Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Teaching vs. Learning

I just read a blog post at Modite by Rebecca Thorman entitled Become an expert quickly.

Rebecca Thorman supports my philosophy about Learning…

Teaching something gels the concepts in your brain so much better than just hearing about it or doing it.

Teaching makes you think about the whole idea and synthesize it, make it understandable to others. Teaching what you have learned is the best way to know what you learned. 

Rebecca says
So tell me, how well can you explain what you do? How well do you understand your passion? Could you teach someone else to do it?
Doing is just not enough. Rebecca says
When you do something like send a pitch, for example, you’re learning. You’re testing your ideas and theories through the reaction you receive, the resulting outcome. In this paradigm, it’s okay to fail, you discover through trial and error, and through persistence and hard work, you win.
Teaching makes you think through what you think you know. In explaining and teaching the concept to someone else, you have to understand all aspects of the subject matter, from many different angles.

Rebecca agrees that there is a difference between learning and teaching. In learning…
But there’s an entire level of awesomeness missing. And you can only ascend to the next level by then teaching someone what you have learned. Because then you’re testing your values, ideas and theories with another person’s values, ideas and theories. You understand the underlying challenge more by defining it for another. Teaching – good teaching – requires you to exchange knowledge, not simply impart it. Learning is individual. Teaching is collaborative.
So, when you teach something, you get something back that makes you even understand the concepts better. It confirms what you thought you learned - what you thought you knew about the subject OR maybe it confirms that you were wrong and you have to change your knowledge.
Teaching is sharing knowledge, sharing empathy, sharing ideas. It’s pushing you to understand with entirely different lenses. Just like your body needs both cardio and strength training, your mind needs both learning and teaching.
Teaching is the definitive learning experience. And it’s the quickest way to expertise.

How do you provide experiences for your students to not only Learn, but teach what they learn?
Share your ideas.

[As always, in my author quotes, the underlines, color changes, and bold type is mine, not the author’s!]

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