Meanings are acquired from experiencing differences against a background of sameness, rather than from experiencing sameness against a background of difference: Putting a conjecture to the test by embedding it in a pedagogical tool

Main Article Content

Ference Marton
Ming Fai Pang

Abstract

In helping learners to make a novel meaning their own, such as when helping children to understand what a word means or teaching students a new concept in school, we frequently point to examples that share the aimed-at meaning but differ otherwise. This type of approach rests on the assumption that novel meanings can be acquired through the experience of sameness against a background of difference. This paper argues that this assumption is unfounded and that the opposite is the case: we make novel meanings our own through the experience of differences against a background of sameness. We put this conjecture to the test in an experimental study by embedding it in a computer game and the results support the conjecture.

Article Details

How to Cite
Marton, F., & Pang, M. F. (2013). Meanings are acquired from experiencing differences against a background of sameness, rather than from experiencing sameness against a background of difference: Putting a conjecture to the test by embedding it in a pedagogical tool. Frontline Learning Research, 1(1), 24-41. https://doi.org/10.14786/flr.v1i1.16
Section
Articles
Author Biography

Ference Marton, University of Gothenburg

Emeritus Professor

References

Chi, M. T. H., Feltovich, P. J., & Glaser, R. (1981). Categorization and representation of physics problems by experts and novices. Cognitive Science, 5(2), 121-152. doi: 10.1207/s15516709cog0502_2

Dahlgren, L. O. (1978). Effects of university education on the conception of reality. Reports from the Institute of Education, University of Goteborg. Gothenburg: Institute of Education, University of Gothenburg.

Elliott, J. (2004). The independent evaluation of the PIPS project. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Institute of Education.

Fodor, J. A. (1978). The language of thought. Hassocks, Sussex: Harvester.

Fodor, J. A. (1980). Fixation of belief and concept acquisition. In M. Piattelli-Palmarini (Ed.), Language and learning: The debate between Jean Piaget and Noam Chomsky (pp. 142-162). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Fraser, D., Allison, S., Coombes, H., Case, J., & Linder, C. (2006). Using variation to enhance learning in engineering. The International Journal of Engineering Education, 22(1), 102-108.

Fraser, D., & Linder, C. (2009). Teaching in higher education through the use of variation: Examples from distillation, physics and process dynamics. European Journal of Engineering Education, 34(4), 369-381.

Goodwin, C. (1994). Professional vision. American Anthropologist, 96(3), 606-633. doi: 10.1525/aa.1994.96.3.02a00100

Guo, J.P., & Pang, M. F. (2011). Learning a mathematical concept from comparing examples: The importance of variation and prior knowledge. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 26(4), 495-525. doi: 10.1007/s10212-011-0060-y

Holmqvist, M., Gustavsson, L., & Wernberg, A. (2008). Variation theory: An organizing principle to guide design research in education. In A. E. Kelly, R. A. Lesh & J. Y. Baek (Eds.), Handbook of design research methods in education: Innovations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning and teaching (pp. 111-130). New York: Routledge.

Ki, W. W., Ahlberg, K., & Marton, F. (2006). Computer-assisted perceptual learning of Cantonese tones. Paper presented at the 14th International Conference on Computers in Education, Beijing, China: Asia-Pacific Society for Computers in Education (APSCE).

Ki, W. W., & Marton, F. (2003). Learning Cantonese tones. Paper presented at the EARLI Biennial Conference 2003, Padova, Italy.

Kullberg, A. (2010). What is taught and what is learned: Professional insights gained and shared by teachers of mathematics. Doctoral dissertation, University of Gothenburg, Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, Göteborg.

Linder, C., Fraser, D., & Pang, M. F. (2006). Using a variation approach to enhance physics learning in a college classroom. The Physics Teacher, 44(9). 589-592.

Lo, M. L. (2009). Building a teacher learning network for developing the ability to teach for learning. Paper presented at the 13th Biennal Conference of EARLI, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Lo, M. L., Lo-Fu, Y. W., Chik, P. M. P., & Pang, M. F. (2005). Two learning studies. In M. L. Lo, W. Y. Pong & P. M. P. Chik (Eds.), For each and everyone: Catering for individual differences through learning studies (pp. 75-116). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Lo, M. L., Pong, W. Y., & Chik, P. M. P. (Eds.). (2005). For each and everyone: Catering for individual differences through learning studies. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Maanula, T. (2011). Resultat från nationella prov i matematik m m. Available from tuula.maunula@telia.Com (unpublished manuscript).

Marton, F. (1981). Phenomenography—Describing conceptions of the world around us. Instructional Science, 10(2), 177-200. doi: 10.1007/bf00132516

Marton, F. (forthcoming). Necessary conditions of learning. New York: Routledge.

Marton, F., & Booth, S. (1997). Learning and awareness. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates.

Marton, F., & Pang, M. F. (2006). On some necessary conditions of learning. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 15(2), 193-220. doi: 10.1207/s15327809jls1502_2

Marton, F., & Pang, M. F. (2008). The idea of phenomenography and the pedagogy for conceptual change. In S. Vosniadou (Ed.), International handbook of research on conceptual change (pp. 533-559). London: Routledge.

Marton, F., & Tsui, A. B. M. (2004). Classroom discourse and the space of learning. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Pang, M. F. (2010). Boosting financial literacy: Benefits from learning study. Instructional Science, 38(6), 659-677. doi: 10.1007/s11251-009-9094-9

Pang, M. F., Linder, C., & Fraser, D. (2006). Beyond lesson studies and design experiments: Using theoretical tools in practice and finding out how they work. International Review of Economics Education, 5(1), 28-45.

Pang, M. F., & Lo, M. L. (2012). Learning study: Helping teachers to use theory, develop professionally, and produce new knowledge to be shared. Instructional Science, 40(3), 589–606, doi: 10.1007/s11251-011-9191-4

Pang, M. F., & Marton, F. (2003). Beyond "lesson study'': Comparing two ways of facilitating the grasp of some economic concepts. Instructional Science, 31(3), 175-194. doi: 10.1023/a:1023280619632

Pang, M. F., & Marton, F. (2005). Learning theory as teaching resource: Enhancing students’ understanding of economic concepts. Instructional Science, 33(2), 159-191. doi: 10.1007/s11251-005-2811-0

Pang, M.F., & Marton, F. (2007).The Paradox of Pedagogy. The relative contribution of teachers and learners to learning. Iskolakultura, 1(1), 1-29.

Pang, M. F., & Marton, F. (2013). Interaction between the learners’ initial grasp of the object of learning and the learning resource afforded. Instructional Science, doi: 10.1007/s11251-013-9272-7

Michalski, R. (1983). A theory and methodology of inductive learning. Artificial Intelligence, 20, 111-161.

Sandberg, J. (1994). Human competence at work: An interpretative approach. Göteborg, Sweden: BAS.

Stagray, J. R., & Downs, D. (1993). Differential sensitivity for frequency among speakers of a tone and a non-tone language. Journal of Chinese Linguistics, 21(1), 143-163.

Stigler, J. W., & Hiebert, J. (1999). The teaching gap: Best ideas from the world's teachers for improving education in the classroom. New York: Free Press.

Vlach, H.A., Sandhofer, C.M. & Kornell, N. (2008). The spacing effect in children's memory and category induction. Cognition, 109, 163-167.