Teachback

As well as learning from teachers, we can learn by explaining to other people what we think we know. This is the basis of Teachback. One person (who may be a teacher, an expert, or another student) explains their knowledge of a topic to a learner. Then that learner attempts to explain, or teach back, what they have understood. This offers two benefits. It helps learners to understand a topic or problem by reframing it in their own terms. They also need to explain what they have learned in a way that is understandable. If the listener cannot make sense of the learner’s explanation, then they discuss the topic until they understand each other. Teachback has been used in healthcare. Doctors and nurses can check that they have explained a treatment clearly by asking their patients to explain or demonstrate what they have been told. The method could be adopted more widely, for any topic where it is important to reach a shared understanding. However, if neither person is knowledgeable, the outcome could be shared misunderstanding.

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