Supercharging Your Learning by Teaching

In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.
— Phil Collins

You always think you know something until someone asks you if you wouldn't mind standing up and explaining it to the class. When you're standing there in the spotlight with every ear tuned in to what YOU have to say, you suddenly wonder if you ever knew it at all.

When you're asked to teach anything, from philosophy to mechanics, it reveals the depths of your knowledge. Do you just understand a concept on the surface or do you know the intricacies of how and why something is the way it is? Are you capable of explaining complex concepts to a child or explaining technology to your grandmother? If you can break things down to their most simple form and communicate it well, THEN you truly "know" it.

It's been proven through research studies that students who are expected to later teach what they are learning have a higher rate of recall.

‘When teachers prepare to teach, they tend to seek out key points and organize information into a coherent structure,’ Nestojko says. ‘Our results suggest that students also turn to these types of effective learning strategies when they expect to teach.’
— Gerry Everding, Washington University in St. Louis

Teaching is one of the best forms of learning which is why communities of learning have existed all throughout time where methods such as discussion (see: The Harkness Method) and questioning (see: The Socratic Method) are used to prod students to explain what they're learning.

One of the reasons I have this blog is to force me to teach what I'm learning to others — to put new ideas into my own words. In doing so, I discover the gaps in my knowledge. By filling those gaps in order to adequately communicate an idea, I round out my understanding of a topic.

When was the last time you taught someone else everything you know on a subject? I highly encourage you to begin teaching others what you're learning either through a blog, online forums or a weekly discussion group. At the very least, have a friend who's willing to listen to you babble on for while and teach them what you're learning.