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Teach to Learn

By Scott Attebery, Executive Director of DiscipleGuide

In the mid-1960’s a research team worked with New York City schools to study improved methods for teaching children to read. During one part of their study, the researchers matched low-proficiency readers with older students in the school district. The older students were asked to tutor the younger students in reading for five-months. All of the students were tested for their reading level before and after the tutoring.

At the end of five months, the researchers couldn’t believe the results. The younger students improved their reading comprehension by 6-months. But that’s not the impressive part. The older students who did the teaching –in the same five-month period- improved their reading level by 3-4 years!

While the researchers had expected to discover the power learning from peers, they actually discovered something more incredible –the power of teaching for the purpose of learning!

We’ve all experienced this, haven’t we? By helping your child memorize a poem, you actually memorize it better. Or, when studying to share a presentation at work, you become the expert.

So why don’t we see teaching in the Church as a means of discipleship? Why do we only see the person listening as the learner rather than the person teaching?

Pastors, have you ever wondered, “Where am I going to find new teachers?” Maybe the problem is that we are look for teachers who are learned instead of giving people teaching opportunities to learn!

After all, when Jesus sent out the 72, they didn’t know everything. Instead, they came back with questions. And when Jesus ascended to Heaven, the apostles still had plenty of questions. But by becoming leaders who taught others in the early church, they grew in their maturity and discipleship.

Perhaps, instead of waiting for someone to learn how to teach, we should help people teach in order to learn!


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