Each age defines education in terms of the meanings it gives to teaching and learning, and those meanings arise in part from the metaphors used to characterise teachers and learners. In the ancient world, one of the defining technologies (Bolter, 1984) was the potter’s wheel. The student’s mind became clay in the hands of the teacher. In the time of Descartes and Leibniz, the defining technology was the mechanical clock. The human being became a sort of clockwork mechanism whose mind either was an immaterial substance separate from the body (Descartes) or was itself a preprogrammed mechanism (Leibniz). The mind has also, at various times, been modelled as a wax tablet, a steam engine and a telephone switchboard.


Mathematics Education Mathematics Teacher Cognitive Science Recursive Function Educational Study 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy Kilpatrick
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GeorgiaUSA

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