Analogies and Personal Relevance In Learning (APRILsm) is taken directly from training doing crowd work in Stand-Up Comedy. Within weeks of working with students, very quickly it becamse apparent that the skill of doing comedic “crowd work” was directly transferable to the realm of social/emtional education. “Crowd Work” is sensing and using information (relevant to the audience) for the purpose of constructing, sometimes within a split second of spotting an opening, an analogy that teaches people what you need them to know: your premise. Utilization of what a person knows and understands brings about the quicker social learning and emotional growth for students. And, this process is fun, too!

Building on the experience described in COLAcq Here is an example of APRIL. I knew that Scott liked Star Wars so I used to explain time to him. What I first needed to understand was that five minutes might as well have been five years to Scott – he couldn’t tell the difference. Eventually, I was able to use his love for music (the length of songs) for the same purpose. I even began to use music and Start Wars to help him understand his own behavior and the behavior of others.

I love the fact that understanding a concept as difficult as how time functions could happen somewhere between…

Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi entering the Star Wars cantina…


…Greedo the bounty hunter confronting Han Solo.

Proper analogy building has served me well. It continues to be one of the best items in my education toolbox. It is more useful for individuals who respond better to cognitive processing than to ABA methods. Learning and using what others know, understand, and even love can make teaching concepts (like perspective taking) so much easier, especially because half of the learning (what is already familiar to your student) has already occured.

The truth is, even though something as simple as Star Wars served to bring about a breakthrough for Scott, if I hadn’t tuned into what was truly important to him then my work would have been extremely hard. I was lucky in this instance to have proved myself worthy of his understanding. .

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