Learning by Teaching
In the field of pedagogy, learning by teaching (German: Lernen durch Lehren, short LdL) is a method of teaching in which students are made to learn material and prepare lessons to teach it to the other students. There is a strong emphasis on acquisition of life skills along with the subject matter. This method was originally defined by Jean-Pol Martin in the 1980s.
Systematic research into intentionally improving education, by having students learn by teaching began in the middle of the 20th century.
In the early 1980s, Jean-Pol Martin systematically developed the concept of having students teach other in the context of learning French as a foreign language, and he gave it a theoretical background in numerous publications. The method was originally resisted, as the German educational system generally emphasized discipline and rote learning. However the method became widely used in Germany in secondary education, and in the 1990s it was further formalized and began to be used in universities as well. By 2008 Martin had retired, and although he remained active Joachim Grzega took the lead in developing and promulgating LdL.
See also: Constructivism
Students are then encouraged to experiment to find ways to teach the material to the others. Along with ensuring that students learn the material, another goal of the method, is to teach students life skills like respect for other people, planning, problem solving, taking chances in public, and communication skills. The teacher remains actively involved, stepping in to further explain or provide support if the teaching-students falter or the learning-students do not seem to understand the material.
The method is distinct from tutoring in that LdL is done in class, supported by the teacher, and distinct from student teaching, which is a part of teacher education.
Plastic platypus learning
See also: What is Knowledge?
A related method is the plastic platypus learning or platypus learning technique. This technique is based on evidence that show that teaching an inanimate object improves understanding and knowledge retention of a subject. The advantage of this technique is that that the learner does not need the presence of another person in order to teach the subject.
The name ‘plastic platypus learning‘ is a paraphrase on the known software engineering technique rubber duck debugging, in which a programmer can find bugs in their code without the help of others, simply by explaining what the code does, line by line, to an inanimate object – namely, a rubber duck. Obviously, this technique may work with any inanimate object, and not just plastic platypuses.