Science Meets Metaphor: Teaching and Communicating about Abstract Concepts in Romanian Science Textbooks

  • Elena Negrea-Busuioc National University of Political Studies and Public Administration
  • Oana Ștefăniță National University of Political Studies and Public Administration
  • Gabriela Guiu National University of Political Studies and Public Administration

Abstract

Metaphors and analogies are efficient and attractive tools used in science teaching to explain abstract ideas in simpler, familiar terms. Science textbook authors and teachers rely on metaphors and analogies to explain abstract scientific concepts and convey them to young learners. In this paper, we discuss a corpus of metaphorical expressions found in Romanian physics and chemistry textbooks for secondary education (grades 6-8), and classified based on target domains (i.e., the core scientific concepts presented in the unit lessons of the analyzed textbooks) and source domains (i.e., the more concrete, more familiar concepts used to explain scientific concepts from the analyzed textbooks). Furthermore, we explore the way in which the identified and annotated metaphors may provide the basis for understanding core concepts from physics (e.g., electricity in terms of ‘water flowing’) and chemistry (e.g., electron shells as ‘field track lanes’). This study is part of a larger research project which aims is to examine how metaphors and analogies used in Romanian science textbooks are understood and misunderstood by young learners and what (mis-) understanding complex scientific ideas might mean for pupils’ preparedness to make sense of the world we live in and, ultimately, for their future engagement with and interest in science.

Published
2022-04-01
How to Cite
Negrea-Busuioc, E., Ștefăniță, O., & Guiu, G. (2022). Science Meets Metaphor: Teaching and Communicating about Abstract Concepts in Romanian Science Textbooks. Romanian Journal Of Communication And Public Relations, 24(1), 47-60. doi:10.21018/rjcpr.2022.1.339
Section
Articles