Learning by Teaching

Docendo discimus or Learning by Teaching, is one of good method to improve yourself (or at least, myself).

Learning by teaching gives you better experience, knowledge and skills, and can be very useful, compared to learning by yourself or from other. It is because in order to teach someone, you will need to know the answer from the problem beforehand, or at least has an expertise in the case. Also, teaching requires you to be able to explain the method correctly and presenting the knowledge. In other words, converting Tacit Knowledge to Explicit Knowledge. Not other than that, you must proof your knowledge and defend it from any disagreements.

Has an Expertise in the Case

You cannot teach or giving knowledge if you do not has an expertise in the case. Some exceptions may be for seniority or positional power, but it is another topic. It means that if you already can teach, you already has some level of expertise in the case. It is a good indicator to measure yourself.

If you need to teach, answering question or giving knowledge, it means that you need to know the field and becoming an expert at that field too. It forces you to learn. Even when teaching or after that (evaluation) you can still learning from your teaching. It is a very good improvement.

Able to Explain

Sherlock Holmes said once in his book Study in Scarlet, It was easier to know it than to explain why I know it. If you were asked to prove that two and two made four, you might find some difficulty, and yet you are quite sure of the fact. It is not an easy thing to explain something that you know and most of the time, it is easier for you to understand it yourself.

That is one of good reason why learning by explaining is better than learning by yourself. If you already can teach or explaining the knowledge, it means that you already have the knowledge in a good level. If you do not know the knowledge itself, how can you explain it?

Defend from any Disagreement

Disagreement may comes from other source. The worst type of disagreement by comes from those who has better expertise in the fields (someone that has been respected as masters, such as Martin Fowler for OOP design). In order to prove that your knowledge is correct (or at least acceptable), you must have some ability to protect it from any disagreements. (well in this case, I don't want to mention the worst type of agreement in an organization, that is disagreement from people who has the power, and the disagreement comes from their taste themselves)

Some published books are good to be referenced as sources. Because if you cannot explain the knowledge well, or cannot defend it, you can use the reference as your shield. Published book is good because it is well written, mostly easy to understand and accepted by most people. Moreover, it is written by experts in the fields, improving the correctness (as described in the first point here). The authors itself, is already at a level that is able to defend their statements from disagreements.

Don't worry if you find that your statements cannot be protected. It means that you still need to learn. Moreover, you can learn from the disagreement as the starting point, and begin research from it. At the moment you know the facts that can be used to defend it, you begin to make statements again, and the process iterated itself. It only means that whether your statement can be protected or not, it has learning process in it, and it is good.


Learning by teaching is a good thing to do to improve yourself. Most of the time, you need to do some other types of learning before teaching, so it only leads to some process of learning.
Post a Comment