Posts Tagged ‘Metaphors’

Metaphors and Dialetical Thinking (Journal One)

1. Lakoff & Johnson Reading

The reading “Concepts We Live By”, Lakoff and Johnson criticize the common belief that metaphor is only the poetic word in the language device. The writers argue that the metaphor within human conceptual system will governs and naturally shapes human thought and action within their live activities. “Metaphor as linguistic expressions are possible precisely because there are metaphors in a person’s conceptual system” (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980, p.5). “A metaphor is a compressed, imaginative expression of a perspective…[which allows] teachers [to] see themselves, their students, and their work” (Boostrom, 1998,p.397). Furthermore, according to Provenzo Jr., McCloskey, Kottkamp, and Cohn (1989), the metaphors provide opportunities for individuals to describe the differences between the expected and experiences, reflect the experiences into multiple meanings, and create new understanding. Moreover, using metaphor in teaching strategies can help students to understand the concepts and learn more effectively in science (Cameron, 2002). As a result, metaphor not only shapes teaching practice for teachers but also for students to shape their learning strategies.

Lakoff and Johnson use one example of “Argument is War” which could describe several terminology such as “…your claim is indefensible”(p.4). They argue that within this metaphor people will view the argument as a weapon within the battle. As well as a battle, people could loss or win, they tend to see others as enemy or friend and they tend to defend or attack. As a result, it is difficult for people who held this metaphor to accept the differences. On the other hand, Lakoff and Johnson bring an idea to view argument within a culture rather than a battle which allows the differences. People couldn’t dispute others culture and ask them to follow other culture, just simply doing something differently. The writers also point out the term of “Argument is Dance” which is giving ideas of everyone has their own performance which is unique and acceptable. These metaphors which allow people to have different argument without think to attack and win others’ arguments. Moreover, the writer point out that “the essence of metaphor is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another”(p.5). As a result, this reading focus on encouraging readers to view metaphor not only as a poetic word within the language device, but also the term which guide us to think and to act within our daily lives.

Since I explore the concept of metaphor in the curricula unit, I realize that the importance of understanding the concept of metaphor which shape my professional practices. I comprehend that I have experiences holding these metaphors which influence my interaction with others such as my students and colleagues. For example, in Indonesia, it seems that the students discourage to think critically and criticize the teacher. As a result, it is difficult for students for arguing their opinions which influence me as a student and a teacher. Teacher becomes the winner and students become the losers. I remember that how I guide my students to have the same ideas with me which I recognize as “accepted ideas”. At that time, different ideas with the teacher seems to be unaccepted. Therefore, the metaphor of war is really applied in my classroom. It also happened when I interact with my colleagues, as a junior lecturer, I tend to accept my senior lecturers’ ideas. Moreover, as a government employee, sometimes the structural hierarchy discourages my voice in the institution. As a result, most of my time as an employee is under the “war” metaphor. It seems that difficult to hold the “dance” metaphor within the border of institution. However, this time is the learning process for me to accept the differences, to recognize my students’ ideas, to believe that I have my own voiced. Therefore, I realize that the metaphor “ dance” will help me to struggle within my professional envisioning.

The teacher-centre teaching shapes most of my experiences as a learner and a teacher. As a teacher, I used to apply the language of “transfer” the knowledge which influences my thinking and action. Therefore, as I mention above, I “abuse” my students to accept my ideas as recognized as accepted ideas (I am getting unsure about my “accepted ideas”). Moreover, I realize that this approach related to restrict my students’ thinking development, border their creativity, and separate their experiences from the learning process. As a result, these horrible learning experiences could influence students’ perceptions throughout their lives. For example, because of my “organic chemistry” teachers used to apply the teacher-centre approach which caused me bored and sleepy throughout the semester. She just talked and read through the books, without recognized her students’ engagement. As a result, in my classroom only 7 out of 34 students could pass this unit and it is still happened until now. It seems organic chemistry is “devil” subject. Therefore, until now, I tend to keep away from every topic which related to “organic chemistry” which create difficulties for me as chemistry educator, because every concepts in chemistry is related each others.

