Teaching by analogies

Osterwalder, Nicolò and Corridoni, Tommaso and Kocher, Urs and Lubini, Paolo (2013) Teaching by analogies. In: Proceedings of the International Conference New perspectives in Science Education International conference New perspectives in Science Education, March, 14-15, 2103, Firenze. (Submitted)

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The greatest obstacle for a science teacher is to make topics meaningful to students, enhancing their motivation at the same time. Problems usually arise from teacher’s and children’s different approach to science (in respect of both concepts and competences): teachers often think science as made of abstract and formal models, using a didactic approach based on the transmission of static facts and laws. Students try, on the other hand, to interpret their complex everyday life with approximate, often false, but dynamic models, called conceptions. Correlating results from different fields, as disciplinary didactics (physics, chemistry, biology…), pedagogy and cognitive linguistics; it is possible to look for a teacher-student “common language”, made by image schemes. Those image schemes, so often recurring in many elementary science concepts, allow models construction by analogy. Since 2004, in the first level of secondary school (11-14 y/o students) of Canton Ticino (Switzerland), a novel approach to science teaching, finalized to give by analogy accessible explications of common (even if complex) phenomena, has been experimented. In this contribution we discuss this approach and a real school example.

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