Knowing Enough

Seth Godin has an interesting anecdote in his post yesterday:

[Interesting side alley: I was talking to a friend yesterday and encouraged her to speak at an upcoming conference. She said, “No way. I don’t know enough.” I explained that volunteering to speak was the best way to be sure that she’d end up knowing enough by the time she was through.]

I agree completely — the best way to learn something is to teach it. Not only does it force you to be prepared, but the questions you’ll get from the audience are often more enlightening than anything you’d ever read.

3 thoughts on “Knowing Enough”

  1. I used to require all of my students to teach pretty much everything that I wanted them to learn. Used to, I say, because the curriculum is so stringent in these days of standardization (read NCLB) that I have to be on the same page as every other teacher who simply plows through texts. A good vending machine could teach my classes these days.

  2. @Mike — that sucks on two levels. First, it demoralizes good teachers and eliminates their innovation. Second, it lets terrible teachers survive when they should be selected out.

    @Matt — not strange at all. Talking something through makes you think about it a little differently, and sometimes that’s all you need. My biggest example of that was years ago when I first had to learn object-oriented programming. I helped someone else try to figure it out and it suddenly became clear to me how it all worked.

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