If you want to learn something, teach it – for a few years, I taught Insurance and Risk Management at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. An interesting revelation came about as I began to prepare for my first lecture. The revelation was how theories don’t always stand on their own when put into practice. Rather, they are combined, short-cut, or corrupted to fit the reality of its implementation in practice.
A good teacher is prepared to answer questions from the most basic to the most complex. Therefore, the teacher must know the subject inside and out. Sure, I knew the subject, I had been practicing it for twenty years. The trick was for me to segregate the various theories and break them down to the lowest common terms in order to get the lessons across to an audience that knew little about the subject. Thus, I had to study and relearn the individual theories that were the basis of what I practiced.
As I regained mastery of the theory, I was able to communicate the principles in addition to providing anecdotal lessons of how the theory was applied or combined in reality. I’d like to think, my students walked away better prepared to practice the theories in real work-world situations. At the same time, the students helped me learned through the tough questions they asked.
What do you want to learn? Think about learning it so well that you become a proficient teacher of the subject.