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What It’s Like: How to Use Analogies in Teaching and Coaching

Coach
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Sport Psychology

Just for fun, the next time you teach or learn something, try to refrain from using a comparison or a connection to a different but related concept or idea to help you solidify your understanding or the understanding of others. Chances are you will find it difficult to do so. The seminal book Ways with Words: Language, Life and Work in Communities and Classrooms by anthropologist and linguist Shirley Brice Heath gives some insight into the reason. Ways with Words chronicles the processes by which children in three communities in the southern United States acquire language, with the parents in one community prompting their children by saying, “What’s that like?” They encourage their children to compare new words, phrases, and concepts to ones they already know.

 

Use Relatable Analogies

Essentially, these parents are supporting their children in using analogies to further their understanding and acquisition of new knowledge. In his research, statistics expert and teacher Michael Martin noted, “We can use analogies as a bridge between familiar situations and new situations, [as well as in] representing abstract ideas in terms of concrete or physical structures.”

learning, coaching, learning theory, coaching with analogies, analogies

Analogies deepen our comprehension, and using analogies helps teachers and coaches reach students and athletes.


 

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