My Secret to the Best Learning Experience
I’m exhilarated to reconnect with the concept that the best way to learn something is to teach it. Common belief is that in order to teach something, we should have it mastered—know it much better than the student. That concept may be limiting and a sincere interest, passion and organizational skills will allow you to access teaching in a mutually beneficial manner. I will elaborate on why below.
Over the course of teaching several classes in my career as a professor, I have repeatedly experienced this phenomenon: the more I teach, the more thoroughly I learn a particular subject. This includes subjects I have researched extensively, despite this basis of knowledge, my depth of understanding expands as I teach them. Teaching offers me a new perspective, and a constructive structure with which I can follow and organize my ideas. Most importantly, it ignites my inner passion for the subject. I truly become immersed in the subject, and I share my knowledge as I am learning in a passionate and engaged way.
I regularly assign my students a presentation project. They may pick any topic as long as it is related to the course and as long as they are interested in it. For instance, for a gender and culture class, if the student is a passionate soccer player, she can present on soccer and gender within the context of a specific culture. Group presentations are inherently social, so everyone has fun. I’ve observed that when students present a topic, they learn the subject so well that they never forget it—learning it for life. The performative aspect of presenting and the pressure to appear competent also plays a role. Alternately, most of us have experienced simply studying hard for an exam, and soon after forgetting most of the memorized facts and concepts.
A year ago, I completed the goal of writing a book about Joy. I am in the process of building a platform to support the book, so I have not published it yet. When it ultimately manifests as a nicely printed book, I envision an eager audience ready to immerse themselves in the book. My vision is for the book to reach to millions of people all over the world so that it can fulfill its purpose: increasing Joy in people’s lives.
When I began writing the book, I only had an inspirational clue. For me, writing begins with the flash of an inspirational moment—a clue inspired by something beyond myself. If I seize that spark, and put it into words, it may blossom into a blog article or a book. When I began writing the book, I was not an expert about Joy. I intuitively knew that we all could do better with more Joy in our lives, so I was inspired to write on the subject. As I continued writing the book, my experiences with Joy also expanded. I decided not to read any other works specifically about Joy or happiness so as not to be influenced by other authors. I wanted the inspiration to flow generously without any limits. To that end, I dedicated time and focus to the subject. I meditated. I took meditation classes. I studied ancient philosophies. I read mythology. I read archeology. As I studied Egyptian ancient religion, I learned how to read hieroglyphs (sort of…). On my journey to teach Joy, I became a well-equipped student of mythologies and ancient scriptures among other unexpected personal enrichment.
My journey of writing about Joy led me to intuitive healing classes. I discovered that the more intuitive I became, the more inspiration flowed, and the more I was divinely guided to new books, new ideas, and new epiphanies. I became an intuitive healer, completing the requisite teacher training classes. By embarking on teaching intuitive healing, I am further expanding my intuitive access, far and beyond.
I now feel confident to publish a book about Joy (including workshops, blog articles, talks, etc.). My depth of knowledge about Joy began with writing (teaching) about it. I did not stop myself. I also followed my intuition and became an open vessel for inspiration (hmmm…future blog post?)
Presently, I am writing a sequel to my fiction book, a book for children ages 8-14. It’s a book of wisdom disguised as a children’s book. My intention is for adults to enjoy the book at least as much as kids. As I started writing this second book, the inspiration led me to runes. Runes are letters/symbols that were used for communication and magic by North Germanic tribes. Now, as I am writing the book and teaching Runes, I am learning Runology and Norse Mythology. Writing is a form of teaching and learning for me. It magically combines the two. I’ve learned recently that in Hebrew the same word is used for teaching and learning. How wise! Something probably every person fluent in Hebrew takes for granted, I just now understand. I am grateful that I finally get it!
As I am writing this blog article, where I am teaching about ‘learning through teaching.’ I am inspired by new ways of teaching/learning. For instance, starting a Facebook group for Runology learners. As I teach about runes (share what I know), I will get to know runes in a novel way.
If there is anything you are passionate about and desire to learn and develop, begin teaching it. The effort doesn’t need to be elaborate—you can make it as complex or simple as you wish. One idea is writing a course curriculum, as you teach the course each week, you will learn more about it too. You can start with close friends or like-minded people and offer your first course for free to generate interest. There are also many platforms online for such endeavors. Some ideas are a book club, or a book and drinks club, where you can lead discussions and discovery in a group setting. In these quarantine times, Zoom is an excellent platform for meetings of all kinds. Virtual meetings are much easier to arrange without time and space limitations.
For me, teaching is a fantastic way of learning. I'd love to learn about your experience regarding teaching as a way of learning. If you have never tried it, give it a try and see where it takes you.
As above, so below.