HomelearningMemory Trick Monday – Playing Teacher

I’ve noticed quite a few articles, like this one, popping up here and there about how people learn
material better when they’ll be teaching it later. As usual, I sat back and thought about it.

Upon reflecting back on my own life, I realized the truth in that. When you need to teach someone else about a new concept, you need to first get familiar enough with it to be comfortable, reprocess the information into a teachable format for you and then go over it again with your ‘students’.

From my How to Fix a Broken Zipper article. Writing this
as I fixed the cushion helped me fix the steps in my mind.
Otherwise, I’d need to reteach myself how to do it the next
time I need to replace a zipper.

This makes use of far more of the brain than just trying to absorb the information does, and blends quite a bit of repetition with creative thought. It makes sense that you’d remember the information more clearly by doing all of that, than just reading it or writing it down repeatedly.

I’ve discovered that when I make an effort to critique others’ writing, tutor or proofread, my own writing improves. Once I started writing how-to articles about upcycling things, making my own household items and crafting, my skills increased in those areas as well. So, for me at least, this principle has held true.

In terms of memory, I’ve found that the things I taught to others tend to stick in my head longer. On a practical, every day level, this cuts out time spent relearning how to do something I don’t do very often. If I have a hard time, I can always pull up the article or blog entry I’d written.

This could be an especially useful tool for kids who may be struggling in school, though. Kids can teach their younger siblings, or even friends who may be having issues. Parents could act as students as well, since few people can remember material they’d learned in class decades before.

As always, it’s important to realize this may not be the solution for all people. While it may help the majority, there are always some folks who won’t necessarily benefit from this method. Still, you’ll never know if you don’t try, right?

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