The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

Conceptual  Integration 9780796925091

Conceptual Integration is a key operating principle in education and a powerful skill for any teacher. Two different concepts are brought together in a way that recognizes what is similar and different in them. This allows for an imaginative synthesis that can illuminate a complex process, such as when the heart is compared to a pump, or the cell to a factory. Good teachers do this intuitively all the time, but the act of conceptual integration is poorly understood and insufficiently researched.

With explicit knowledge teachers can gain productive, conscious control of this vital pedagogic act and educational researchers will have insightful tools to grasp the complex operating principles of the process. Thus the purpose of this book is to make the principles and practice visible.

Conceptual integration and educational analysis provides a clear model that explains how conceptual integration works as well as numerous practical examples that enable the reader to grasp the process theoretically and apply it in practice. This is a must-read book for educators in South Africa and abroad.

The book has both South African and international interest. At an international level there is much interest in Conceptual Blending and a book that takes this conceptual tool and applies it to pedagogy will generate some interest among academics. Pedagogics is of specific interest to the European market and so it should have some takers. Conceptual integration is popular in the USA so there is a chance for this market as well. Within South Africa there is currently huge interest in what teachers are doing and how they are doing it (mostly negative) and this book will provide a way out of the blame game with a suggested route forward. I have already presented seminars and lectures on this work, as well as papers at conferences, all of which has been very enthusiastically received. Students at honours and masters level will find the book worthwhile as well.


It is not often that educational researchers and classroom practitioners can see each other in one common narrative. Hugo and his team do it systematically and accessibly. The chapters in this book build a novel practice language which draws on the sciences ('cognitive linguistics') and stretches on to the insides of the pedagogical process, prises it open and excavates its inner workings. In this book pedagogues can recognise the conceptual process they take to elaborate, compress, infer and blend ideas.

Yael Shalem —
Wits School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand

Hugo and his expert team introduce readers to a powerful new tool - conceptual integration - and put it to work across a range of disciplines and pedagogic spaces. The result is engrossing as it is enlightening. Strongly recommended.

Johan Muller —
School of Education, University of Cape Town

Conceptual integration and educational analysis offers a conceptual system with rich examples for analysing and teaching disciplinary concepts. It is a generative conceptual resource for educators.

Lynne Slonimsky —
Wits School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand

Through a detailed set of cases, the book provides a fascinating account of the working of a particular aspect of pedagogy that lies at the heart of educational transmission – the shift from the experiential knowledge of the student to a specialized understanding of a discipline.

Ursula Hoadley —
School of Education, University of Cape Town

Open Access

Product information

Format : 240mm x 168mm
Pages : 168
ISBN 13 : 978-0-7969-2509-1
Publish Year : October 2015
Rights : World Rights


1. Using conceptual integration for educational analysis: A step–by–step guide
Wayne Hugo

2. Where conceptual integration comes from and why it is useful for educational analysis
Wayne Hugo

3. Analogy but no disanalogy: The case of urban slums
Carol Bertram

4. An analysis of economic modelling used in school economics textbooks
Suriamurthee Maistry

5. Understanding teacher and learning movement between real–world and classroom genres via conceptual integration
Fiona Jackson

6. Conceptual integration in the development of alphabet knowledge
Claire Verbeek

7. The heart as a pump
Thomas Edward Sommerville

8. Conceptual integration in science: A solar system in an atom
Kavish Jawahar and Tabitha Mukeredzi

9. A transforming pedagogic space: The school crest
Jenni Karlsson

10. Conceptual integration in vector–kinematics
Nadaraj Govender

11. What conceptual integration isn't: Examples from mathematics education
Iben Maj Christiansen

12. Conclusion: Conceptual Integration as a descriptive and prescriptive tool of analysis
Wayne Hugo


Carol Bertram is Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of KwaZulu–Natal. Her research interests are broadly in curriculum and knowledge, and are currently focused on the empirical fields of history education and teacher learning.

Iben Maj Christiansen is a faculty member of the Department of Mathematics at Stockholm University and Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of KwaZulu–Natal. Her current research focuses on mathematics teachers' knowledge and learning, with an emphasis on how mathematical discourses in instruction of novice teachers develop over time.

Nadaraj Govender is a physics education researcher in the School of Education at the University of KwaZulu–Natal. He is currently exploring ways to improve pre–service science teacher education through conceptual development research.

Wayne Hugo is Associate Professor of Education at the University of KwaZulu–Natal. He is committed to enhancing the description and analysis of educational processes.

Fiona Jackson is an applied linguist currently researching the knowledge base of the practice of English teachers. She has recently moved into media studies, focusing on representations of masculinity and on critical discourse analysis of media texts.

Kavish Jawahar is Lecturer of Science Education in the Department of Education at Rhodes University, where he works on the science BEd, PGCE, honours and master's degree programmes. His PhD research focused on school science curriculum multi–literacy alignment.

Jenni Karlsson formerly a Senior Lecturer at the University of KwaZulu–Natal, is now engaged in establishing the Mzala Nxumalo Centre for the Study of South African Society, a research and training non–profit organisation. Her doctoral thesis, awarded by the University of London, was a visual study of apartheid and post–apartheid discourses embedded and being embedded in school space and spatiality.

Suriamurthee Maistry is an academic at the University of KwaZulu–Natal. His research interests are in economics pedagogy and economic education research.

Tabitha Grace Mukeredzi is Lecturer in the School of Education at the Durban University of Technology. Her research interests are in teacher professional learning, rural education, and mixed–mode/distance–education methodologies.

Thomas Edward Sommerville is semi–retired Associate Professor of Medical Education and Anaesthesia at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine. He mentors postgraduate students and is researching the nature of doctoral studies in the health sciences.

Clare Verbeek is Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Cape Town. Her research interests are in teacher development and literacy development.

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