Metaphorical Interpretation: Measuring and Facilitating Growth.
Kennerly, Catharine Ann
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Abstract A total of 378 grade 9 students participated in this study to address the problem that although metaphorical literacy and thought are expected and necessary for success in junior and senior high school and beyond, metaphorical concepts and thought are not required to be explicitly taught to these students. The students were from 20 different classes from 4 levels: English language learners (ELL), school to work (SSTW), applied, and academic. All were from 7 secondary schools within a board in southern Ontario. Nine classes made up the control group and 11 classes made up the treatment group. All classes were given 3 pretests and the posttest. The treatment group was given Socratic lessons and direct instruction on metaphorical thought and expressions during 1 semester and in conjunction with their other classroom material. The pretest scores (TOLD, Peabody, preproverbs concrete, and preproverbs abstract) did not reveal any effect of gender, but the academic students had higher scores than the applied students. The SSTW student results are more variable: (a) for the TOLD test, SSTW scores were between those of the academic and applied students; (b) for Peabody scores, SSTW students’ scores are the same as academic and are greater than applied; (c) for preproverbs concrete and preproverbs abstract, the SSTW scores are not different from the applied scores. The postproverbs concrete and postproverbs abstract scores for the treatment groups also showed no effect of gender but revealed that all students who received the treatment did better on their post scores. The positive changes of the treatment group illustrate a measured movement from literal understanding to abstract understanding using direct Socratic instruction and proverbs as a medium.