conducted into the affective aspect of analogy and model-based teaching.

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