An analogy compares two things, which are similar in several respects, for the purpose of explaining or clarifying some unfamiliar or difficult idea or object by showing how the idea or object is similar to some familiar one. Analogies may help explain a technique or concept in a way that is easier for students to understand.
I use analogies all the time. I think they are beneficial in helping get my point across to students. What I have found about my analogies is that:
- Most fit the point I am trying to make and help explain the point. Some fit the point but a better one could have been used. A few miss the point entirely and confuse the issue.
- When debating a point with people, sometimes they focus on my analogy and want to debate it, rather than debating my original point. Usually this is because they have such weak arguments to support their side of the debate so they are trying to change the subject.
Here are a few of the analogies I use:
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