Metaphor in the Curriculum

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Critical Studies

Abstract

This project emerges from a need, identified during the AHRC-funded 'Mapping Metaphor with the Historical Thesaurus' project, for educational resources on metaphor in English targeting secondary school learners and teachers. In the final stages of that project, the team worked closely with a group of school teachers and other education professionals to establish the form that materials should take to best address learners' needs.

The main public output of Mapping Metaphor is a 'Metaphor Map', which shows through an interactive visualisation what the vocabulary of English reveals about the metaphorical connections that speakers and writers have made between semantic areas over the entire history of English (from Anglo-Saxon times to the present, a period of thirteen centuries). Recent research in linguistics has firmly established that underlying the metaphors visible in text and speech (e.g. linguistic expressions like 'He gave me the cold shoulder', 'Small dogs have fiery temperaments', 'She was burning with embarrassment') are so-called 'conceptual metaphors', systematic connections between distinct areas of meaning (all three examples above instantiating the metaphor EMOTION IS HEAT).

The Metaphor Map has a dynamic web-based interface that enables users to explore metaphors at different levels of specificity. A top-level view shows metaphor connections between 37 generic-level categories (e.g. The World, Animals, Physical sensation, Mental capacity). A drill-down view shows connections between c.400 readily-understood, basic-level categories (e.g. Atmosphere and weather, Reptiles, Taste, Imagination). Users click to view 'Metaphor cards' which display further details, including example words, date information and direction of transfer. The Map also links directly to specific entries in the Historical Thesaurus of English (HT), allowing users to move seamlessly between the resources. The HT (http://historicalthesaurus.arts.gla.ac.uk/) contains 793,742 word forms and provides the Map's source data: the HT draws on the complete 2nd edn of the Oxford English Dictionary and, for the period c.700-1150 AD, A Thesaurus of Old English (Roberts & Kay 1995). The metaphorical connections displayed in the Map have been identified by the Mapping Metaphor project team through a labour-intensive and entirely bottom-up, evidence-driven methodology. We have identified c.20,000 connections between semantic categories, which underlie many tens of thousands of lexical items with metaphorical senses.

The aim of the follow-on project is to create resources for use by teachers and learners of English Language and Literature at secondary-school level, both in the classroom and in self-study. The initial focus is on the senior phase of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence (S4-S6); some materials will also be suitable for use in the earlier stages (S1-S3). Within the project's scope we will also investigate the potential for use of our materials in the UK more broadly.

With input from teachers and learners in focus groups and testing sessions, we will create a range of freely available materials: (1) worksheets on metaphor in literary and journalistic texts; (2) a set of interactive online activities focusing on specific areas of meaning in which metaphor is especially productive (e.g. how are concepts like LOVE, ANGER, DEATH expressed metaphorically); (3) downloadable lesson notes for teachers; (4) an educationally-targeted version of the Map with new online instructions, incorporating information pages on topics including metaphor in text, metaphor and language change, and metaphor in literature, and an annotated bibliography of web and print materials on metaphor, aimed at secondary schools; (5) an App to enable learners to interact with the Map on tablets and mobile devices. The resources will be promoted in the first instance through talks at educational events and links on relevant websites.

Planned Impact

The beneficiaries of this project will be learners and teachers of English Language and Literature in the UK. In the course of the project we will engage most closely with the English departments in schools in Glasgow and Stirlingshire, and will work with Education Scotland and Glasgow City Council to publicise the materials across Scotland. We will also seek opportunities to publicise the materials more widely across the UK.

The new Scottish Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) was implemented in 2010-11. In 2014 there were 1,716 candidates in English at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Level 7 (Advanced Higher), 31,582 at Level 6 (Higher), 28,798 at National 5 and 19,453 at Intermediate 2. The proposed materials support these learners' attainment in the CfE in several ways: for example, the Higher English assessment comprises three components, in all of which metaphor is highly relevant: (1) close reading of non-fiction texts with a requirement to "analyse features of language [such as word choice, imagery, sentence structure etc.] and discuss their relationship with the ideas of the texts as a whole"; (2) literature (analysis of extracts; critical essay); (3) a portfolio of writing. By providing learners with a means to reach a deeper understanding of the language of all their academic subjects, the proposed materials can also contribute to the explicit aim of the CfE to link learning across subject areas. Through exploring metaphors which arise at particular points in history, or are linked to scientific discoveries and technological advances, learners will acquire new perspectives on school subjects beyond English.

