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Research in Science Education

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 475–502 | Cite as

The Nature of Analogical Explanations: High School Physics Teachers Use in Kenya

  • Samson Madera Nashon
Article

Abstract

This paper is about a study into the nature of analogies recorded from three Form 2 (Grade 10) classes in Kenya, instructed by three physics teachers. Through a case study method involving classroom observation, several analogies were recorded and analysed. These analogies were predominantly environmental (drawn from students’ socio-cultural environment) and anthropomorphic (life and human characteristics ascribed to analogues involving familiar concepts). A small number were scientific (those in which analogues are drawn from the science knowledge domain) – ones the author, for pedagogical reasons, wishes to see exploited. In addition, targets (concepts to be explained) were not freed from analogues (concepts used to explain), which is problematic. Also recorded were instances of students making statements that contained counter-physics messages. These included statements conveying literal understanding of technical terminology, sense experience understanding, which proved very robust, and obvious transfer of error from a particular knowledge domain to another. Caution is therefore advised to ensure that before developing and deploying analogies, students’ understanding of the analogues must be sought. This most likely will reveal problems in their understanding and should be rectified before applying its meaning to the target.

analogy anthropomorphic analogue bridging analogies environmental analogue target 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samson Madera Nashon
    • 1
  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaU.S.A

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