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Learning by teaching

In professional education, learning by teaching (German: , short LdL) designates currently the method by Jean-Pol Martin that allows pupils and students to prepare and to teach lessons, or parts of lessons. Learning by teaching should not be confused with presentations or lectures by students, as students not only convey a certain content, but also choose their own methods and didactic approaches in teaching classmates that subject. Neither should it be confused with tutoring, because the teacher has intensive control of, and gives support for, the learning process in learning by teaching as against other methods. 2016 Weng/Pfeiffer emphazises Martin as "a precursor of the frequently mentioned 'shift from teaching to learning'"

Seneca the Younger told in his letters to Lucilius that we are learning if we teach (epistulae morales I, 7, 8): docendo discimus (lat.: "by teaching we are learning"). At all times in the history of schooling there have been phases where students were mobilized to teach their peers. Frequently, this was to reduce the number of teachers needed, so one teacher could instruct 200 students. However, since the end of the 19th century, a number of didactic-pedagogic reasons for student teaching have been put forward.

In 1795 the Scotsman Andrew Bell wrote a book about the mutual teaching method that he observed and used himself in Madras. The Londoner Joseph Lancaster picked up this idea and implemented it in his schools. This method was introduced 1815 in France in the "", because of the increasing number of students who had to be trained and the lack of teachers. After the French revolution of 1830, 2,000 "écoles mutuelles" were registered in France. Due to a political change in the French administration, the number of écoles mutuelles shrank rapidly and these schools were marginalized. It is important to stress that the learning level in the Bell-Lancaster-schools was very low. In hindsight, the low level can probably be attributed to the fact that the teaching-process was delegated entirely to the tutors and that the teachers did not supervise and support the teaching process.

"Kids love to learn from other kids. First of all, it's often easier. The child teacher is closer than the adult to the students' difficulties, having gone through them somewhat more recently. The explanations are usually simpler, better. There's less pressure, less judgment. And there's a huge incentive to learn fast and well, to catch up with the mentor.
Kids also love to teach. It gives them a sense of value, of accomplishment. More important, it helps them get a better handle on the material as they teach; they have to sort it out, get it straight. So they struggle with the material until it's crystal clear in their own heads, until it's clear enough for their pupils to understand."
  • The anthropological basis of LdL is related to the pyramid or hierarchy of needs introduced by Abraham Maslow, which consists, from base to peak, of 1) physiological needs, 2) safety/security, 3) social/love/belonging, 4) esteem/self-confidence and 5) being/growth through self-actualization and self-transcendence. Personal growth moves upward through hierarchy, whereas regressive forces tend to push downward. The act of successful learning, preparation and teaching of others contributes to items 3 through 5 above. Facing the problems of our world today and in the future, it is essential to mobilize as many intellectual resources as possible, which happens in LdL lessons in a special way. Democratic skills are promoted through the communication and socialization necessary for this shared discovery and construction of knowledge.
  • The subject related component (in foreign language teaching) of LdL aims to negate the alleged contradiction between the three main components: automatization of speech-related behavior, teaching of cognitively internalized contents and authentic interaction/communication.
  • Student work is more motivated, efficient, active and intensive due to lowered inhibitions and an increased sense of purpose
  • By eliminating the class division of authoritative teacher and passive audience, an emotive solidarity is obtained.
  • Students may perform many routine tasks, otherwise unnecessarily carried out by the instructor
  • Next to subject-related knowledge students gain important key qualifications like
    • teamwork
    • planning abilities
    • reliability
    • presentation and moderation skills
    • self-confidence
  • teamwork
  • planning abilities
  • reliability
  • presentation and moderation skills
  • self-confidence
  • The introduction of the method requires a lot of time.
  • Students and teachers have to work more than usual.
  • There is a danger of simple duplication, repetition or monotony if the teacher does not provide periodic didactic impetus.
  • Alan Gartner, Mary Conway Kohler, Frank Riessman: Children teach children. Learning by teaching. Harper & Row, New York u.a. 1971, .
  • Rudolf Krüger: Projekt „Lernen durch Lehren“. Schüler als Tutoren von Mitschülern. Klinkhardt, Bad Heilbrunn/Obb. 1975, .
  • Jean-Pol Martin: Zum Aufbau didaktischer Teilkompetenzen beim Schüler. Fremdsprachenunterricht auf der lerntheoretischen Basis des Informationsverarbeitungsansatzes. Narr Verlag, Tübingen 1985, . (zugl. Dissertation, Universität Gießen 1985)
  • Jean-Pol Martin: Vorschlag eines anthropologisch begründeten Curriculums für den Fremdsprachenunterricht. Narr Verlag, Tübingen 1994, . (zugl. Habilitations-Schrift, Universität Eichstätt 1992)
  • Jean-Pol Martin, Guido Oebel (2007): Lernen durch Lehren: Paradigmenwechsel in der Didaktik?, In: Deutschunterricht in Japan, 12, 2007, 4-21 (Zeitschrift des Japanischen Lehrerverbandes, ISSN 1342-6575)
  • Guido Oebel: Lernen durch Lehren (LdL) im DaF-Unterricht. Eine „echte" Alternative zum traditionellen Frontalunterricht. In: Petra Balmus, Guido Oebel u. Rudolf Reinelt (Hrsg.): Herausforderung und Chance. Krisenbewältigung im Fach Deutsch als Fremdsprache in Japan. Iudicium, München 2005, . (Kongressdokument der DaF-Werkstatt Westjapan, 2003: Beiträge zur DaF-Werkstatt Westjapan, Ryukyu-Universität, Okinawa, Japan, 12. - 14. Dezember 2003)
  • Guido Oebel (Hg.): LdL - Lernen durch Lehren goes global: Paradigmenwechsel in der Fremdsprachendidaktik und kulturspezifische Lerntraditionen. , Verlag Dr. Kovac, Hamburg 2009 (=LINGUA Fremdsprachenunterricht in Forschung und Praxis 16)
  • Christine Schelhaas: „Lernen durch Lehren“ für einen produktions- und handlungsorientierten Fremdsprachenunterricht. Ein praktischer Leitfaden mit zahlreichen kreativen Unterrichtsideen und reichhaltiger Materialauswahl. 2., verb. Aufl., Tectum-Verlag, Marburg 2003, .


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