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Quick Look: The Protégé Effect

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More benefits of students acting as teachers. Annie Murphy Paul writes about a program in which middle school students teach a virtual student named Betty about environmental science. "Student teachers are motivated to help Betty master the material, so they study it more conscientiously. As they prepare to teach, they organize their knowledge, improving their own understanding and recall. And as they explain the information to her, they identify knots and gaps in their own thinking."

For thousands of years, people have known that the best way to understand a concept is to explain it to someone else. "While we teach, we learn," said the Roman philosopher Seneca. Now scientists are bringing this ancient wisdom up to date, documenting exactly why teaching is such a fruitful way to learn - and designing innovative ways for young people to engage in instruction.

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