Publication details [#11175]

Wallace, Susan. 2001. Guardian angels and teachers from hell: Using metaphor as a measure of schools' experiences and expectations of General National Vocational Qualifications. 13 pp.


In this paper the author examines some claims about the nature of metaphor, its possible significance in illuminating cultural, institutional, and personal constructs, and some ways in which this has been applied in educational research. To illustrate the application of metaphor analysis, the paper describes an examination of the figurative language used by teachers and headteachers in six English secondary schools when speaking about their new vocational curriculum and its students. Transcripts of interviews were scrutinized for metaphorical and other figurative modes of expression, and instances were identified of recurring patterns and themes. This paper argues that the metaphorical language employed within each of the schools reflects a lower level of esteem for the vocational qualification and the pupils taking it than that which is overtly expressed, and suggests that the negative metaphors employed by the headteacher may be instrumental in determining the status of such qualifications within the school. (Susan Wallace)