Evolution of the personal teaching models of prospective secondary school science teachers as expressed through metaphors

  • Lucía Mellado
  • Juan L. de la Montaña
  • María Rosa Luengo
  • María Luisa Bermejo
Original Paper


This study analyses the evolution of the personal metaphors of 31 science graduates enrolled in a Master’s degree course in Secondary Education Teaching during the 2012–13 academic year. The instrument used was an open questionnaire that included asking the participants to make drawings representing the roles of the teacher. Four categories of metaphor were considered: behaviourist/transmissive, cognitivist/constructivist, situative/socio-historical, and self-referential. It was found that most of the prospective teachers were indeed able to conceptualize their roles in the form of metaphors. Comparison of the results before and after the teaching practicum revealed no changes in most of the participants’ metaphors and associated models. Instead, these appeared to be firmly set already at the beginning of the Master’s course, and remained uninfluenced by either the course or the practicum. Only a minority of the participants showed changes in their metaphors—5 with progressive changes, and 5 with regressive changes.


Personal metaphors Science Pre-service teacher Secondary Evolution of teaching models 



This work was financed by Research Projects EDU2016-77007-R of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Spain), the Junta of Extremadura, and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).


  1. Akar, H., & Yildirim, A. (2009). Change in teacher candidates’ metaphorical images about classroom management in a social constructivist learning environment. Teaching in Higher Education, 14, 401–415. Scholar
  2. Akcay, S. (2016). An analysis of teachers’ perceptions through metaphors: Prospective Turkish teachers of science, math and social science in secondary education. Educational Research and Reviews, 11(24), 2167–2176. Scholar
  3. Alarcón, P., Díaz, C., Tagle, T., Ramos, L., & Quintana, M. (2014). Metáforas para profesor & estudiante de pedagogía, en un grupo de estudiantes de pedagogía chilenos. Revista Actualidades Investigativas en Educación, 14(2), 1–31.Google Scholar
  4. Alger, C. L. (2009). Secondary teachers’ conceptual metaphors of teaching and learning: Changes over the career span. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25, 743–751. Scholar
  5. Amin, T. G. (2015). Conceptual metaphor and the study of conceptual change: Research synthesis and future directions. International Journal of Science Education, 37, 966–991. Scholar
  6. Bellocchi, A., Ritchie, S. M., Tobin, K., Sandhu, M., & Sandhu, S. (2013). Exploring emotional climate in preservice science teacher education. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 8, 529–552. Scholar
  7. Ben-Peretz, M., Mendelson, N., & Kron, F. W. (2003). How teachers in different educational contexts view their roles. Teaching and Teacher Education, 19, 277–290. Scholar
  8. Boujaoude, S. (2000). Conceptions of science teaching revealed by metaphors and answers to open-ended questions. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 11, 173–186. Scholar
  9. Bradford, C. S., & Dana, T. M. (1996). Exploring science teacher metaphorical thinking: A case study of a high school science teacher. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 7, 197–211. Scholar
  10. Briscoe, C. (1991). The dynamic interactions among beliefs, role metaphors, and teaching practices: A case study of teacher change. Science Education, 75, 185–199. Scholar
  11. Buaraphan, K. (2011). Metaphorical roots of beliefs about teaching and learning science and their modifications in the standard based science teacher preparation programme. International Journal of Science Education, 33(11), 1571–1595. Scholar
  12. Bullough, R. V., Jr. (1992). Beginning teacher curriculum decision making, personal teaching metaphors, and teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 8, 239–252. Scholar
  13. Chinn, P. W. (2015). Place and culture-based professional development: Cross-hybrid learning and the construction of ecological mindfulness. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 10(1), 121–134. Scholar
  14. Connelly, F. M., Clandinin, D. J., & He, M. F. (1997). Teachers’ personal practical knowledge on the professional knowledge landscape. Teaching and Teacher Education, 11, 665–674. Scholar
  15. Day, Ch. (1999). Developing teachers, the challenges of lifelong learning. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  16. De Bustos, E. (2000). La metáfora. Ensayos Transdisciplinares. Madrid: Fondo de Cultura Económica.Google Scholar
  17. De Guerrero, M. C. M., & Villamil, O. S. (2002). Metaphorical conceptualizations of ESL teaching and learning. Language Teaching Research, 6(2), 95–120. Scholar
  18. Gosselin, C., & Meixner, E. (2015). Blank canvas and glass ceiling: Using visual metaphors and narratives to examine preservice teacher development. Multicultural Perspectives, 17(2), 73–80. Scholar
