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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161 Responses for this Activity

  • Analogy for Radiation Induced Skin Reactions
    by Alfred Lam (@alam)

    I teach in a Patient Care course in the Radiation Therapy Curriculum.  One topic is radiation induced skin reactions.  Many times when our patients are undergoing radiation therapy, the skin is affected most by the radiation treatment.  There are three levels of skin reaction:  erythema (redness) / dry desquamation (dermatitis) and moist desquamation (skin breaking more… »

  • Misunderstood – Learning
    by Stephanie Hicks (@stephanie.hicks)

    In Academic Upgrading we frequently have students who do not know how to learn or how they learn best. Many may not have a proper learning toolkit and think that learning is passing tests and regurgitating information. When first meeting with students and discussing their personal experiences, I would compare learning to growing a garden. more… »

  • Misunderstood activity – Analogy
    by Lauren Cripps (@LCripps)

    The undergraduate level courses I teach primarily focus on mental health for teachers. I have come to discover that many of our teacher candidates are unfamiliar with concepts of mental health in the context of learning and the implications of mental health in the classroom. I begin each of my MH courses addressing the different more… »

  • Misunderstood Concepts
    by Erin Gilbart (@egilbart)

    Students often have difficulty understanding the distinction between Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs), Standard Operating Procedures and Policies in health care settings. Having them work through a clinically relevant example in groups with a graphic as a guide can be helpful to understand how each of these components are related but unique. Similarly, a Venn Diagram more… »

  • Misunderstood Concept: Audience
    by Melissa Pound (@m_pound)

    My misunderstood concept is the concept of audience in technical communication. The idea is that different audiences need different approaches for communication to be effective. Although students readily accept this in principle, they often have trouble applying it. Some persist in the idea that there is one good way to write, based on their previous more… »

  • Boolean Operators are Misunderstood
    by Megan Anderson (@manderson)

    One of the most misunderstood concepts in my discipline is the effective use of Boolean Operators in databases and search engines. An analogy that could work is ordering off a menu: For breakfast I would like French toast AND bacon OR sausage NOT scrambled eggs, for example. Using a Venn diagram in tandem with menu more… »

  • Misunderstood: I vs. You Statements
    by Alyssa Hall (@alyssahall)


  • The
    by Nicole Drake (@ndrake)

    An analogy that I like to use for strategic planning is a cone (also referred to as a “time cone”) because it is very visual. Learners often want to get into detailed analysis, but it’s important to understand that a strategic plan stretches over multiple years, and things can change significantly during that time. I more… »

  • The Rabbit who Never Tried
    by Emily Lejeune (@lejeunee)

    The misunderstood concept I chose is that students believe some subjects (math, language, science) are more important than other subjects (art, music, gym). I think this is a problem because students do not tend to put as much effort into a subject that they deem unimportant, and thus, they do not learn as much. In more… »

  • The Rabbit who Never Tried
    by Emily Lejeune (@lejeunee)

    The misunderstood concept I chose is that students believe some subjects (math, language, science) are more important than other subjects (art, music, gym). I think this is a problem because students do not tend to put as much effort into a subject that they deem unimportant, and thus, they do not learn as much. In 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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