Parrot poo on the windscreen: Metaphor in academic skills learning

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 2007, 1 (1), pp. A18 - A32
Issue Date:
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Metaphor can be a powerful tool in communicating the purposes and processes involved in learning as the use of metaphor enables new and complex ideas to be presented through more familiar forms. A considerable range of literature recognises the role of metaphor in learning and teaching both as an analytical tool and as a medium for conveying meaning. However, little has been written about the use of metaphor in the context of academic skills learning. This research was prompted by the authors’ personal experience in using metaphor and students’ positive feedback. It explores the use of metaphor both among academic skills advisers and in academic skills texts. It was found that it was not uncommon for academic skills practitioners to use metaphor in learning and teaching situations and the research revealed a rich assortment of metaphors. Similarly texts in this field use metaphors, albeit more tentatively and sparingly. Empirical research into student understanding and perceived benefits of the use of metaphors would further contribute to this initial discussion.
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