• Ian Gibbs

Student Tip 18: Explain It to Someone Else


A teacher once did an experiment with two groups of students. She gave the same homework to both groups but with one important difference.


She told the first group there would be a test the following week. She told the second group they would ‘just’ have to explain what they had learnt to the rest of the class.


The following week both groups were given the same test.


The first group straight away.


The second group did the test but only after each person had explained what they’d learnt, not to the whole class but just to a fellow student.


And which group did best in the test?


The second one, those who had explained it beforehand.


When you explain something to someone, you use different parts of your brain than you would if you just thought about it silently.


When you talk about a subject, you process your thoughts in more ways and you remember them better.


If you can, when you study, explain what you’re doing to someone else.


If you don’t have a study buddy (see next tip), tell your mum or dad (they might even be interested in hearing about what you’re studying), or talk to your granny, your big sister, your little brother or the dog.


Even if it’s just talking to the poster of your pop idol or sports-hero on the wall, it will help.


Talk to them as if they were a student in your class.


Don’t just tell them about what you’re studying.


Teach it to them.


Explain it to them as if they knew nothing about it.


When you do this, you put your ideas in order, understand them better and remember them more.


So the next time you’re trying the learn something challenging or complicated, try teaching it to someone else and you’ll find that you’ll be teaching yourself at the same time.


Tip 18: You learn better when you explaIn it to someone else.

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