Becoming a Better Learner: Teach Other People

Becoming a Better Learner: Teach Other People

Nick Michelioudakis’ column Becoming a Better Learner suggests techniques to engage, empower, and facilitate students through a series of simple activities. This month, teaching other people is in the spotlight!

This little secret can make you a much better learner: explain things to other people. Scientists have found that when we do that, we use a different part of the brain and we learn much better. How can you make use of this discovery? Here are some ideas:

  1. Teach your friend some new vocabulary (e.g. the parts of the car). Then get a picture of a car, point at the various parts and see if they remember them.
  2. Explain the difference between two tenses to your partner. For instance, you can tell them when we use the Present Perfect and when we use the Past Simple to talk about the past. Then test them with a few examples.
  3. Give your partner some basic principles for how to write a good essay. Then show them a sample and explain to them what is good or bad about it.
  4. Share with your partner some tips for how to study more effectively. Ask them which one they prefer and why.

Amazingly, the question parents often ask their children makes sense: ‘What did you learn at school today?’ (I do not care, but if you explain things to me, you may not need to study! )

Nick Michelioudakis (B. Econ., Dip. RSA, MSc TEFL) has been active in ELT for many years as a teacher, examiner, presenter, and teacher trainer. He has worked for a number of publishers and examination boards and he has given seminars and workshops in many countries.

He has written extensively on Methodology, though he is better known for his ‘Psychology and ELT’ articles which have appeared in numerous newsletters and magazines.

His areas of interest include Student Motivation, Learner Independence, Teaching one-to-one, and Humour. For articles or worksheets of his, you can visit his YouTube channel [] or his blog [ ].

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