Text 7. LEARNING BY TEACHING AT THE UNIVERSITY
1. What's the best way to motivate listless, uninterested students? Simply turn them into teachers! The technique practiced at several schools and universities, most notably at St. John's College in Annapolis, USA, and at more and more grammar schools in Germany, is called Learning by Teaching; it requires a radical shift in the traditional roles of teacher and learner. The results are overwhelmingly positive,especially in the field of foreign-language instructions. 2. Learning by teaching is by no means an exclusively modern didactic method. Seneca wrote 2,000 years .ago: "Docendo discimus" (We learn by teaching). At St. John's College students teach each other philosophy and physics, ancient Greek and the integral calculus by using the "Great Books" — the original works of Euclid, Shakespeare, Newton, and Freud. There are no textbooks and no professors; the "tutors", as they are modestly called, see themselves as guides who know what questions to ask, and more importantly, know when to listen. St. John's students are not extraordinarily brilliant, but they are extremely motivated and critical. By the end of the first semester at the latest, they realize that they themselves are responsible for the quality of the seminars and tutorials. 3. Surely one cannot expect the average student who is used to being spoon-fed at school to suddenly take upon himself the responsibility for his education! While not every institution of higher learning can make the demands on students that St. John's does, every foreign-language class can profitably use the methods of learning by teaching, as Dr. Jean-Pol Martin at the University of Eichstatt in Germany has proved. 4. Dr. Martin has done considerable research on a teaching technique he developed and named "Lerneii dureh Lehren" (Learning through Teaching). He began by assigning German pupils in his secondary-school French classes small tasks such as asking in French for...
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