On the other hand, under the concept of constructivism approaches, I realize that learners have their own knowledge which is recognized as “prior knowledge. The learners’ own knowledge will be conflict within their mind, they could accept, reject, or assimilate the new ideas depends on the learning process is occurred in their mind. Therefore, it is important for the teacher to recognize this concept. Based on my experiences, it is hardly found that the teachers who applied this approach. It is not productive to tell students that they give “right or wrong” answers. Because they feel that they will be judged which could give negative impacts for students’ learning process (Tytler, 2002). Moreover, general principles of constructivist approach are giving opportunity for students to: communicate their own ideas, extend their knowledge by the experiences, think about the experiences, try the new ideas, reflect on changes their ideas, which create meaningful learning environment (Tytler, 2002). Therefore, throughout the “construction” metaphor, students have their own freedom to their learning process. Every learner is unique which has own learning process. Moreover, teacher could explore varied strategies which give opportunities for students to explore and reflect on their ideas based within their lived experiences . As a result, the learning process are getting meaningful and powerful. Then, the education process is getting recognized as powerful process for shaping the generation.

2. Schubert Reading

Since I explore the ideas of metaphor and curriculum images in curriculum class, I realize that most of my experiences as a learner and a teacher are shaped by standardized system which create the border of my “freedom”. I never realized that I am governed under the powerful factors which lock my voices and my ability. Since I was a student in elementary school to tertiary education, most of my teachers used to teach me under the curriculum as subject matter, curriculum as objectives, and curriculum as planned activities (Schubert, 1986). The picture that I captured throughout my learning process is the teacher wrote down the material in the whiteboard, explained the material within the whole time of learning process, then the class is finished by the overloaded of homeworks. Therefore, when I was student in elementary school, my parents used to ask “where is your homework?” which make me hate to go to school. Therefore, I realize that I am really shaped by these types of curriculum images, which is “curriculum is quite often defined as a product- a document which includes details about goals, objectives, content, teaching techniques, evaluation and assessment, and resources [which are issued by government]” (Marsh, 2000, p.66). I believe that my experiences as a learner are shaped my teaching practices. I tend to finish the list of topics in the curriculum rather than focus on my students’ understanding or create meaningful learning experiences. The results were they were bored and slept in the classroom. Unfortunately, I did not realize and I just thought that because chemistry is difficult subject, so, students were bored and slept which are common happened in the classroom. These curriculum metaphors fully covered my first year as a teacher, until I was shock that 70% of my students didn’t pass the exam. I apprehend that even though I finished the curriculum content, it doesn’t mean my students could cover all the topic and had the best “achievement”. It seems that education process just simply finish the curriculum content within the period of time.

Then, I move on to creating meaningful learning experiences, even the three metaphors of Curriculum as Subject Matter, Cultural Reproduction and Discrete Tasks and Concepts are still shaped my teaching practices. I try to create the meaningful learning experiences for my students, since I realized most of my students were drug users which are examined by the school, I tried to relate their lived experiences with drugs through chemistry teaching. Even though, “drugs” is not a topic in chemistry, but teacher could relate this topic as a part of chemistry compound. Related students’ learning with their experiences needs more efforts, I tried to learn and find the resource classification of drugs, the effects, and chemistry compounds within the drugs. Even though, it is time consuming and tired, but when I taught that in the classroom, then my students are engaged with the learning process, the efforts are worthy. Since, I came to SMEC, I just know that part of curriculum image which is curriculum as experience. However, I never had experiences to run my teaching under the other curriculum images which Schubert mentions, “curriculum as currere, curriculum as agenda social reconstruction”, I believe that it will be need teacher’s empowerment to apply that in the classroom, then it will be challenging process for me as an educator.

