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Learning by Teaching

I was speaking to a young man who was promoted to shodan (1st degree black belt) in our dojo earlier this week. I told him:

"You learn 20% from your teachers and the other 80% by teaching others. The first part is easy, all you have to do is follow instructions and apply it to yourself (and train hard, of course). Teaching others is hard, because everyone is different. You cannot assume that a student will just be able to copy you, or that he will necessarily understand what you teach him. Some students learn well by listening, others by observing, others by the "feel" of the movement. Since they are all different, you will have to figure out how to teach each student the best way possible. But by doing so, you will truly understand what you have learned."
Years ago, I thought that the ratio was 50% (what you learn from your teachers) and 50% (what you learn by teaching). Now I think it is 20% and 80%. One day I might think it is actually 1% and 99%!

We learn the most by teaching. So if you are ever asked to teach (whether the entire class or just one student), please keep this in mind -- you are learning by teaching and you can only learn by teaching.


Charles C. Goodin