  19. Gurney, B. F. (1995). Tugboats and tennis games: Preservice conceptions of teaching and learning revealed through metaphors. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 32, 569–583. Scholar
  20. Hamilton, E. R. (2016). Picture this: Multimodal representations of prospective teachers' metaphors about teachers and teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 55, 33–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hutchison, C. B., & Bailey, L. M. (2006). Cross-cultural perceptions of assessment of selected international science teachers in American high schools. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 1, 657–680. Scholar
  22. Kabadayi, A. (2008). Analysing the metaphorical images of Turkish preschool teachers. Teaching Education, 19, 73–87. Scholar
  23. Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Leavy, A. M., McSorley, F. A., & Boté, L. A. (2007). An examination of what metaphor construction reveals about the evolution of preservice teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23, 1217–1233. Scholar
  25. López-Luengo, M. A., Torrigo-Egido, L. M., & Vallés-Rapp, C. (2015). Qué metáforas personales definen al profesorado de Educación Infantil en formación. REICE Revista Iberoamericana sobre Calidad, Eficacia y Cambio en Educación, 13(3), 37–56.Google Scholar
  26. Lundegård, I. (2015). Learning from metaphors. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 10, 695–705. Scholar
  27. Mahlios, M., Massengill-Shaw, D., & Barry, A. (2010). Making sense of teaching through metaphors: A review across three studies. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 16, 49–71. Scholar
  28. Markic, S., & Eilks, I. (2015). Evaluating drawing to explore chemistry teachers pedagogical attitudes. In S. Markic & M. Orgill (Eds.), Affective dimensions in chemistry education (pp. 259–278). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  29. Martínez, M. A., Sauleda, N., & Huber, G. H. (2001). Metaphors as blueprints of thinking about teaching and learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17, 965–977. Scholar
  30. Martínez, Z., & Villardón, L. (2015). La imagen del profesor de educación secundaria en la formación inicial. Profesorado: Revista de curriculum y formación del profesorado, 19(1), 452–467.Google Scholar
  31. Mellado, L., Bermejo, M. L., & Mellado, V. (2012). Personal metaphors of prospective secondary economics and science teachers. Asia Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 40, 395–408.
  32. Mellado, L., de la Montaña, J. L., Luengo, M. R., & Bermejo, M. L. (2016a). Evolución de los modelos docentes personales de futuros profesores de Economía de Secundaria, a través de la metáfora. Didáctica de las Ciencias Experimentales y Sociales, 30, 23–44.Google Scholar
  33. Mellado, L., de la Montaña, J. L., Luengo, R., & Bermejo, M. L. (2017). Cambios en las emociones y en las metáforas sobre el rol docente y del alumnado, del futuro profesorado de Ciencias de Secundaria, tras las prácticas de enseñanza. Revista Eureka sobre enseñanza y divulgación de las ciencias, 14(2), 487–504.
  34. Mellado, L., Luengo, M. R., de la Montaña, J. L., & Bermejo, M. L. (2015). Emotions in personal metaphors of prospective secondary economics, science, and psychopædagogy teachers. In Albert Tavidze (Ed.), Progress in Economics Research (Vol. 30, pp. 27–46). New York: Nova Science Publishers.Google Scholar
  35. Mellado, L., Luengo, M. R., de la Montaña, J. L., & Bermejo, M. L. (2016b). Las metáforas emocionales de profesores en formación de Infantil, Primaria y Psicopedagogía. Enseñanza & Teaching, 34, 179–195. Scholar
  36. Mellado, V., Ruiz, C., Bermejo, M. L., & Jiménez, R. (2006). Contributions from the philosophy of science to education of science teachers. Science & Education, 15, 419–445. Scholar
  37. National Research Council. (1996). The national science education standards. Washington: National Academic Press.Google Scholar
  38. Paavola, S., & Hakkarainen, K. (2005). The knowledge creation metaphor—An emergent epistemological approach to learning. Science & Education, 14, 535–557. Scholar
  39. Patchen, T., & Crawford, T. (2011). From gardeners to tour guides: The epistemological struggle revealed in teacher-generated metaphors of teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 62, 286–298. Scholar
  40. Pinnegar, S., Mangelson, J., Reed, M., & Groves, S. (2011). Exploring preservice teachers’ metaphor plotlines. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 639–647. Scholar
  41. Porlán, R., & Rivero, R. (1998). El conocimiento de los profesores. Sevilla: Diada.Google Scholar
  42. Roth, W. M. (1993). Metaphors and conversational analysis as tools in reflection on teaching practice: Two perspectives on teacher-student interactions in open inquiry science. Science Education, 77, 351–373. Scholar
  43. Russell, T., & Hrycenko, M. (2006). The role of metaphor in a new science teacher’s learning from experience. In P. J. Aubusson, A. G. Harrison, & S. T. Ritchie (Eds.), Metaphor and analogy in science education (pp. 131–142). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Saban, A. (2006). Functions of metaphors in teaching and teacher education: A review essay. Teaching Education, 17(4), 299–315. Scholar
