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Be a Teacher

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. — Benjamin Franklin

What is it?

Be a teacher or (LbT) is a learning method in which students actively engage with the material or topic and prepare lessons to teach other students. This is one type of .

Does it work?

The learning-by-teaching effect (a.k.a protégé effect) has been demonstrated in many to show significant improvement not only in knowledge retrieval but also level of understanding. However, the high cost of learning by teaching, and the inertia of traditional education has prevented it from being widely adopted. Finally, learning is a personal journey in which different techniques work for different people at different levels, so you should be self-aware and judge the efficacy for yourself.
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. — Confucius

Why should we adopt it?

This is what you’ll be doing as an engineer. A large part of working in a team is do things and tell people. This training method will strengthen this habits and mental muscle to help you not only survive but excel in your work.
You’ll learn how to take responsibility for your own learning. It’s your life, your career. It’s more important to you than any others.
Taking responsibility will let you take more active role in learning which will let you engage with the material deeper and activate your brain to not only absorb more information but also construct mental models and new knowledge.
There are many things that cannot be taught by teachers but can only be self-discovered.
Preparing to teach will make you examine your own understanding closer and .
You’ll find ways to simplify and organize things for both your “students” and you.
Fun fact: some studies suggest that the fact that older siblings tend to have a higher IQ than their younger siblings can be attributed to the fact that the older siblings act as tutors in the family, at an age when they undergo significant cognitive development.
Expecting to teach will increase your motivation to learn :).
Teaching will improve your communication skills, especially the ability to deconstruct and explain knowledge and understand your audience.
This has been the Achilles' heel of engineers, especially the in-experienced ones
The fear of speaking is rooted from the fear of rejection, that someone will validate your insecurities and rebuff your advances
How can we say this visually?
Teaching will increased your confidence, which are feelings of competence and autonomy.
This is also the biggest weakness of new engineers
Showing your work will give people more chance to give you feedback and encouragement to further improve.
LbT focuses on you not the lectures.
It will create more teachable moments so we can see what exactly you need instead of going through a default list.
Teaching will increase your courage, which has become increasingly more important in a field where you have to constantly create new things as the old things are getting obsoleted or automated away.
It will also improve your planning and time management.
You cannot become a good leader without the ability to coach your team.
You learn better from someone closer to you terms of social and cognitive distance.
Once you know somethings, it’s hard to imagine not knowing it.
It build relationships and connections.
It improves your perseverance to do hard things and resiliency to recover from mistakes.
In the end, it’s not what you read, hear or see, it’s what you can remember, retrieve and apply that matter.
Teaching is not a job. It's a lifestyle. It permeates your whole life. - Jill Biden

What is the catch?

It’s hard. One reason why LbT is not more popular because it demands a great deal of preparation, mental work and courage. You’ll do most of the work, which we think how education should be: an assisted self-discovery process.
One possible thing to discover is if you can or should pursuit a career in tech. Even if the result is negative it’s way better to know it as soon as possible. Is it better to know if you’re fire-proof before jumping into a fire?
It’s unpredictable. Different people will need to be taught different things depends on what they need. As the result we don’t know beforehand what we will teach and prepare. There is always a possibility that we’re not the best people to teach you those specific things.
It depends on you. You can get help from anyone, and can use other students’ code from previous class. It’s up to you to decide what and how much you want to or not to learn.
Teaching was the hardest work I had ever done, and it remains the hardest work I have done to date. — Ann Richards

How will we do it?

Pre-class demo

Students receive a homework and their group assignment after class
group assignment include the list or teams and their order
a team may include 1 or more students
students will demo the homework in the order assigned, details are below
will also specify the maximum length of the demo
students will also receive listening roles detailed below
Before the deadline, student complete the exercise and prepare the demo material
the exercise may include coding or other writing exercise
student can use their code or fork other team’s code from previous exercise, details are below
demo material may include outline of the approach, overview of the solution, in order to convince the audience that the solution is
correct, completed
one of the best
and open for further improvement
students may contact coaches via discord channel for any questions, suggestions, feedback
students can also ask for help from coaches but not from other teams
Student submit the solution and demo material to LMS
Student schedule a demo meeting with the group
During the demo
student can follow the demo tips below
student with the largest order (coordinator) will be responsible for recording the demo and submit to LMS afterwards
presenters should use simple slides and not use notes except
audiences are not expected to take notes
demo time will be limited to not be too long (10m max)
each audience will also be assigned a listening roles to practice different listening skills
active: audience with this role will need to ask clarifying questions
will need to submit 3 questions and answers
passive: just focus on absorbing, receiving what’s being said
will need to submit the top 3 takeaways
reductive: try to summarize the demo afterwards
submit the summary
expansive: try to build on top of what’s being said, asking questions like what if, what else, how about trying this, etc
submit 3 implications or possible impact
critical: try to find holes and gaps in the demo
submit 3 gaps
empathetic: try to appreciate and empathize with the difficulties and challenges encountered by the speakers
submit 3 good points or difficulties
At the end of each demo, each audience will spend 2 minutes to fill in the score card detailed below

In-class demo

This will be applied to the first class or any class we want to held live for any reason
Break out students into a group of 3 to present
Using zoom and
TODO: we need someone to curate these recordings, transcript them and divide them into individual videos. Then posting these for the whole class to review at home.

In-class discussion & feedback

Team with highest score present before classes
Discuss the pros & cons of the solution
Students share their experience and lessons learned
Discuss the next homework

Demo tips

greet the audience enthusiastically
start strong with something that hook the audience in
story, stats, fun facts, jokes?
try to describe the truth as close as possible, avoid exaggeration
avoid going overtime
shorter is fine if you’re confident that you made your point
avoid excuses or negativity
vary your pitch, volume, and pace
be fun, attract attention, don’t bore your audience
experiment: try different styles, techniques and approaches to prove your points

Score card

Score 0-3 on how convinced you are that:
the demo was clear and concise?
Do I understand clearly what the speaker was trying to say?
Did it take too long?
the demo is engaging and convincing?
Was the argument logical? Can I follow it easily?
Was it agreeable?
Was it boring or interesting?
the solution is correct?
Is the testing sufficient?
Is the solution working?
Is it easy to verify it myself?
Is the approach fit the problem? Is it overly complex? Or complicated?
Is the code readable?
Where the code is not clear, did we have good documentation, especially to explain why the code is doing what it does?
the solution is completed?
Did it miss some edge cases?
Did it miss any requirement?
Did it define all necessary requirements?
this is (one of) the best solution?
Is this one of the simplest solution? And cheapest to implement?
Is this solution easy to understand and verify?
this is the best solution to be reused, adapted, and further developed to solve bigger problems?
If you give this 3 point you’ll need to fork this implementation to develop further and discard your own.
Vice versa, if you fork this implementation you will need to give this 3 point as well.

Learning never exhausts the mind. — Leonardo da Vinci

In class discussion & feedback

Student submit questions in a poll
Coaches may answer some online
Class will start with giving feedback to some notable videos or in general
Pick 1 or 2 students to also talk about the
Answer questions in the poll
Students sharing experience


: the ultimate test of whether you know a topic is whether you can explain it

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