Learning by teaching. Evidence-based Strategies to Enhance Learning in the Classroom

Have you ever learned by teaching? Have you ever learned something to teach it? Most of the teachers answer “yes!”. Sometimes we learn to teach our students; other times, we learn when we are in class (explaining or questioning); and others, reflecting on it after leaving the classroom... Are these experiences sporadic episodes? Or is that teaching is a good way to learn, as it has been said since ancient times?

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This book provides an essential overview of "learning by teaching", unpacking the underpinning theory, research evidence and practical implications of peer learning in a variety of classroom contexts.

It aims to offer practical guidance for practitioners in structuring effective peer learning – between professionals and between students alike. It locates this phenomenon in current conceptions of learning and teaching, far removed from traditional ideas of one-way transmission of knowledge. Exactly what happens to promote learning by teaching is explored. Examples of learning by teaching are discussed and it is noted that this happens in school, university and the workplace, as well as through the Internet. Learning by teaching within the student body is then explored, and many different methods described. The organizational features needed to improve learning by teaching consciously and deliberately are investigated. These can be before teaching, during teaching or after teaching. Evidence-based practical guidance is given.

Of course teachers can deploy learning by teaching for themselves, but what if they also organize their students to teach each other, thereby giving many more opportunities to discuss, practise, explain and question? This takes pedagogical advantage of the differences between students – turning classrooms into communities of learners where students learn both from their teacher and from their peers.

David Duran is Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Catalonia. David previously worked for over 15 years as a secondary school teacher, before moving on to initial teacher training, and co-ordinating the Research Group on Peer Learning (GRAI), which trains teachers and schools to implement programmes based on peer tutoring.

Keith Topping is Professor of Educational and Social Research in the School of Education, University of Dundee, UK, where he is also Director of the Centre for Peer Learning. Having previously worked as a teacher, social worker, health specialist and educational advisor, Keith's interest now lies with peer learning, and he has advised national governments and organizations on the topic. 

Table of contents


1. Learning by teaching: a new game of words? We all have experiences of having learned something by teaching it; Is there scientific evidence that teaching is a way of learning?; What do think teachers of all this?

2. Teaching and learning in the age of knowledge. Teaching and learning in our species; Changes in the conceptions of teaching and learning; The evolution of teaching and learning.

3. Learning by teaching: what do we know? Students as mediators and teachers; Evidence the tutor learning; Learning to teach: better than learning for oneself; To learn and explain: better than just learning to teach; Teaching interacting: better than teaching and explaining.

4. Learning by teaching others informally. Learning by teaching informally, but in person; Learning by teaching at work; Learning by teaching informally, through the Internet; Some lessons from informal learning. 

5. Learning by teaching in formal education. Formal education in change; Formal situations of students who learn by teaching. 

6. Teaching others and learning oneself: how can teachers learn by teaching? Predisposition to learning by teaching: my students are a source for my learning; Pre-active: learning when preparing classes for learning; Interactive: promoting bidirectionality to learn as we teach; Post-active: shared and reflective learning spaces for learning with others.

References. Index.



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