Relational concepts: language, thinking and pedagogy and the spatial metaphor of time

O'Neill, Shirley (2009) Relational concepts: language, thinking and pedagogy and the spatial metaphor of time. Post Pressed, Brisbane, Australia. ISBN 978-1-921214646


This monograph is for researchers and teachers. It argues for a strengthened cross-curriculum approach to teaching and scaffolding children’s understanding of spatial and temporal concepts. Research and pedagogical interludes illustrate how teachers frequently use the spatiotemporal terms ‘before’ and ‘after’ in the language of instruction, yet at the same time, these are relational concepts that need to be taught. The centrality of the acquisition of spatial knowledge and conceptualisation of space to children’s development of spatial reference frames and spatial reasoning is highlighted. It connects research, language and pedagogy and introduces the train-landscape scenario as a way of investigating children’s understanding of the relational concepts of ‘before’ and ‘after’. Besides differentiating between the teaching of ‘object’ concepts and the more abstract ‘relational concepts', the complex nature of the application of ‘before’ and ‘after', and how usage may impact on pedagogical talk, learning and assessment is illustrated. Pedagogical interludes demonstrate the relevance of relational concepts to the teaching of literacy, the study of life cycles and how a project-based approach can involve children in working with spatial and temporal concepts and the formulation of temporal relations through authentic learning experiences.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 7170
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Book (Commonwealth Reporting Category A)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Relational concepts: language, thinking and pedagogy and the spatial metaphor of time is available through Post Pressed. The author may be contacted by e-mail at <>
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 27 May 2010 04:16
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2016 03:04
Uncontrolled Keywords: relational concepts; teaching basic concepts; language acquisition; language development; spatial and temporal terms; spatial metaphor of time; spatial reasoning
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130204 English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL)
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2004 Linguistics > 200401 Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1702 Cognitive Sciences > 170204 Linguistic Processes (incl. Speech Production and Comprehension)
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930103 Learner Development

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only