The Most Effective Way to Learn

Rod Pickett
2 min readMay 6, 2024

If you want to master something, teach it. The more you teach, the better you learn. Teaching is a powerful tool to learning.
Richard P. Feynman

I’ve learned the most when I was teaching.

I had the opportunity to teach English as a second language in Italy.

Teaching non-native speakers taught me more about English than years of formal instruction.

I had similar experiences when teaching history and philosophy as an adjunct instructor.

Perhaps the best opportunity was when I was answering questions, first from my daughters and now from my grandchildren.

My father was a high school math teacher.

He taught me many things, much more than just math and algebra.

One of the most important things he taught me was to understand instead of just memorizing.

Memorizing a list of facts is not learning.

Reading someone a list of facts is not teaching.

Teaching is facilitating understanding.

If your “pupil” is not understanding, you are not teaching.

If you are a parent and your child asks why the sky is blue, you could answer, “I don’t know. Let’s find out.”

Then you find a few sites on the Internet that explain the reason, some better than others.

You keep digging until you understand and keep explaining until your child understands.

If you don’t have access to an inquisitive child, you can also deepen your understanding by writing.

Writing forces me to refine my thinking.

I need to confirm quotes and other information.

As I put my thoughts into words, I refine those thoughts.

Often, I realize that my understanding was shallow.

So, I must do some serious research before I can explain what I am thinking.

Occasionally, my opinion shifts as my understanding deepens.

You may think you don’t have an opportunity to write.

You have many opportunities every day.

How many texts and emails did you write last week?

As the writer, you are responsible to make sure your reader understands what you write.

Lazy writing is not useful to your reader or to you.

You can save time and frustration by putting more thought into everything you write.

If you do not have enough regular opportunities to write, you may want to start journaling.

Whether you are teaching or writing, your goal is understanding.

— Rod Pickett

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Rod Pickett

Rod Pickett is a writer, pastor, teacher, photographer, real estate broker, personal trainer, consultant, trained hypnotist, woodworker and life-long learner.