I once read a blog by a guy who wrote that at the start of his new job in his boss gave him a task to learn how hybrid security works in the stock market and give a lecture on that to a group of his co-workers. This blogger told that he really liked these tactics because he had to become really good at the subject in order to be able to talk about it and that pushed him to learn it.
It is no brain surgery that by explaining things you have to learn them better. There is even a joke here:
A university professor is talking to his colleague:
– Crap, my students are really dumb: I explained a subject to them once and then I asked whether they understood it to find out that they didn’t. Oh well. I explained the subject a second time and they still said they didn’t understand it. Then I explained it a third time. Rats, even I understood it myself that time and they still didn’t!
A joke it is, but there is definitely truth to it.
As you might have noticed, I have worked on a number of courses on the labs… Did I know all of the languages? Well, surely not very well (notice: I try to check things I am not sure about with native speakers,). However, I noticed I do remember most of the things I teach in those courses afterwards.
What teaching does it is not only helps you to remember the things you teach, it helps you find general patterns in things and make sense of them so that you could explain them.
This does not mean that you necessarily have to go on and start courses on the labs (which would be cool, though – or you could at least try it). Any kind of explaining helps. You want to learn Spanish? Why don’t you start explaining that friend of yours who always said they wanted to learn some Spanish how tenses work in Spanish? What if you started a blog posting some Spanish rules? Or what if you just started hanging around the forums explaining some things to newbies (even if you get it wrong sometimes, there are native speakers to correct you… plus – research well… getting corrected on your advice will want to make you want to do that too).
That would guarantee you improvement in the language you are learning and you might also get some good karma along the way.
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