Did you know that studies have shown that students often forget up to 90% of what they've learned within just a few days of studying? As teachers, this is a concerning trend that we need to address if we want our students to succeed in their academic pursuits. Fortunately, the Feynman Technique offers a practical solution to this problem.
The Feynman Technique is a method for learning and understanding a subject deeply. It is named after the physicist Richard Feynman, who was known for his ability to explain complex concepts in simple terms.
The technique involves breaking a subject down into its simplest and most fundamental elements, and then explaining those elements in simple language as if you were teaching the subject to someone else. This helps to clarify your own understanding of the subject, and can also help identify gaps in your knowledge and help you transfer the knowledge to your students in an easier and more effective way (especially if you are trying to teach a complex subject).
The Feynman Technique is also great to teach your students if you want them to gain more independence with their learning process and get a deeper grasp of the subject matter. It supports the idea of the learning pyramid which says we learn the best when we teach others.
To use the Feynman Technique, the students (and you) should follow these steps:
Choose a topic that you want to learn about.
Pretend that you are explaining the topic to someone who knows nothing about it. This could be a child, a friend, or anyone else who doesn't already know about the subject.
Start by explaining the topic in simple, everyday language, using examples and analogies to make it easier to understand. Avoid using technical jargon or complicated terms.
As you go through the topic, pay attention to any concepts or ideas that are difficult to explain. These are the areas where you may not fully understand the subject yourself, so you'll need to spend more time on them.
Continue explaining the topic until you feel that you have a complete understanding of it. You can write the explanation or record yourself speaking.
Once you're done, review what you've written to make sure it makes sense and that you haven't left out any important information.
The Feynman Technique is a powerful way to learn and understand a subject deeply and can be applied to almost any topic. It's also a great way to test your own understanding of a subject and identify areas where you need to learn more.
To practice this technique, you can give your students tasks about very simple everyday items that they are already familiar with, but tell them to explain what the items are and how they work as if they were explaining it to an alien, who has never seen it or used it. When they have a great command of the technique, use it in your classes for your subject matter.
Download a FREE example and technique template here: