Using metaphors to know the conceptions about the teaching profession in initial teacher education

Zoe Martí­nez-de-la-Hidalga, Lourdes Villardón-Gallego


Conceptions about teaching are important because they affect professional performance. Metaphors are a tool to identify them. In this qualitative study metaphors are used to gain insight into conceptions held by pre-service teachers, and their development during Initial Teacher Training in the Bachelor’s Degree in Primary Education.

A total of 247 students participated in this cross-sectional study; 145 were first-year students, and 102 were fourth-year students. Participants were requested to submit a metaphor following the open-ended formula: “the teacher is like…. because…” In order to categorize their answers, we used an inductive method. Afterwards, we calculated frequencies and percentages.

Metaphors are grouped according to the following categories: a) Main Character; b) Support; c) Family; d) Teaching; e) Importance. The most frequent category is Support, followed by Teaching and Family. First-year pre-service teachers refer to Family, Teaching and the Main Character role of teachers more often than students in their fourth year, whereas the latter allude more often than the former to the teachers’ role as providers of Support and as Social Agents.

There is evidence of a development from a transmissive educational perspective to a constructivist and transformative perspective of education, but there is no indication of any evolution towards a socioconstructivist outlook.


professional identity, initial teacher education, metaphor, primary education, qualitative research

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International Journal of Educational Psychology - IJEP | ISSN: 2014-3591

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