Since I only had experiences curriculum as experience, currere and agenda for social reconstruction, I prefer this unit will be mostly shaped by these metaphors. The experiences will encourage me to learn how to apply these metaphors within my classroom. Moreover, my experience to apply curriculum as experience will help me to understand how it’s related with curriculum as currere in term of the process of reconstruction of self and others. According to Pinar (1975) as cited in Pinar (2004), curriculum as currere related to “academic knowledge and life history in the interest of self understanding and social reconstruction” (p.35) which has four steps which are regressive, progressive, analytical, synthesis. According to Doll (2002), currere orientation is on the reflection and transformation of personal experience. Moreover related to experience, currere refers to reconceptualise and exploring existential individual life experiences (Schubert 1986; Ornstein & Hunkins, 2004; Print, 1993; Lovat & Smith, 1993). As a result, this metaphor will engage the student within their own lived experiences.

However, it seems difficult to avoid curriculum as subject matter, content, and discrete taks, but I believe that this unit can integrate these curriculum metaphors within the students’ empowerment. Furthermore, throughout writing the journals within the certain topics help me to understand myself which is clear as part of curriculum as experiences and currere. I hope that I could reconceptualise my experiences into the learning process to not only understand the subject matter, but also reflect on my experience to reconceptualise myself as individual, professional, and social agent.

The other challenging metaphor which I desire to integrate in this unit and my classroom is curriculum as agenda for social reconstruction. I apprehend that it will be difficult for me, especially since I view chemistry simply as a science subject. Since I taught chemistry, I just start move on to creating meaningful learning experiences which is imply on practical interest. But, I never thought to integrate chemistry within the agenda for social reconstruction which involve the critical view under the emancipatory interest. According to Schubert (1986), curriculum should provides “the knowledge and values that guides the students to improve society and cultural institutions, beliefs, and activities that support it” (p.32). I realize that this metaphor the nature of science could be a social activity which provides different ways of knowing science. Science could become “a tool of change in the community and empowers children to engage in the science in compelling ways” (Zembylas, 2005, p.716). Therefore, I start to challenge myself to create science to empower the learner to be pioneer of social reconstruction in their community.

Moreover, the other metaphor which can help me to struggle within my society is curriculum as community. According to Dolll (2002), community is the most important part to hold the other metaphors which are currere, complexity, cosmology, and conversation. Because without community, these metaphors will be isolated from others, we need interact with others as a part of curriculum process. Furthermore, related to experience and currere, curriculum as community encourage individual to reconstruct and transform their experience via the public interaction with “care and critique” (Doll, 2002, p.50). Moreover, because this metaphor emphasis care, critique, and enthusiasm, it needs the high degree of trust of ourselves and others. Therefore, I prefer to integrate this metaphor within my learning process in this unit.

3. Willison & Taylor Reading

William and Taylor provide the idea of integral perspective on science teaching which consider the complementary of objectivist and constructivist. The authors present the competition between the objectivism and constructivism in teaching. They point out some of education experts which support the implementation of constructivism in the classroom. The constructivism is recognized as the best view of learning which can give the meaningful learning experience for the students. However, rather than separating the idea of objectivism and constructivism, William and Taylor argue the idea of complementary which recognize the pluralism among students. The complementary through the dialectical thinking is divided into the classical and constructivist postmodernism view. According to (Wong, 2006, p.240), “The formulation of dialectic as a mature philosophical system and the development of dialectical thinking within individuals could itself be understood as a dialectical process”. Therefore, applying the concept of dialectical thinking needs to be understood as the “mature” thinking process. William and Taylor point out that the classical form of dialectal is the ultimate truth was followed by debating between two different views (thesis and antithesis) until the new view is emerged. Moreover, the constructivist postmodernism view brings the idea of recognition of the strength of each part. As a result, this view distinguishes the relationship between two different views. Within this view, the students could make sense of the natural world through the learning experiences in the science classroom. Furthermore, the authors recognize the problem of literalism within their idea of integral perspective. They present the idea of metaphor rather than the literal expression which guide the structure of mind. Metaphor is also central of science and communication of scientific ideas. They give the examples on the science etymology such as the meaning of “cut” which can be interpreted as the process of knowing. The metaphor will be the bridge to facilitate different perspectives.

