reefs and rainforests

Brylske at Brylske at
Sat May 27 10:20:12 EDT 2000

I've been watching this threat with a great deal of interest, given the 
nature of my own research as a marine educator. For the past two years I've 
been studying the role of analogies in human learning, and specially how 
analogy-based instructional strategies can be used in the acquisition of 
scientific concepts.

Currently, I'm finishing my dissertation entitled, "The Effects of 
Analogy-Based Instruction on Concept Learning and Retention in a Non-Formal 
Coral Reef Ecology Program." My research supports the idea that analogies are 
powerful instructional tools, particularly with low-ability learners or those 
with minimal background/experience in the subject area. While my project 
involved the often-used "coral reef as a city" analogy, there's no reason to 
believe that the rain forest concept wouldn't be just as effective. If, in 
fact, you'd like a wonderful example of the reef/rain forest analogy, take a 
look at Dave Gulko's outstanding book, Hawaiian Coral Reef Ecology (pp. 

My experience is that scientists often ignore or shy away from the vital role 
of communicating their research to any audience except their peers; and I'm 
very pleased to see educational issues addressed in this forum. I welcome any 
comments of questions in this regard.

Alex Brylske 

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