Re: Reading ranting grunting.

Max More (
Wed, 24 Sep 1997 09:07:54 -0700

At 10:05 AM 9/24/97 +0200, Anders wrote:
>Usually it is the expert who is bad at explaining (in school we learn
>how to listen to teachers but not how to teach others; I think we would
>learn much more if the priorities were reversed).

I think that's a most important point! The idea that teaching is an
effective way to learn was embodied in many private schools for the poor in
19th century England. (Without digging out a copy of E.G. West's books on
the history of non-government education, I don't remember the name of the
schools and their founder.) Despite the poor being much poorer than today's
poor, private schools were able to educate large numbers of children
apparently often more effectively than today. Older children, having
learned some things, would teach younger children. A chain of such
instruction from most learned to least allowed a small staff of "real"
teachers to instruct a large number of children. Anyone of us who have
taught classes knows very well how teaching strongly encourages you to
learn your topic better than you ever knew it before.

I don't expect ever to see this method of learning-by-teaching used in
state schools. Perhaps it will come back in a new form if the current
experiments with vouchers continue to show excellent results and spread.
(Note: I would prefer tax credits for education over vouchers, but the
latter is still *much* better than a state monopoly.)


Max More, Ph.D.
President, Extropy Institute:,