Teaching to Learn

Have you ever found yourself in this situation: You’re struggling to learn something new, going over the material again and again but it just doesn’t seem to be falling into place. Then someone asks what’s giving you trouble, so you start to explain to them what you’re learning and why you can’t get your head round part of it.

Suddenly it's starting to make sense to you. The more you explain what you are learning, the more you remember and understand the material. This is normal, one of the most effective ways to learn something is to teach it or explain it to someone else.

There are some problems with the ‘teaching method’ however. First, you have to find someone who is willing to listen to you, and these students may be tough to come by. The second problem is the time this takes. You not only spend time to find your listeners, but then you have to spend a fair amount of time teaching them the material.

Well there’s an ever better way to put the teaching method to use. If you’ve previously read the Lucid Dreaming can improve any physical activity article. Then you’ll know that a visualised event has either the same or in same cases an even more powerful learning effect than actually physically performing the activity.

So applying this to the teaching method, why not just imagine you have a eager student willing to be taught! Go through explaining it to someone else in your mind exactly as you would if they were there. This can be even more useful than having a real person as they will ask exactly the questions you want to help you understand it better (you’ll be surprised at how easily your sub-conscious fills in the gaps and exactly the right question pops into their (your) head)

Now when you are trying to learn something new, keep the idea in mind that you will be teaching what you're learning. Vividly imagine how you would teach it. See yourself writing out an example on the board. Then how you would look at your imaginary student or students (whichever scenario seems to work better for you) and hear yourself explaining your example to them.

You'll probably find that these imagined lessons go much faster than real ones. Your students won't interrupt you for a start! You will soon notice that you can remember the material much better than when you just sit down and try to power through or learn by rote, so why not give this powerful technique for more effective learning a try.


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