Do you want to learn more and retain it better? Then teach someone what you have learned. Ask any teacher and they will tell you that the student hears less than 1/3 of the content that the teacher studied in preparation. The teacher is a student first.
Imagine how the effectiveness of our Christian education would increase if everyone took the responsibility to teach someone else what they were learning. Imagine the transformation that would take place if every person would commit to meeting with a small group of friends to review and discuss the sermon every week, focusing on application, asking “so what” are we going to do with the message we heard?
A recent study confirms that people retain information and learn better when they know that they have to teach the information to another person or group.
The research, published in the journal Memory & Cognition, gave some participants the impression they would have to teach someone else a text after they’d learned it themselves (Nestojko et al., 2014).
Dr. John Nestojko, the study’s lead author, explained the results:
“When compared to learners expecting a test, learners expecting to teach recalled more material correctly, they organized their recall more effectively and they had better memory for especially important information.
The immediate implication is that the mindset of the student before and during learning can have a significant impact on learning, and that positively altering a student’s mindset can be effectively achieved through rather simple instructions.”
So when I ask someone to consider becoming a Small Group leader, I am doing them a favor, because their ability to learn the Word of God and retain what they are learning will increase significantly by taking responsibility for teaching others.
Our churches are filled with people who sit in services every week, listening to sermons that the pastor spent 20 hours preparing, and withine 48 hours 90% of what was heard has vanished from memory.
If those same people knew that they had to meet with a group of people each week, and help others apply the message that the pastor preached, they will inevitably retain the content of the sermon better, but they will also do more study and preparation simply because they know that they will be leading others. They are motivated to anticipate the questions that might be asked, which drives them to deeper study and consideration of the topic.
What does this say about Sunday school classes, where one person teaches and everyone sits and listens for 20 years? It has been said that Sunday school is the only school where no one ever graduates. How much better to use the Sunday school hour to equip people to teach others? This seems like what Paul was talking to Timothy about when he wrote…
2 Timothy 2:2, “These things that you have heard from me, entrust to faithful men who will teach others also.”
Isn’t it about time that we obey God’s word by challenging people with the reality that the basic nature of a disciple to to disciple? When that happens, everyone learns more as we help each other become more like Jesus. Needless to say, we are also obeying Jesus’ command to “make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey everything I have commnanded you.”
What do you think? Give me your feedback!