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The best way to learn?

Posted on: October 7, 2021

It was World Teacher’s Day on 5 October, so EthicsInBricks shared this:

The late Feynman’s quote was a masterful way of saying that one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it. This wisdom applies not just to teachers but to students as well.

Some teachers might know this strategy as peer teaching. It is a step above group discussion because it is a structured method of getting students to teach each other. But teachers may not understand why this strategy works.

Before a student can teach something they have to get the basics right. In trying to teach something, they might discover what they do not know or understand. This is called identifying gaps.

As they teach one another, learners will likely use language and examples that are more relatable. These might not be professionally or pedagogically sound, but they get the message across.

Then there is the transfer of the locus of control. When teaching a peer, each student has the pressure or responsibility to share information accurately.

But a facilitator of learning should not leave the process there. Peer teaching can also include the evaluation of learning. Here a facilitator finds out if students can apply what they think they know, so s/he might issue a performative challenge, e.g., provide problem scenarios that are solved by role play. 

The same facilitator should also consolidate learning. This is an effort to see it learners are in the same place and pace, i.e., have they attempted and attained a particular outcome or standard. The facilitator might conduct round-robin discussions or a whole class discussion to determine this.

One of the best ways to learn is to peer teach it. But only if peer teaching is conducted fully and professionally. 

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