Teach to Learn

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One great way to learn is to teach others. Get together with a group of friends and spend time teaching one another whatever it is you are studying. Group members pair up to teach one another. This works especially well if your partner isn’t in your class. If they know very little about what you are teaching, you will have to really explain it well to make yourself understood. Once you’ve taught them your material, then let them teach you theirs. Ask questions to make sure you understand. Then quiz them and have them quiz you. Who did the best job of teaching?

This method is an effective way of learning for several reasons. First, to clearly explain a concept to others, you must understand it well yourself and then put it into a logical order. Secondly, as you verbally explain and use charts and diagrams to teach you verbally and visually rehearse the information. Third, as the learning partner asks questions the teacher is forced to carefully think through concepts. Fourth, the interaction and social stimulation actually helps your work better (see more on this). Finally, when you create quiz questions for them you are identifying key pieces of information that you may see on your own test.

CAUTION: It’s very easy to get off topic and end up wasting a bunch of time, so set strict ground rules at the beginning and stick to them! Set a timer. Each person spends thirty minutes teaching and then ten minutes quizzing. Alternate to increase recall and don’t forget to take breaks. For example; Person A teaches thirty minutes > five minute break > Person B teaches thirty minutes > five minute break > Person A quizzes person B for ten minutes > Person B quizzes person A for ten minutes > Both spend ten minutes reviewing and going over areas in which they were weak. One helpful trick is to schedule this session before another meeting, so both of you will have to leave after a set amount of time.

You’ll find that this method is not only effective but enjoyable! It’s a great addition to the master scholar’s tool kit.