School Metaphors: The Views of Students, Teachers and Administrators

Article excerpt


The basic goal of this research is to analyze the perceptions that students, teachers, and administrators have on the concept of school using metaphors. The sample of the study was 600 students, 203 teachers, and 51 school administrators who were working in different primary schools located in Bolu during the 2005-2006 academic year. The data were collected by a questionnaire. In the analysis of the data, frequency, percentage, arithmetic mean, standard deviation, t-test and one-way analysis of variance were used. The results obtained in the research can be listed as follows: Whereas school metaphors as the place of knowledge and enlightenment, growing up and maturity, change and development, and family and team were accepted, metaphors such as a chaotic environment, prison, factory, office and shopping center were not considered. Among the views of the participants, no significant difference with respect to educational status was found even though there were differences with respect to gender, duty, and symbol seniority.

Key Words

School, Metaphor, Metaphors About School Concept

Symbolic interactive theory under the interpretive paradigm which existed towards the end of the twentieth century has recently been used to analyze the structure and the operation of school. According to this theory, man construes, giving various meanings to objects, situations and events, perceiving and interpreting the environment, the world in which he lives through significant symbols and thus erects his own world on the basis of significant symbols (Sisman, 1998, pg. 417). A metaphor is one of the symbols used widely in organizational analysis. Metaphors are used as means of understanding human behaviors. Similarly, in several areas such as management, organizations, schools, learning, teaching, and teacher researches use metaphors.

A metaphor is representation of perception (Arnett, 1999, p. 80). Metaphors mostly include knowledge transfer from a similar area to mostly an unknown area (Tsoukas, 1991, p. 568). Metaphorical thought comprises using a similar event or object as a means so as to shed light to properties of a state and a very complicated phenomenon (Oxford at. al 1998). Metaphors form not only a figure of speech but also a basic thought mechanism (Martinez & Souleda & Huber, 2001 p. 965). Lakoff and Johnson (2005) emphasize that the most important part of our perceptive system is formed by metaphorical relations. They explain that the essential part of a metaphor is to understand and experience a thing of a kind in comparison with a thing of another.

School has important effects on men's social, cultural, and professional lives. Therefore, a detailed analysis of school will contribute positively to educational activities being carried out effectively. Metaphors are one of the most effective means to find out individuals' mental perceptions. In this sense, the use of metaphors is examined in order to obtain knowledge widely in the examination of school in the present study. In the operation of school consulting to the views of students, teachers and administrators will contribute to how to perceive the school and understand the form of educational activities. With this purpose, the views of students, teachers, and administrators were acquired on metaphors about school in several primary schools in Bolu.


A total of 911 male and 835 female students in the fifth grade, 286 primary school teachers and 51 administrators (e.g., principals and vice-principals) from 19 primary schools in Bolu were contacted for the purpose of collecting the data in the study. Out of 1746 students, 600 were randomly chosen. Although all the teachers were given the research packet, 203 completed and returned. Therefore, the sample of the study was 600 students, 203 teachers, and 51 school administrators who were working in different primary schools located in Bolu during the 2005-2006 academic year. …


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