L1 - Educational Studies in Languages and Literature
L1 Educational Studies in Language and Literature

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Pieper, I. & Strutz, B. (2018). Learners’ approaches to poetic metaphor: A think aloud study with secondary school students in Grade 6 and 9. Contribution to a special issue in honor of Gert Rijlaarsdam ‘Making Connections: Studies of Language and Literature Education’. L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 18, pp. 1-35. https://doi.org/10.17239/L1ESLL-2018.18.03.05

This article investigates the challenges of understanding poetic metaphor for lower secondary students. It draws on a think aloud study that was carried out with 69 students from Grade 6 (mean age 12) and 9 (mean age 15) in Germany (higher academic track and middle schools) who thought aloud on three different poems. A coding system was developed deductively and inductively and applied to the protocols. Also, a procedure of global assessment was applied on the basis of the codings. For selected cases a sequential analysis was carried out. The results were analysed with regard to levels of understanding and to the strategies students apply when approaching the metaphorical poems. Results show that metaphorical understanding of poetic metaphor is still difficult for students even in Grade 9. Furthermore, results indicate that some poems and their metaphors are processed more easily than others, depending on relations between vehicle- and tenor-domain and the degree of metaphorical tension. With regard to the strategies, the analysis of two contrastive cases of sixth-graders shows that an initial experience of tension seems crucial for achieving metaphorical understanding and that strong students show affective and evaluative responses as well as flexibility in generating meaning. Besides, they monitor their reading process. An aesthetic reading mode can already be traced with some sixth graders. Results indicate that teaching should provide students with opportunities to focus on poetic metaphor, and introduce ways of imagining and analogising on and around metaphor. Also, room should be provided for realising and articulating affective and evaluative response.


Pieper, Irene
Strutz, Bianca
Publication date 2018-12-05
DOI 10.17239/L1ESLL-2018.18.03.05
Collection Special issue in honor of Gert Rijlaarsdam ‘Making Connections: Studies of Language and Literature Education’
aesthetic reading mode
literature education
reading strategies
thinking aloud
understanding metaphor
Document 1
File Pieper_Strutz_2018.pdf
Available since 2018-12-05 11:35:02
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