Have the Student Teach


“While we teach, we learn.” Seneca

While preparing to teach, teachers learn.  While teaching, teachers learn.  While reflecting upon teaching, teachers learn.  So why should we not expect the same of our students?  Rather than offering content on a silver platter, turn tables and expect your students to prepare and deliver content.  Allow them the joy of learning by teaching.

As the instructor, it is your honor to side-step platforms and welcome your learner on center stage.

In the article, Students learn more if they’ll need to teach others, Everding shares the results of a study in which evidence pointed towards students learning more when they felt expected to teach others.  Simply by altering expectations from that of taking a test to actually teaching content, students benefited from enhanced memory of main points.  In addition the study concluded that, “expecting to teach appears to encourage effective learning strategies such as seeking out key points and organizing information into a coherent structure…it is noteworthy, then, that when students instead expect to be tested, they underutilize these strategies” (Nestojko, Bui, Kornell, & Bjork, 2014).

To start your students teaching, check out 10 Minute Leadership Lessons in which over a dozen ideas are presented where your students have the opportunity to lead inside the classroom.

Or select a student to present review material, have students research and teach content to the remaining class through videos and creative presentations, or engage your whole class in preparing a lesson for another body of learners.  Call on student assistants, expect student involvement, and don’t just teach to the test.

Perhaps you are already engaging your students as teachers.  In the comments below, I’d love to hear what you’re finding to be most successful in pushing your students to teach!

Nestojko, J. F., Bui, D. C., Kornell, N., & Bjork, E. L. (2014). Expecting to teach enhances learning and organization of knowledge in free recall of text passages. Memory & Cognition, 42(7), 1038-1048. doi:10.3758/s13421-014-0416-z


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