  45. Saban, A. (2010). Prospective teachers’ metaphorical conceptualizations of learner. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26, 290–305. Scholar
  46. Santos, F. M. T., & Mortimer, E. F. (2003). How emotions shape the relationship between a chemistry teacher and her high school students. International Journal of Science Education, 25, 1095–1110. Scholar
  47. Seferoglu, G., Korkmazgil, S., & Ölçü, Z. (2009). Gaining insights into teachers’ ways of thinking via metaphors. Educational Studies, 35, 323–335. Scholar
  48. Seung, E., Park, S., & Narayan, R. (2011). Exploring elementary pre-service teachers’ beliefs about science teaching and learning as revealed in their metaphor writing. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 20, 703–714. Scholar
  49. Shaw, D. M., Barry, A., & Mahlios, M. (2008). Preservice teachers’ metaphors of teaching in relation to literacy beliefs. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 14, 35–50. Scholar
  50. Shaw, D. M., & Mahlios, M. (2011). Literacy metaphors of pre-service teachers: Do they change after instruction? Which metaphors are stable? How do they connect to theories? Journal of Education for Teaching, 37, 77–92. Scholar
  51. Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57, 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sillman, K., & Dana, T. M. (2001). Metaphor: A tool for promoting prospective elementary teachers’ participation in science teacher learning community. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 12, 87–106. Scholar
  53. Simmons, P. E., Emory, A., Carter, T., Coker, T., Finnegan, B., Crockett, D., et al. (1999). Beginning teachers: Beliefs and classroom actions. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36, 930–954. Scholar
  54. Solís, E., Martín del Pozo, R., Rivero, A., & Porlán, R. (2013). Expectativas y concepciones de los estudiantes del MAES en la especialidad de Ciencias. Revista Eureka sobre Enseñanza y Divulgación de las Ciencias, 10, 496–513.
  55. Solbes, J., & Gavidia, V. (2013). Análisis de las Especialidades de Física y Química y de Biología y Geología del máster de profesorado de educación secundaria de la Universidad de Valencia. Revista EUREKA de Enseñanza y Divulgación de las Ciencias, 10, 582–593. Scholar
  56. Thomas, L. C., & Beauchamp, C. (2011). Understanding new teachers’ professional identities through metaphor. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 762–769. Scholar
  57. Tobin, K. (2006). Why do science teachers teach the way they do and how can they improve practice? In P. J. Aubusson, A. G. Harrison, & S. T. Ritchie (Eds.), Metaphor and Analogy in Science Education (pp. 155–164). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Tobin, K., & Fraser, B. J. (1989). Barriers to higher-level cognitive learning high school science. Science Education, 73, 659–682. Scholar
  59. Tobin, K., & Tippins, D. J. (1996). Metaphors as seeds for conceptual change and the improvement of science education. Science Education, 80, 711–730. Scholar
  60. Tobin, K., Tippins, D. J., & Gallard, A. J. (1994). Research on instructional strategies for teaching science. In D. Gabel (Ed.), Handbook of research on science teaching and learning (pp. 45–93). New York: MacMillan.Google Scholar
  61. Treagust, D. F., & Duit, R. (2015). On the significance of conceptual metaphors in teaching and learning science: Commentary on Lancor; Niebert and Gropengiesser; and Fuchs. International Journal of Science Education, 37, 958–965. Scholar
  62. Valero, M., & Navarro, J. J. (2008). Diez metáforas para entender (y explicar) el nuevo modelo docente para el EEES. Revista d’ Innovaciò Educativa, 1, 47–58.Google Scholar
  63. Valero, M., & Navarro, J. J. (2010). Una colección de metáforas para explicar (y entender) el EEES. Actas de las XVI Jornadas de Enseñanza Universitaria de la Informática (JENUI 2010) (pp. 293–300).Google Scholar
  64. Vázquez, B., Mellado, V., Jiménez, R., & Taboada, C. (2012). The process of change in science teachers’ professional development: A case study based on the types of problems in the classroom. Science Education, 96, 337–363. Scholar
  65. Zembylas, M. (2004). Emotion metaphors and emotional labor in science teaching. Science Education, 88, 301–324. Scholar
  66. Zhao, H., Coombs, S., & Zhou, X. (2010). Developing professional knowledge about teachers through metaphor research: Facilitating a process of change. Teacher Development, 14, 381–395. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucía Mellado
    • 1
  • Juan L. de la Montaña
    • 2
  • María Rosa Luengo
    • 2
  • María Luisa Bermejo
    • 3
  1. 1.Business and Accounting Department, Faculty of Economics and ManagementSpanish National University for Distance Education (UNED)MadridSpain
  2. 2.Social Sciences and Languages Education Department, Faculty of EducationUniversity of ExtremaduraBadajozSpain
  3. 3.Psychology and Anthropology Department, Faculty of EducationUniversity of ExtremaduraBadajozSpain

Personalised recommendations