Moreover, the author discusses the metaphor of constructivism and objectivism. On the metaphor of constructivism, the authors point out the concepts of “ making sense, constructing knowledge, and building ideas” which is shaped by the personal and social constructivism. In science education, the personal constructivism provides the idea of the “construes the learner as constructing mind-dependent understandings of natural phenomena”. For example, the ideas of conceptual framework and misconception. Moreover, the social constructivism recognizes the social interaction within the construction of knowledge. In science education, this view promotes the ideas of dialogical activity and collaborative learning. The other stronger metaphor of constructivism is radical constructivism which recognize the individual experiences to making sense of their physical world. The authors point out that the problem of “solipsism” within the radical constructivism can be avoided by negotiate “meaningfully and sincerely”. On the other hand, the metaphor of objectivism provides the metaphors of “knowing as seeing, knowledge as entity, and knowledge as transferable”. The authors point out the idea of “pipeline” as the facilitator to communicate the knowledge which leads to replication of knowledge into students’ minds. Within this metaphor curriculum as planned activities and subject matter is applied. Moreover, according to Mueller &Bentley (2006), most science teacher view on the students in the classroom not as “decorated landscape” (pluralism) which influence them to relay on textbook and examination scores, then ignore students’ individual lives and differences. It will be dangerous that if the teachers only use this metaphor, because the students’ imagination will be trapped (Leahy & Sweller, 2004). Moreover, under this metaphor, idea is an object which can be played with. In science education, this view promotes the monolog activity under the “traditional” teaching.

Furthermore, the authors gave the example of scientific literacy as complementary metaphor. An example of research study found that three metaphors which influence students to access into scientific literacy which are “students as recruit”, student as judge, and “students as scientists”. The metaphor of “students as recruit” shapes teaching as transfer content and skill which is guided by objectivism metaphor. Student as judge gives students opportunity to evaluate their knowledge. Furthermore, the metaphor of students as scientist gives opportunity for students to develop their knowledge. As a result, students as judge and scientist could help students to develop the science knowledge within the meaningful learning experiences

The authors argue that promoting the integral perspective could give opportunity for “cultural pluralism” and metaphor “learning as concept of proliferation”, which help students to face the dialectical tension in their real life. The author conclude that the metaphor in this article facilitate the integral perspective. Therefore, dialectical thinking could help the science educators to find out the valuable understanding of each view and creating the meaningful learning experience for their students.

I relate most of my teaching experience within the classroom roles is fisherman and fish. As a fisherman within the teacher’s role, I prepare the fish worm and go to fishing. My students as fish just “ eat” the fish worm without have opportunity to think about it. Within the classroom, I will “feed” my students with the knowledge the same as the curriculum content and ignore my students’ engagement which I recognize as the successful of the learning process. As a result, this metaphor will guide me to ignore my students as human which can be called “abuse”.

Under the border of curriculum which express “the desires of a hegemonic power structure, forcing teachers and learners to conform to rigidly controlled conditions” (Baptis, 2002, p.27). This condition is most common shaping teacher and students’ role in the classroom. However, even though, “curriculum is often portrayed as a formal and technical process…[it could] involves intense give and take, sharing of ideas, questions about philosophy, and so on by professional teacher” (Beane & Lipka, 1986, p.199). Therefore, even though it is dilemma, but I believe those teachers still have opportunity to shape their teaching in the classroom as meaningful learning for the students. Furthermore, it is a challenge for teachers to shift their paradigms from standardized tests to facilitating student inquiry (Magestro & Stanford-Blair 2000 as cited in Henderson & Kesson, 2004). Even though, it is difficult for shifting someone paradigms, but I believe that everyone could.

Moreover, my learning experiences encourage me to imply the empathic intelligence zone in my classroom which needs a curriculum “based on the best contemporary theories of intellectual, emotional, aesthetic and social development” (Arnold, 2005, p.148). It favours a curriculum which cooperates with interpersonal relationships, development of self awareness, self development, engagement, and personal experiences. Emphatic intelligence will mobilize my teaching into the transformative learning which personalized experiences are central to deep learning. The deep learning will help my students understand that the learning is not only memorizing but also transforming their capability as individual. Based those idea, I think the metaphor “orchestra” will be powerful to imply the emphatic intelligence in the classroom roles. Students as holistic individual with the differences play difference “music” in the classroom which could bring the beauty of integration. Teacher as a facilitator who guide the “orchestra” to create to harmony without ignore the role of each student. As a result, the classroom becomes the process of engagement for each individual.

