Lion’s Den Blog – To Learn it Deeply, Teach it
We instinctively tend to separate learners into groups based on skill and age – the twelve-year-olds over here, the thirteen-year-olds over there. Many talent hotbeds, however, use an open floor plan, where groups of various ages are mingled so they can watch, teach and learn from each other. I saw a soccer practice Valencia that featured ninety kids aged seven to sixteen. Each older player was paired off with a younger player, teaching them how to shoot, pass and control the ball. I also saw this dynamic at several successful Private Schools I visited, where classes were intermingled to create this same dynamic. The older kids teach the younger ones.
This works because when you communicate a skill to someone, you come to understand it more deeply yourself. Mixed-age groups also provide younger children vivid models to stare at and nourish empathy in older children. When you see someone struggle, and help them through it, you improve your ability to deal with your own struggles. The saying “Those that can’t do, teach” should be rewritten as “Doers who teach do better.” I can personally attest to that quote!