Original Research

Pictorial pattern generalisation: Tension between local and global visualisation

Duncan Samson
Pythagoras | Vol 33, No 3 | a172 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v33i3.172 | © 2012 Duncan Samson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 April 2012 | Published: 26 October 2012

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This article engages with the notion of local and global visualisation within the context of figural pattern generalisation. The study centred on an analysis of pupils’ lived experience whilst engaged in the generalisation of linear sequences presented in a pictorial context. The study was anchored within the interpretive paradigm of qualitative research and made use of the complementary theoretical perspectives of enactivism and knowledge objectification. A crucial aspect of the analytical framework used was the sensitivity it showed to the visual, phenomenological and semiotic aspects of figural pattern generalisation. A microanalysis of a vignette is presented to illustrate the subtle underlying tensions that can exist as pupils engage with pictorial pattern generalisation tasks. It is the central thesis of this article that the process of objectifying and articulating an appropriate algebraic expression for the general term of a pictorial sequence is complicated when tension exists between local and global visualisation.


Enactivism; visualisation; knowledge objectification; figural apprehension


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