Friday, November 2, 2007

Teaching As A Way To Learn And Improve

Many a times, after learning some knowledge or skill, we tend to forget about them for a period. When the time comes to use the newly found skill, we cannot perform as we have lost track of the concepts. No application of the skill was done to enhance internalisation of the knowledge or skill picked up.

There is a way to prevent the above situation from occurring. It is to teach others.

Many advantages come about through teaching others. Firstly, we need to prepare ourselves before we can teach. This mentally prepare us to master the topics. The seriousness sets in. We look into most aspect, if not all aspect, in covering the topics. We picked up the links and relations between the sections which indirectly enforces longer memory retention of the facts. Next comes the presentation of materials. Before a good presentation, we need to plan the flow of knowledge which, again, indirectly causes a systematic retrieval of relevant facts at that stage of presentation. It is like solving a problem on paper. The steps in the presentation guide our thoughts. This will internalise and refresh the content of the topics.

After the presentation phase, questioning stage comes next. Questions will challenge us to come out answers or solution that we may have missed out during our study or learning. More brains will generate more questions. At this stage, the trainer and students can share their ideas for the sake of learning. New ideas or solutions can be found through the intensive discussions. Through active learning, compared to passive learning, knowledge gained can sustain with time as we need to internalise the concepts before we can present. Teaching in this context, may not be in a classroom setting, but rather, a comfortable one-to-one or one-to-few table "sharing"session.

Teaching others therefore is a good way to apply our newly acquired knowledge and make retention longer. It also builds rapport with learners besides boosting one's confidence and self-esteem. Presentation skill as well as communication skill are improved upon. Teaching, therefore, causes self-improvement.

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