Teaching others what we know can help us understand the material more thoroughly. Science writer John Horgan has just introduced me to another benefit of “teaching to learn”: it can make us excited about and awed by the subject again.
In a wonderful piece for Scientific American, Horgan writes that over many years of reporting, “I felt myself becoming jaded, losing the sense of wonder that lured me into science journalism in the first place.” He had become “habituated” to the amazingness of science.
The cure for his habituation turned out to be a side job he took teaching college students. “Talking to young people about scientific mysteries and theories helps me rediscover them, see them anew,” he writes.
When teaching, says Horgan, “I’m overcome by scientists’ audacity, their wild ambition and imagination. If I’m lucky, my jadedness fades, and for a moment I feel as though I’m seeing science, the world and my own benighted, noble species for the first time.”
If you teach, have you found that sharing your knowledge with students reignites the passion that originally drew you to the subject?
Here’s Horgan’s article:
“Hearing about the Big Bang for the First Time”
John Horgan, in Scientific American