January 22, 2011

Doce ut discas

Recording also available at iPadio using this link.

Today's saying is Doce ut discas. In English: "Teach in order to learn."

This is a saying whose truth comes home to me every single day in my job as a teacher. By teaching, I keep improving my knowledge, strengthening and reinforcing it. Sometimes, in fact, I feel guilty because it seems that I might be learning more than my students. I'll look something up to answer a student's question, and the answer stays with me, even if the student might soon forget that they even asked me that question. Of course, students can be teachers, too, and one of the best things students can do is to teach something to someone else - to another student in the class, to their friends or a roommate, or to their own children. Lots of the students in my classes are parents with young children at home, and I'm always hopeful that they will use some of the stories they read in class to entertain their own children. I'm sure that telling the story to their children is a far better way to reinforce their knowledge than any quiz or class assignment I could come up with. So, if there is something you want to learn, find a way to teach it to someone else, too. Teaching is a powerful way to learn!

In terms of proverb style, this saying benefits from the alliteration between the verbs docere and discere in Latin. In English, the verbs teach and learn don't have this built-in verbal echo, alas.

For those of you who are fans of macrons, here is the Latin written with macrons:

Docē ut discās.


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