I’ve been thinking recently about different approaches to learning and teaching. Most of us grew up in the teacher-centered approach in which students passively receive information, usually through a lecture, and then take an exam. I’ve also heard this approach more appropriately called the “SAD” model: Stand and Deliver. I have never understood why someone would think it is a good idea to stand up and drone on.

There have always been more effective approaches than SAD. For example, I like the teaching and learning style used by the Boy Scouts. There, new information is first explained to the boy. Then it is demonstrated. Then the boy does it himself. Lastly, the boy teaches the skill to someone else. Not only does this complete the circle, but it allows the boy to internalize the knowledge.

And people who care about the learning process are continually developing and refining learning techniques. I recently participated in a 12-week course in which there was no teacher at all. Instead, we met as a group and reviewed the curriculum together. Sometimes we paused to discuss questions as a group. Sometimes we paused to consider individually what we were going to do during the upcoming week to implement the principles we were learning.