Must-Have Skill for Children #15: Teaching Others

All the focus for students is placed on learning. How well are they doing in school? Are they completing their homework on time? Are they understanding the lessons? But one crucial element of learning that is often overlooked is the opposite approach: are they teaching? How are they teaching themselves and others? This is a surprisingly important component of learning and development, which is why teaching others is this month’s Must-Have Skill for Children.

“In teaching others, we teach ourselves.”
– Latin Proverb

Teaching others is the best way for your child to test how much they know about a subject—and the simpler the lesson the better. This idea is what led to the Feynman Technique, created by Richard Feynman, who won the Nobel Prize for his work in physics.

His technique includes four straightforward steps:

1. Identify the subject – Write down everything you know about a subject on one page.
2. Teach it to a child – Try to use the plainest terms and simplest explanations.
3. Identify knowledge gaps – What was missing or what do you still struggle to grasp?
4. Organize and simplify – Fill the gaps and clear up areas of confusion for a better lesson.

Going through these steps will show your child exactly why their teachers are experts on the subjects they teach—they had to learn every aspect in order to pass that knowledge onto others. Even if your child never plans to teach professionally, there are many benefits to them picking up this skill.

Clearer Comprehension & Thinking

The main purpose of teaching others, whether your child uses the Feynman Technique or not, is to understand what they are sharing with others. How much do they know and how well can they explain it to somebody who knows nothing about it? By reviewing what they learned and organizing their thoughts to properly convey the knowledge in the simplest terms, your child can test their understanding, organize their thoughts, and practice thinking more clearly.

Efficient Studying Methods

The constant practice of teaching others will fortify your child’s study methods and habits. They will be better at recognizing what style of learning helps them the most and where their knowledge gaps usually lie. For example, they may notice that in the subject of history, they often forget dates, and subsequently can’t place events on the correct timeline. Learning with the intention of passing that knowledge onto others later can help your child tune in to the most important points of every lesson as well as stay engaged.

Better Speaking and Listening Skills

A huge component of learning is your child’s listening skills. Of course they are vital for paying attention in class and picking up the important bits of a lecture. However, they also play a huge role when your child is teaching others. Your kid has to listen to the questions they are being asked, and then analyze what those questions reveal about their lesson and own understanding of the topic. As for speaking, your child must express themselves effectively and speak in a way that’s clear and easy for others to understand. They can check for common problems, like rambling, mumbling, or speaking too fast.

Advanced Socialization

Teaching others can help boost your child’s social skills, empathy, sense of community, and socialization (how they behave as a part of society). Your child should work on their ability to interact with others because relationships are important for not only having successful careers but also creating meaningful bonds, like friendships and mentorships. Learning how to talk to others, being on the same page, perspective taking, and adjusting behaviors according to the situation are communication skills that will make your child more successful, confident, and sociable.

For more ways to help your child study and take responsibility for their education, turn to JEI Learning Center. We believe that there are a myriad of ways for children to learn, beyond the standards of a traditional school setting that may not resonate with every student. We can find what’s right for your child through our personalized programs.

For more information on how your child can become a better learner, contact us at (877) JEI-MATH and schedule a diagnostic test today! Let’s get your child on the path to excellence in a way that complements and enhances their unique talents and needs.