Using metaphors to think about the features of meaningful experiences

The LAMPE team has been away from the blog for a while but that does not mean we have stopped our work in unpacking and articulating pedagogies that promote meaningful experiences for learners. We have expanded our work to involve other teacher educators who work in universities in Canada and Ireland, as well as exploring what pedagogies that promote meaningful experiences might look like for teachers using them in schools. In discussing LAMPE pedagogies with others, the features that we have explained at length seem to resonate strongly with others: social interaction, challenge, fun, motor competence, delight, and personally relevant learning. However, they resonate in different ways.

One of the things we have tried to argue for in some of our work so far is to avoid using the features as a checklist as we feel this can limit the potential of promoting meaningful experiences. Instead, we suggest that the features are integrated, with each working off the other. A metaphor can be a useful tool to explain how at least some of us think about the integrated nature of meaningful experiences.

Tim likes the metaphor of a watch or clock mechanism, where each of the features is represented by the different wheels that work together inside the casing.

The watch mechanism metaphor allows different features to be emphasized in different ways: the larger wheels represent features that take on greater significance for the teacher or teacher educator. For example, Tim tends to prioritize relationships in his philosophy of teaching, and so the feature of social interaction represents the largest wheel in the mechanism. When positive social interaction occurs, it can drive learners to challenge themselves more because they may feel they have the support and help of their friends or peers, and feel safe to make mistakes in the classroom. Increasing the level of challenge can produce more competent movement, which in turn may lead the learner to have more fun, and see greater relevance in physical education. Importantly, no matter the size of the wheel, they all play a part in making experiences meaningful.

This is one example and we are interested to hear if others have similar or different metaphors that may help explain they way they think about the features of meaningful experiences.

6 thoughts on “Using metaphors to think about the features of meaningful experiences

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  2. “Connect The Dots”- imagine you are trying to teach the bio-mechanical principle of “follow-through”. I use this technique often to my high school students. When I teach motor skills, I use “garage sale price tag dots”. They are round and appear as dots! They are mostly used to put a price on on item to be sold at a garage sale. So, if for example, I am teaching followthrough in the forehand tennis stroke I have my students put a dot on their racket holding wrist (underneath) and a dot around their pocket area of their opposite hip. As they swing their dots should come in the near vicinity to each other. As one followthroughs their dots will almost connect- the wrist dot of the racket wrist comes in near proximity to their opposite hip. In other words, for a right hander, their racket dot will come near their left hip dot; so kids are “connecting the dots”. My students now think of followthrough as “connecting the dots”.

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