New Metaphors for Teaching and Learning in a University Context

Document Type

Conference Proceeding




Education and Arts


School of Education, Centre for Schooling and Learning Technologies




This article was originally published as: Northcote, M. T., & Fetherston, T (2006). New metaphors for teaching and learning in a university context. Proceedings of HERDSA Annual Conference. (pp. 251-258). Milperra, NSW. HERDSA. Original article available here


University teachers and university students often explain their beliefs aboutteaching and learning by using metaphors and, in a research sense, these metaphors haveoften been interpreted as indicators of individuals’ educational beliefs. Critical reflection ofthese metaphors, provides insight into beliefs behind the practices of university teachers andstudents. This recent University study has uncovered some different metaphors from thosecommonly reported, which has provided the impetus for this paper. This paper aims toaugment and extend existing research about the use of metaphor with investigative insightsinto individuals’ beliefs and conceptions of teaching and learning. Two groups ofstakeholders, university teachers and students, were interviewed and surveyed about theireducational beliefs. After their responses were open coded, a set of themes and categorieswere established. The findings reported in this paper are based on those themes and focus onthe metaphors used by participants to describe their beliefs about teaching and learning.