Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Clearing Any Doubts by: Nihar Kandarpa

Analogies are something that has been used in schools for countless years, but many teachers do not know how exactly to use them. Unlike rapport and individualized practices, analogies are very common and recognizable among many people.

Many teachers assume that analogies are only useful when students in class are physically confused, and also ask questions about their confusion. This effectively decreases the amount of analogies used in the classroom, because, although students are confused about a subject, a lot of students are afraid to ask questions. There are students that are naturally shy, and I don’t think that a teacher can do a whole lot to change that aspect of a student. However, if a teacher uses analogies countlessly, even when no students appear confused, then even those shy students’ doubts will be cleared.

This is something that many of my own friends and I have experienced. If we raise our hands and have questions, a lot of times, good teachers will have already answered our questions for us, at which point our hands usually start to weakly descend.

This is because great teachers use analogies. And not only when students are confused. If a teacher feels a topic is hard, then they should make an analogy out of it, even if none of their students appear to be confused.

Of course, many teachers are at a loss for how to make analogies that relate to the students themselves. Analogies are really just simple similes, comparing the topic at hand to an aspect of the outside world. As long as a teacher is knowledgeable to a certain extent, they can make analogies to the outside world, because as soon as a teacher recognizes a similarity between what he/she is teaching and something outside the classroom, they should immediately say it aloud.

Analogies don’t have to be a similarity, either. They can be a difference, as well. Teachers can also relate opposites to each other, providing insight for the students on a whole different level. In this case, opposites are attracting the students. Instead of relating a topic to something similar to it, teachers could relate a topic to something opposite of it in meaning, so that students can grasp an idea of the topic at hand.

Teachers can also get personal with analogies, but this is only when certain students are confused. When the number of students not grasping the topic in a classroom starts to increase, a teacher needs to make their analogies common instead of personal. However, when only a few students are confused, teachers can definitely make personal analogies with the students using previously developed rapport. Of course, rapport needs to be present for these analogies to come across as helpful. How are these types of analogies achieved? Well, for starters, the teacher needs to know what student or students they are talking to. Then, the teacher can make an analogy that he/she knows that the specific student will understand.
For example, my Civics teacher makes analogies constantly. But when only a certain amount of his students is confused, he makes an analogy with them that he knows that they will understand. There was one instance where I was confused as to why Political Parties were always split. He responded by making an analogy to Star Wars. He referred to the Jedi and Sith, the two opposing sides of the franchise. I immediately understood, because he made an analogy that both him and I understood. By using rapport and analogies, he cleared my doubts.

I hope that with this, I have cleared your doubts.

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