14 SES 02, Schooling in Rural/Urban Settings II
The ways in which students experience school enable us to interpret the impact of the school on the development of their personality traits and value orientations. In a broader perspective, the spectrum of meanings that students associate with school may influence their general attitude to life and the values they live by in the society. According to the theory of metaphors by Lakoff and Johnson (2003), metaphors can be regarded as conceptual models that help us to understand and interpret the world. Methaphors expose things as well as hide them, and bind culturally shared meanings. However, methaphors can also narrow the vision, reinforcing certain stereotypes (Lahelma 2009). Metaphors serve as important means in the exploration of social systems (Mesjasz 2004). By examining the metaphors young people use to describe school, we may understand their school experiences on multiple levels, including the level working unconsciously, and make conclusions about the meaning and impact of school.
We consider it a problem that Estonian students express low school satisfaction as shown by the PISA studies (PISA 2009 http://www.hm.ee/index.php?048181). We claim that the reasons for the low school satisfaction are internationally quite similar, and are related to the generally operating model of school which may actually dehumanise learning activities. The neoliberal approach has increased rather than decreased the inhuman features of modernistic school ( Tenorth 2001 jt.)..
Our aim is to study which feelings and meanings are expressed in metaphors students use to describe school, and how the picture emerging relates to the generally accepted official objectives of school. The subquestions of the study are the following: 1), which characteristics of school as perceived by the students the metaphors refer to, 2) which influences of school the metaphors refer to, 3) which shortcomings in teaching activities students refer to in their metaphors regarding the school they wish for.
The long-term aim of the study is to draw attention to the need to reconceptualize the operating principles of school by looking into school reality as perceived by stuents.
Lahelma, E. (2009) Dichotomized Metaphors and Young People`s Educational Routes. European Educational Research Journal. Volume 8 Number 4 Lakoff, G., Johnson, M. (2003) Metaphors we live bu. Chicago University Press Mesjasz, C. (2004). Images of organisation and development of information society: Going into Metaphors. http://www.library.utoronto.ca/see/SEED/Vol1-2/MesjSEED.htm. PISA 2009 Estonia. http://www.hm.ee/index.php?048181 Rajakaltio, H (2011) Moninaisuus yhtenäisyydessä. Peruskoulu muutosten ristipaineissa. (Diversity in coherence – comprehensive school in the crosspressure change) Tampere University Press Tenorth, H-E- (2001) Kann Schule leisten, was sie leisten soll? In Melzer E., Sandfuchs, U. (Hrsg) Was Schule leistet. Funktionen und Aufgaben von Schule. Juventa Verlag. Weinheim, 255-270.
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