A Metaphorical Analysis of the Meanings Attributed to the Education System by University Students: A Case Study

By Erginer, Ergin | Education, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

A Metaphorical Analysis of the Meanings Attributed to the Education System by University Students: A Case Study


Erginer, Ergin, Education


Introduction

The analysis oriented at the learning lives of the students, have been performed towards their general learning materials and evaluating their achievements; or by using attitude scales, their attitudes towards learning and the classes have been examined mostly through quantitative methods. In the last years, along with the effect of constructivist perspective, the studies that were figured by qualitative research methods have began to scrutinize the students' thought processes in their learning lives, their creativity and the values they own.

When the related literature is reviewed, it is seen that the metaphors associated with school, curriculum, educational technology, manager, teacher, student, reading, writing and counseling used by the students have been researched (Inbar, (1996); Mahlios and Maxon, (1998); Oxford, Tomlinson, Barcelos, Harrington, Lavine, Saleh, and Longhini, (1998); Balci, (1999); McKay, (1999); Martinez and the other (2001); Goatly, (2002); Saban, (2004, 2006, 2008); (Celikten, (2005); Oguz, (2005); Saban, Kocbeker and, Saban, (2006); (Arslan and Bayrakci, (2006); Cerit, (2006); Ocak and Gurbuz, (2006); Northcote and Fetherston, (2006), Semer ci, (2007); Carillo (2007); Demir, (2007); Beskardes, (2007); Cerit, (2008); Saban, (2008), Kabadayl, (2008); Shaw and Mahlios, (2008); Erdogan and Gok, (2008); Chesley, Gillett and Wagner, (2008); Shaw, Barry and Mahlios, (2008); Lodge, (2008); Oguz, (2009); Erdemir, (2009).

Martinez and the other (2001), who does not regard metaphors as figurative expressions, opines that metaphors form a thinking mechanism when they come together. Despite Fisher and Grady (1998) defining metaphors to be decorations of the language, by referring the Lakoff and Johnson (1980), it is also possible to defined metaphors as the method of expressing the information belonging to an object or concept with the information of another object or concept. Metaphors are generally used in the explanation of complicated and tough concepts or situations through using a simpler and better known concept or situation (Oxford, Tomlinson, Barcelos, Harrington, Lavine, Saleh, and Longhini, (1998). By using a metaphor, a new concept is expressed by a known concept, an abstract one by a tangible one, and a complicated one by a simple one (McLaughlin and Bryan, 2003, p.289).

How the students perceive the world and how they make sense of their learning lives shapes their learning needs in the future. In this context, knowing what kinds of meanings the students attach to the concepts and lives that directly affect their learning and what kinds of metaphors they use will provide an insight to the instructors in this subject. In this connection, the metaphors constructed in relation to education will contribute to the curriculum development specialists, analysts determining educational policies and practicing teachers with respect to making sense of the educational system.

Goatly (2002) states that the metaphors associated with education can make it possible to comment on the education. Therefore, it may be beneficial to utilize metaphors in order to assess the thoughts about the researched subject of the individuals who are involved in the education and instruction process. Northcote and Fetherston (2006), who examine metaphors as the indicators of the thoughts of the individuals about education, denote that individuals generally explain their opinions, perceptions and personal takes by using metaphors and that metaphors are important tools in understanding the thoughts of teachers and students about teaching and learning. Inbar (1996) also expressed that the most effective way of revealing the thoughts of the individuals in their minds, their interests and perceptions is to analyze into their metaphorical perceptions, and for this purpose, specified that metaphors might by used as analytical and explanatory tools.

When the finding of the research are analyzed, it is seen that the constructed metaphors associated with education present data such as how to make sense of the educational system and providing hints on solving the problems of the system (Northcote and Fetherston, 2006). …

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