The materials will help secondary school learners to achieve several of the intended outcomes of the CfE. Key aspects of the Experiences and Outcomes for Literacy and English (http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/learningteachingandassessment/curriculumareas/languages/litandenglish/eandos/index.asp) that the project will address include: exploration of the richness and diversity of language; productive creativity in language; enrichment of vocabulary; exploration of word patterns and text structures. The proposed materials will support learners in attaining many of the specific experiences and outcomes related to Reading and Writing. For example, they will enable pupils to exploit "the full range of digital and interpersonal opportunities to learn about texts", and help them to "find, select, sort, summarise, link and use information from different sources", "investigate and/or appreciate fiction and non-fiction texts with increasingly complex ideas, structures and specialist vocabulary for different purposes", and "apply the elements which writers use to create different types of short and extended texts with increasingly complex ideas, structures and vocabulary".

In addition to the large group of learners and teachers who will benefit, those of Beaconhurst School and the schools in the Glasgow area with whom we will work closely will benefit from the opportunity to engage with researchers and learn first-hand about the research carried out in universities, a goal in line with RCUK's initiative to bring cutting-edge science (broadly conceived) into the classroom and help teachers to inspire their students through a better understanding of advances in research (http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/What-We-Do/Strengthen-research-impact/public-engagement/Pages/Opportunities-for-researchers-to-engage-with-schools.aspx). Glasgow City Council will benefit from closer engagement between schools and the higher education sector, which will have particular advantages in providing additional mechanisms by which pupils can directly interact with universities. Learners and teachers in the rest of the UK will also benefit from new research-driven metaphor materials, as the objectives of A-levels in English Literature and English Language align closely with the relevant aspects of the Scottish Higher English.

Publications


10 25 50
 
Description This project was funded by the AHRC Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement scheme. As such, the project's main aim was to exploit the research undertaken in an earlier project, Mapping Metaphor with the Historical Thesaurus, for new audiences. The project created educational resources on metaphor and figurative language for secondary schools. These include downloadable worksheets for pupils and teachers, online quizzes, and an app for iOS and Android containing a new, targeted version of the Metaphor Map of English. See http://mappingmetaphor.arts.gla.ac.uk/metaphoric/.
Exploitation Route The beneficiaries of this project are principally learners and teachers of English Language and Literature in the UK. The project targeted in particular pupils at SCQF Levels 7 (Advanced Higher) and Level 6 (Higher), and is of interest also to National 5 and Intermediate 2. The project materials support these learners' attainment in the CfE in several ways: for example, the Higher English assessment comprises three components, in all of which metaphor is highly relevant: (1) close reading of non-fiction texts with a requirement to "analyse features of language [such as word choice, imagery, sentence structure etc.] and discuss their relationship with the ideas of the texts as a whole"; (2) literature (analysis of extracts; critical essay); (3) a portfolio of writing. By providing learners with a means to reach a deeper understanding of the language of all their academic subjects, the project materials can also contribute to the explicit aim of the CfE to link learning across subject areas. Through exploring metaphors which arise at particular points in history, or are linked to scientific discoveries and technological advances, learners will acquire new perspectives on school subjects beyond English.

The materials can help secondary school learners to achieve several of the intended outcomes of the CfE. Key aspects of the Experiences and Outcomes for Literacy and English
(http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/learningteachingandassessment/curriculumareas/languages/litandenglish/eandos/index.asp) that the project addressed include: exploration of the richness and diversity of language; productive creativity in language; enrichment of vocabulary; exploration of word patterns and text structures. They support learners in attaining many of the specific experiences and outcomes related to Reading and Writing. For example, they enable pupils to exploit "the full range of digital and interpersonal opportunities to learn about texts", and help them to "find, select, sort, summarise, link and use information from different sources", "investigate and/or appreciate fiction and nonfiction texts with increasingly complex ideas, structures and specialist vocabulary for different purposes", and "apply the elements which writers use to create different types of short and extended texts with increasingly complex ideas, structures and vocabulary".

In addition to the large group of learners and teachers who can benefit, those of Beaconhurst School and the schools in the Glasgow area with whom we worked most closely were able to benefit from the opportunity to engage with researchers and learn firsthand about the research carried out in universities, a goal in line with RCUK's initiative to bring cutting-edge science (broadly conceived) into the classroom and help teachers to inspire their students through a better understanding of advances in research.

