Wednesday, 12 March 2014


Management Masala Learn as you Teach
qui docet discit

'Who teaches learns.'

This wonderful Latin phrase - 'Qui docet discit' - 'Who teaches learns' - very elegantly expresses a powerful learning and teaching maxim, that:

A very good way to learn something is to teach it to someone else.

The concept relates to the following models and theories, among others:

Kolb's Learning Styles Theory
Kirkpatrick's Learning Evaluation Theory
Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences Theory
and the Conscious Competence learning theory/model
When we try to learn something ourselves, we usually try to understand and acquire the knowledge or skill in a simple direct way, typically using a single sense (reading, or listening). This can be challenging, especially if the knowledge or skill is very new to us, and/or outside of our natural strengths and preferences. We also tend to try to replicate the knowledge - to copy it rather than interpret it - into our memory. We tend not to analyze what we are trying to learn any more than is absolutely necessary. We might use certain memorizing techniques also based on copying, such as verbal repetition, or writing it, to accelerate and reinforce the transfer of information into our own brains. This type of learning can become boring and tedious. None of this helps us to be very aware of what and how we are learning, nor does it help us to assimilate the learning at a deep level. When trying to learn something ourselves we tend to do it superficially, which means we are less likely to retain the knowledge/skills afterwards, unless we use and practise what we have learned.

However, when instead we approach a subject with the aim of teaching it to someone else, our understanding, retention and command of the new knowledge/skill is often dramatically improved, compared to simply learning it for ourselves.

This is due to several factors:

our motivation/need to learn tends to increase, because we have a responsibility towards someone else, which increases our commitment and diligence
we think about and analyse the new knowledge/skill on a deeper level in order to understand it, in order to interpret its meaning, to explain it to others
we tend to practise and rehearse the knowledge/skill more than we would if merely learning it for ourselves - because of the increased pressure and risks in being responsible for explaining it to someone else - we don't want to make a mistake, especially as our mistakes are exposed to another person (this pressure/diligence increases with the number of people we are teaching)
we are inclined learn more than the bare facts/skill, because learners ask questions of their teachers, and we want to be prepared for unforeseen questions and learning needs
we work with the subject in various communications media - reading, verbal, visual, physical/bodily, etc., in designing and delivering the teaching
we become proud of our command and responsibility for the teaching - this increases the attractiveness of the personal learning, and so we are more likely to develop a fondness for the subject, because it makes us feel good
we translate or adapt the knowledge or skill sufficiently to optimize its accessibility and appeal to the learner - being able to adapt/translate knowledge/skill requires a much deeper control of the subject than merely absorbing for self-learning
we might additionally advise the learner as to how to implement/apply the learning, and be involved in following-up after the teaching to assess how the learner has absorbed and understood and applied the new knowledge/skill
all this guarantees that we will have had to approach the subject in a multi-sensory way, and multi-experiential way too, which susbstantially improves our own understanding and retention of the subject/skill
And all this is represented by the phrase: Qui docet discit - Who teaches learns.
On 3/12/2014


Post a Comment

'I Want to Start with Solving a Real Customer’s Real Problem' – Ted Selker MANAGEMENTMASALA’S Seven Rules of Leadership How Millennials Gen Y Loyalty is a Challenge for Brands Innovation and Invention – Another View Strategy: Conjuring The Future