Exploring Human Potential

7 & 7: Teach vs. Learn


To teach you must learn twice at least. Once to master the knowledge and once again to refine it as you transfer it to another and incorporate the feedback. Teaching does not automatically assure learning. Not only does the teacher require skill and capability but the learner must be receptive and willing also. Little things can be taught and learnt without much effort from either party. But the larger truths, the principles, processes and values, challenge both sides. They require more than show and tell. They demand immersion. But there is little value in going under water if you do not know or cannot remember to hold your breath. Knowing how to learn should not be presumed. Meaning does not come easily. The fortunate who catch the truth must still mold and shape it to their own reality. To be educable requires openness, an admission of your weakness without the loss of your self-confidence. The challenges come as much, if not more, from the other students as from the teacher. Though all are looking forward, the learning occurs sideways. Learners make time to learn knowing it will save time later. Successful teachers teach not from the teachers point of view but from the learners. They realize the younger the student the better the reception, not just because the synapses are superior in number and function but also because there is less to unteach. The best learners want the knowledge badly, need it, and pursue it with deliberate yearning. In the end, both teacher and pupil know the product of success is independence.


To teach is to learn twice.
Joseph Joubert

The authority of those who profess to teach is often a positive hindrance to those who desire to learn.

Whatever is good to know is difficult to learn.
Greek proverb

Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand.
Native American saying

Experience teaches only the teachable.
Aldous Huxley

They know enough who know how to learn.
Henry Adams

Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of life. It is not something discovered; it is something molded.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.
Robert Frost

I pay the School Master, but ‘tis the school boys that educate my son.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is nonsense to say there is not enough time to be fully informed… Time given to thought is the greatest timesaver of all.
Norman Cousins

I tried to treat them like me, and some of them weren’t.
Bill Russell

What the mother sings to the cradle goes all the way down to the grave.
Henry Ward Beecher

Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.

There are three ingredients in the good life: learning, earning and yearning.
Christopher Morely

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Chinese proverb

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