Manual-technical operations: A critical examination of one mode of Lemke's hybrid language

Main Article Content

Molly H. Weinburgh
Morgan Stewart
Cecilia Silva


The importance of culture and social interactions in disciplinary learning and language development within specific social practices and contexts is now an agreed-upon notion in the science education literature.  In a pivotal article in 1990, Lemke introduced the idea of manual-technical operations as one of four modes making up the “hybrid language of science”. Our aim in this paper is to further unpack the concept of manual-technical operations as a mode, thereby contributing to the more complex understanding of when and how this mode enhances meaning-making and communication of ideas. Drawing from researchers in diverse disciplines, we present a visual of the complex and integrated manual-technical operations mode. It is our hope that the theoretical model proposed in this manuscript will allow researchers to develop analytic frameworks to capture and assess change in the manual-technical operations mode of the hybrid language of science.

Article Details

Practice / Theoretical
Author Biography

Molly H. Weinburgh, Texas Christian University

College of Education

Professor and William L. & Betty F. Adams Chair of Education

Director, Andrews Institute of Mathematics & Science Education