My Reflections

In this journal 1b, it is difficult for me to separate these two questions because my understanding in these two concepts also implies my struggling to face the dilemma of applying it into my professional practice. Even though, the metaphor and dialectical thinking are introduced within my curricula unit, but I do not feel comfortable about it. It is not because of the meaning of metaphorical thinking and dialectical thinking itself, but how can I applied those concepts within my professional practices. Since I learn about these term which give me the sight of thinking differently within my professional practices. I became aware with “hidden” problems which I never thought that will be problems. This awareness also became problem because I have to face it within my professional practices. Under the metaphor of “ objectivism” which is most shaped my education system, it will be difficult and dilemmatic journey for me as an educator as well as a teacher educator to deal with this reality. Therefore, I am still questioning myself, “could I apply the dialectical thinking within my professional practice when I am back to Indonesia?” I leave this question unanswered in my depth heart. However, I still believe that the concept of dialectical thinking that I learnt throughout this unit could help me much to overcome this dilemma.

Furthermore, when I think about the metaphorical thinking dialectical thinking, I didn’t realize that I already applied these in my daily life. My learning experience in science shaped my thinking process under the metaphor of “measurement” and “observable”. Therefore, I face dilemma when doing autoethnography research, my questions always direct into “how it can be observed?” It is also shaped my daily life, everything should be measured. The other example, I started to apply the metaphor of “dance” within a ‘culture” which is given by Lakoff and Johnson, this metaphor helps me to understand, every individual is different, I could not force them to agree with my thinking and action. Moreover, within the dialectical thinking, I give examples of the shock culture when I came to Australia which has different food, rule of life, and academic life. Starting not to depend on “rice” to eat, trying to understand “respect” in my country doesn’t mean “respect” in Australia, such call “sir” or “mom” to older people, or encouraging myself not be silent, but starting to be critical. If I didn’t apply the dialectical thinking, it will be difficult for me to cope with living in Australia. The other example of educating my child later, even though I realize that sometimes the entertainment in television is not good for my child, but it doesn’t mean I have restrict her to watch the television, I need to put my dialectical thinking on it. Therefore, different sides of my daily life, stimulate to apply dialectical thinking.

I hope that the dialectical thinking also will be the bridge for me to understanding different views within my professional practices. The competition between different views of metaphor by Wilson and TayIor encourages me to think about how it influences my pedagogical practices. I can imagine if I only put my self on “objectivism” metaphor which will be trapped my creative and critical thinking. However, I also could not put myself only on “constructivism” metaphor which could blow me from the reality in my country which focus on subject matter and measurement. I start to think when I am back to Indonesia, I will try to put myself in the “transition” position, try to understand that my colleagues have different views, my students have their own ideas, and my system also create the own border. I realize to survive in my classroom, my university, and my country, and I have to learn to apply this dialectical thinking to engage with the realities. Moreover, I hope that I could imply the metaphor “teaching as lived, as experienced prior to the conceptualizations layed over raw experience as parking lots over organic soil” (Pinar & Reynolds, 1992, p.7). Creating lived and meaningful experiences for my students not only create the valuable journey for students, but also empower them.

On the end of this reflection, I am struggling to write down this journal, I can feel how the questions within the journal 1 encourage me to think deeply which caused me to finish these journals within the long time. Even, sometime, I just sit down in front of the computer, just read the questions many times, without write anything. I am little bit worried for my next journey in this unit, can I face these challenges? I closed this journal with incomplete answers on myself, and can I apply all these things? I hate to be the one who only talks without action. Hope, I could write down my reflection after I am back to Indonesia and compared to my writing journals in this unit.