Identify a concept that is often misunderstood in your discipline. Can you think of an analogy that can help make the concept make sense to students?

  • Does this analogy take into account where students are coming from in their previous experiences?
  • Or how could you break that concept down into bite-size chunks so your students can more easily digest that harder-to-acquire information?

To do:

  1. Re-state your misunderstood concept and then identify and expand on how you would explain your concept through an analogy.
  2. Explain the analogy in writing and include a visual metaphorical representation of this analogy (perhaps use the Curator Module Consider This activity as a guide to finding an image).
  3. After you make your submission, save the web address to your response (found in the green confirmation box) so you can use it later for your badge submission form.

This activity is part of the Prior Knowledge section of the Teacher for Learning Module.

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236 Responses for this Activity

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    by Renee Berquist (@rberquist)

    Students have a difficult time remembering the s/s of right sided vs left sided heart failure, and frequently mix them up. Describing the blood flow through the heart and using a bucket analogy can help them to see what happens if there is a kink or narrowing in the “hose” going to the buckets. By more… »

  • Misunderstood: The centres used in a lathe.
    by Darrick Hahn (@dhahn)

    There is a simple misunderstanding with some terminology when it comes to using a  machine lathe for cutting and shaping metal. Describing the use of centres to hold a workpiece. These centres can be referred to as a live centre, or a dead centre, and it can be quite confusing for one to use the more… »

  • Misunderstood: Canadian Multiculturalism
    by Heather Somerville (@hsomerville)

    I teach many social science courses and a concept that students often struggle with is pluralism in Canada. This is the idea that Canadian identity is not one thing but rather a collection of identities (race, ethnicity, gender, class etc.) To help explain this topic, I use the analogy of a mosaic. In their past more… »

  • Extend Activity #1 – Misunderstood
    by Cory M (@C)

    A concept that is often misunderstood in my discipline is the process of creating an acceptable connection design for a structural steel beam to column as an example. The concept is important in order to maintain the safety of a steel structures and if someone were to not understand this concept there is a possibility more… »

  • Misunderstood: Subjective vs. Objective
    by Keisha Henry (@keish.henry)

    Module 1 Extend Activity: Misunderstood Subjective vs. Objective Patient Data A concept commonly misunderstood in nursing school is knowing the difference between subjective vs. objective patient data and how to document these findings appropriately in the patient’s chart. It is often mixed up because the learner doesn’t fully understand the difference between the two types more… »

  • Goal is to Win the Game!
    by Tracy Bencze (@Tracy)

    As a new instructor, I’ve observed a common misconception among students regarding the importance of arriving prepared for lab classes. Some students believe they can rely solely on past experiences. An analogy I could use involves comparing the situation to a sports team. Think of lab class as a game. Being ready for lab is more… »

  • Information Seeking Behaviour
    by Kymberly Ash (@kash)

    A common lesson I teach as a librarian is finding reliable sources for inclusion in assignments. In these sessions I will provide a demo, include time for students to explore a database on their own or in groups, and students will report back what they have found and whether it would be useful for their more… »

  • The Mole
    by Trish Morrow (@tmorrow)

    In chemistry students often struggle with the concept of the mole.  It is an extremely large number, always shown in scientific notation.  To help students better understand this concept I use the concept of a dozen.  I use images showing a dozen eggs and then do some mathematical calculations using the ‘dozen’.  I then use more… »

  • Misunderstanding- Following procedures
    by Danielle Menezes (@dmenezes)

    Activity 1: Misunderstood As an educator in healthcare, learners misunderstand the concept of not following proper policies and procedure. In the clinical lab, we follow standard operating procedures or SOPs to complete our work. These documents are meant to standardize your work and if not followed could lead to severe consequences. As med lab technologists more… »

  • Misunderstood
    by Victoria Jackson (@victoriaj)

    In my field of History, I often found students did not know how to build an argument for their essays. Many seem to believe that History is straight memorization of dates and facts, and it takes some doing to explain that there is so much more to it than that: that Historians are evaluating evidence more… »

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    2 Responses to “Misunderstood”

    1. Martina Kolodzey

      I teach CLB 3 4, and there are certain things that a level four student should be able to do that a level three student isn’t expected to do just yet. For both cases, the concept of questions is very difficult both in terms of answering and creating questions. In level three, it is expected that a student can read a short passage and answer simple comprehension questions. What I find is that my students will answer the question by rewriting the sentence from the text that contains key words from the question. That means that their answer will likely include much more information than needed to answer the question. The problem with them doing this is that I can see that they know how to find the answer, but I cannot see if they know what the answer actually is. For example, the question might be: When is Theresa’s doctor’s appointment? The sentence they choose to answer the question with says: Theresa must remember to bring her health card to her doctor’s appointment at 3pm. The student has taken the first step in finding the answer in the text, but didn’t take the second step in giving just the information that was asked for. The level four student, needs to be able to formulate questions. This is another concept that is difficult, but works along the same lines. My solution takes a few steps.
      1. Make sure the students know all the question words and what the question words are looking for, who – a person, what – a thing or concept, where – a place, etc.
      2. Read a short text.
      3. Look at the comprehension questions.
      4. First, underline the answers in the text, write which number question they correspond with.
      5. Look at the wording of the question. Rearrange the wording of the question to start answering the text.
      6. Go back to the underlined text for that question, and take only the what you need to answer the question.
      7. Do this for a number of questions.
      8. Part two – Take a full sentence from the text.
      9. Figure out what questions we can ask, for example: who, what, where, etc…
      10. Use the previous example on how to write the answer to the question, and reverse it to show how to formulate the question.



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