How the expectation to teach helps in learning remains an active area in education research. And with technology, the possible ways of incorporating teaching into the classroom have considerably expanded. Chris Berdik at Slate talks about using a robot as a tutee.
|Above copied from Slate|
"Too often, these future educators learn to "teach" math, but they don't necessarily learn how to do the math itself."Therein lies, I suspect, is the key to making learning by teaching work. It requires something from the students at the very beginning. In Intelligent Tutoring Systems, Matsuda and coworkers at the Carnegie Mellon University found that low proficiency students do not improve their performance with learning by teaching. This can be explained in part by the findings made by Nestojko and coworkers:
"Expecting to teach appears to encourage effective learning strategies such as seeking out key points and organizing information into a coherent structure. Our results suggest that students also turn to these types of effective learning strategies when they expect to teach. It is noteworthy, then, that when students instead expect to be tested, they underutilize these strategies, although our results clearly indicate that these strategies must be available to them and, furthermore, would better serve their presumed goal of achieving good test performance than do the strategies they instead adopt for this purpose. Students seem to have a toolbox of effective study strategies that, unless prodded to do so, they do not use."The above are now supported by a recent study scheduled to be published in the Journal of Educational Psychology.
Learning by teaching already requires something from the student. There is a minimum proficiency necessary. In addition, the student must already have acquired effective learning strategies. The expectation of teaching simply forces the student to use these strategies. Thus, learning by teaching just brings out what a student already has.