coming in a bit late on this one.
Do teacher-expounded analogies help the pupils, or do they just further confuse, do you think?
And as for the pupils making up their own analogies, is it just too sophisticated a skill for them?
i use analogies all of the time, as many have said subconciously. i really only began to notice it recently when both my HOD and our PGCE student both observed lessons i taught and both commented on it. in my experience most pupils find the use of analogies a real aid to their understanding, the ones who in my experience do not tend to be those whose attention span is too short to make the connection between this nice story and the learning. to be effective i find that the analogy has to be followed by carefully constructed questions (e.g. Richard's point above) that tease aout the benefit of the analogy.
i find my pupils increasingly give me explanations in the form of analogies - perhaps it is my style rubbing off on them!!! their responses to my questions often start with "well sir, it's a bit like when ........"