Elaborating the concepts of part and whole in variation theory: The case of learning Chinese characters

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to elaborate the concepts of part and whole in Ference Marton’s variation theory for dealing with how learners come to understand something of a whole as made up of its parts. Understanding of the parts and the whole is more difficult than expected; as the whole may have an influence on the parts, the nature of the parts of the whole may differ from that of the parts on their own. As such it is not enough for learners just to know the parts in isolation. They also have to recognize the whole to which the parts refer and how the whole influences the parts. To achieve this, teachers have to provide learners with the experience of variation of the parts and the whole. To demonstrate these concepts, I have applied them to the case of children's learning of Chinese characters in this paper. Copyright © 2012 Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-360
JournalScandinavian Journal of Educational Research
Volume58
Issue number3
Early online dateNov 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Citation

Lam, H. C. (2014). Elaborating the concepts of part and whole in variation theory: The case of learning Chinese characters. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 58(3), 337-360.

Keywords

  • Part and whole
  • Variation theory
  • Learning Chinese characters
  • Orthographic structure
  • Phenomenography
  • Student learning