Reasoning through spontaneously generated analogies

Fotou, Nikolaos and Abrahams, Ian (2019) Reasoning through spontaneously generated analogies. In: 2019 ESERA conference, August 26-30, Bologna, Italy.

Reasoning through spontaneously generated analogies
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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


The benefits of using analogies as a conceptual technique to help students familiarise themselves with concepts, phenomena and situations they find abstract and difficult to understand are well documented in science education literature. In most of these studies, students were provided with an analogy, were taught how to use it, and through its use they achieved a meaningful conceptual understanding of the concept, phenomenon or situation they were unfamiliar with in the first place. This paper does not consider the efficacy of such a use of analogies, but rather considers students’ spontaneously, self-generated, analogies, as opposed to analogies provided by their teachers or cases in which students were explicitly asked to generate an analogy and reason on its basis. It discusses how the knowledge-in-pieces framework, in which knowledge is viewed as a complex system composed of fundamental knowledge elements that are activated in response to a particular situation, can be used for viewing the relationship and interaction of students’ knowledge with their spontaneous analogical reasoning. Data are drawn from a series of small focus group discussions in which students within a number of five age groups (9-10, 11-12, 12-13, 14-15, 16-17) were asked to explain predictions they made when presented with situations they had not considered before. Here, the role of students’ spontaneous analogical reasoning in these explanations is examined along with the knowledge they drew upon in order to make their predictions. The findings point to the need for further research on students’ spontaneous analogical reasoning and how their existing knowledge affects this reasoning which, in turn, impacts on their understanding of unfamiliar situations and phenomena.

Keywords:Reasoning, Knowledge construction, Metaphors
Subjects:X Education > X300 Academic studies in Education
X Education > X330 Academic studies in Secondary Education
X Education > X370 Academic studies in Education (across phases)
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
ID Code:38188
Deposited On:06 Nov 2019 10:11

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