Glasgow City Council was able to benefit from closer engagement between schools and the higher education sector, bringing about particular advantages in providing additional mechanisms by which pupils can directly interact with universities. Learners and teachers in the rest of the UK can also benefit from new research-driven metaphor materials, as the objectives of A-levels in English Literature and English Language align closely with the relevant aspects of the Scottish Higher English.
Sectors Education
URL http://mappingmetaphor.arts.gla.ac.uk/metaphoric/
 
Description Our findings have been used to create materials for use in schools. This includes an app for iOS and Android, and downloadable worksheets for pupils and teachers. The project tested versions of materials on teachers and pupils in partner schools.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Education
Impact Types Societal
 
Description Beaconhurst School 
Organisation Beaconhurst School
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Formal project partner. Beaconhurst School was the project's principal school contact for the creation of educational materials on metaphor.
Collaborator Contribution The school hosted focus groups and testing sessions during the creation of educational materials.
Impact Metaphor in the Curriculum website - http://mappingmetaphor.arts.gla.ac.uk/metaphoric/
Start Year 2015
 
Description Glasgow City Council 
Organisation Glasgow City Council
Department Education Services
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Formal project partner - David Byrne, Quality Improvement Officer.
Collaborator Contribution Project partner facilitated access to Senior Teachers in Glasgow area, enabling us to access groups to test materials.
Impact Metaphor in the Curriculum website - http://mappingmetaphor.arts.gla.ac.uk/metaphoric/
Start Year 2015
 
Title MetaphorIC 
Description The 'Metaphor in the Curriculum' app provides interactive tools to help to increase users' knowledge of metaphor in the English language. There are two major components to the app: metaphor quizzes and a version of the Metaphor Map of English. The app can be used alongside the Metaphor in the Curriculum website, which contains teaching materials for secondary schools and online access to the features of the app. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact The app is available on iTunes and Google Play. On Google Play it is currently showing as having had 500-1000 installs. 
URL https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gla.metaphoric&hl=en_GB&utm_source=global_co&utm_m...
 
Description 2014 September: School visit (Beaconhurst) - pupil testing session 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact c10 pupils and 2 teachers participated in a testing session using pilot educational materials developed by Mapping Metaphor team. This sparked an in-depth discussion and very helpful feedback on our ideas.

This event, and subsequent correspondence with teachers, has now led to the development of a follow-on funding bid.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description 2014 September: School visit (Beaconhurst) - teacher focus group 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Focus group meeting with around 6 secondary school teachers to explore possibilities for future knowledge exchange.

School teachers implemented a number of ideas in the classroom; a further testing session with pupils was organised; ultimately this event has led to a follow-on funding bid.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description 2015 June and September: focus groups at Notre Dame High School, Glasgow 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Small focus groups with teachers in the English Department at a secondary school, to obtain feedback on the materials we are creating.

Useful feedback obtained on materials.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description 2015 June: focus group at Beaconhurst School, Bridge of Allan 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Small focus group with teachers in the English Department of a secondary school. This allowed us to obtain feedback on the materials we are creating.

Feedback on materials.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description 2015 June: talk to Principal Teachers of English, Springburn 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact We gave an invited talk on the project as part of a workshop for the Principal Teachers of English in the Glasgow City Council area. A lively discussion followed the talk, and most teachers gave us their contact details to enable future correspondence.

Increased awareness of the project and its aims. Increased network of interested teachers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description 2015 November: testing session with pupils 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Materials testing session with Higher and Advanced Higher pupils at Beaconhurst School, Stirlingshire, and their teachers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description 2015 September: Explorathon, European Researchers' Night 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We ran a stand with metaphor activities and demonstrations of our online resource. The event attracted 2300 visitors, of which around 150 stopped to talk in depth to us and learn about our research.

Made some useful contacts with people who want to be involved in the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description 2015 September: Scottish Learning Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact We ran a stand at the two-day Scottish Learning Festival, which attracts teachers (and some pupils) from across Scotland (c.4000 delegates). Over the course of the event, we spoke to delegates, demonstrated the online Metaphor Map, and sought feedback on our draft educational materials.

A couple of dozen delegates gave us their contact details and we are passing on further details/sample materials, and potentially working with some to trial materials in schools.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description 2016 February: pupil visit to University of Glasgow 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Visit by 8 pupils and their teacher from our partner school (Beaconhurst School, Bridge of Allan) to the University of Glasgow. The trip incorporated a campus tour, visit to the English Language subject area, and attendance at a first-year lecture.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description 2016 January: Digging into Data showcase event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Project stand at Digging into Data showcase event, Glasgow School of Art, 27 January 2016. The event attracted c.100 delegates, and we spoke in detail about the Mapping Metaphor project to around 25.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description 2016 January: testing session with pupils 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Materials testing sessions with second year pupils and their teacher, at Beaconhurst School, Stirlingshire.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description 2016 September: Anderson and Hough, Metaphor in English Schools talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Schools talk at Glasgow Gaelic School, as part of Explorathon, European Researchers' Night, 30 September 2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016