Pinnacle Educational Research & Development

(ISSN: 2360-9494)

March 2015, Vol. 3 (3).

© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research Article


Enhancing Student Understanding Through Analogies in Teaching Science Concepts: Teacher and Faculty Perspectives

Abour H. Cherif, Ph.D.1, JoElla Eaglin Siuda, Ph.D.2, Maris Roze, Ph.D.3, Farahnaz Movahedzadeh, Ph.D.4
Stefanos Gialamas, Ph.D.5

1National Associate Dean,
DeVry University System,
3005 Highland Parkway, Downers Grove, IL 60515, U.S.A.

2Associate Professor of Chemistry,
The Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago,
350 North Orleans, Chicago, IL 60654, U.S.A.

3Formal National Director of General Education and Libraries,
DeVry University System,
Downers Grove, IL 60515-5799, U.S.A.

4Associate Professor, Co-Chair,
Department of Biological Sciences, Harold Washington College,
30 E. Lake Street, Chicago IL 60601, U.S.A.

American Community Schools, Athens,
129 Aghias Paraskevis & Kazantzaki St., 15234 Halandri,
Athens, Greece.


Accepted 3 March, 2014; Available Online 26 March, 2015.


Over 250 high school teachers and college instructors were asked to indicate their frequency of use of analogies in teaching biology or chemistry concepts and to provide their perspectives on the sources of these analogies and on their usefulness in teaching and learning science concepts. In addition, they were asked to provide examples of analogies they were using and to shed light on the characteristics of effective analogies. This paper describes the study, shares the results, and discusses the implications of the findings for students, instructors, curriculum and academic leaders. A case is made not only for including more analogies in the teaching and learning process, but also for using the type of language, phrases, and experiences today's students are familiar with and use on a daily basis. It concludes that analogical thinking and the use of analogy motivates learners, accelerates learning, and deepens their comprehension.

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