Some Ideas about Teaching
Teaching History using Analogy
A while ago I was listening
to some programme on Radio 4 that was nothing to with History or education,
and the speaker was talking about analogy. At one point, he said that you
had not learned anything unless you could express it in the form of an
That thought really fascinated me.
I used it with pupils who were having trouble getting their heads around the
Cold War (you can see a developed version at
if you are interested). In fact I find I automatically use analogy a lot
while teaching - particularly when explaining causation and motivation.
I also worked quite hard for a time trying to use it as a plenary exercise
with some of my brighter classes. In this, I failed miserably - either I had
utterly failed to teach them properly, or the skill was too 'old' for them,
or those topics just didn't lend themselves easily to forming an analogy.
Beyond that, I haven't taken it any further.
Have any forum members gone any further with this?
Do teacher-expounded analogies help the pupils, or do they just further
confuse, do you think?
And as for the pupils making up their own analogies, is it just too
sophisticated a skill for them?
And can you think of any topics where it might be particularly easy to ask
them to do this (I tried a number with HVIII and his wives, dissolution of
the monasteries etc., which I thought would be easy, but apparently
And is there any way I could give them clues without giving away the whole
Jul 27 2003, 04:42 PM