Sunday, May 1, 2011

Special Metaphor Assignment (Blog Post 14)

Tom Johnson Blog Header

I did not comment on Tom Johnson's post, because I like a few others misinterpreted the instructions. However, I did read the post and I definitely understood that it was a metaphor.

I think it would be hard to miss it. Maybe if some people did not understand the exact metaphor that it was about computers, I would assume that they at least noted that it was an article pro-technology and advancement in the classroom, thinking that the article was just picking fun at pencil usage and the people whom are anti-technology enhanced classrooms.

The first hint that it was a metaphor was "Tom, Tom, you cannot have students bring home pencils and paper." Well, you obviously can have students bring home pencils and paper, so that was shouting something was up from the get go.

A second example was " 'Is this about damage of property? I've had parents sign legal waivers.' 'It's not that, either. I have a journal article about how students who use pencils at home have lower standardized test scores.' " Firstly, no one would be worried about property damage of a pencil. Secondly children who use pencils at home certainly do not have lower test scores. Children who have t.v.'s or computers in their rooms do. Which one would children be using at school t.v.'s or computers? Computers.

Another hint was "Because the poor are often marginalized, clever marketers tailor pencil use in poor areas toward entertainment. So, they come into my class thinking, 'Cool, this is a toy.' But we can change the paradigm." Firstly, who is marketing pencils these days? Unless it's a new kind of pencil which is greener or writes for itself or something, no one. Secondly, who thinks "Cool, this is a toy" about a pencil? No one, but people DO think that about computers all the time.

The final hint was  "But if they choose to play Hang Man or go on the pen pal networks, I'm okay with it. There's probably some learning that's taking place that we don't realize." Hang man is obviously a metaphor for all of the games which are on computers and pen pal networks are obviously talking about social networking through technology like skype, twitter, facebook, etc.

I encounter tons of metaphors on a daily basis. It is a common part of American communication. A short list of some of the metaphors I encounteres were....
"The grass is greener on the other side"
"He's not the brightest crayon in the box"
"I'd kill for an Ahi Crunch roll from Stix right now!"
"Your definitely getting coal this year. Its only April and your already on the naughty list."
"She's about as stong as a 3 year old girl."
"I'm going to die if I don't get some sleep soon."
"Oh well. No use is crying over spilled milk."

As educators we can help our students understand metaphors by teching them to use context clues. If they are reading something that doesn't make sense, or one word doesn't fit, they should consider that they may be reading a metaphor. Think about the other words and parts of the story and see if something else would fit and make it make more sense. Metaphors are comparing two things which usually do not go together. So students should consider trying a word that is the opposite of what is written.

We use metaphors to make our writing and speaking more colorful and entertaining. Using metagphors is a great way to use our imaginations. Sometimes metaphors make something more relateable. If we know someone doesn't understand what we are trying to say, we can compare it to something they are familiar with or something that is an extreme version of what were feeling.

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