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Learning Actively Through Re-Explaining

Re-explaining concepts, ideas, vocabulary, theories, and other academic-related things can have so many benefits, whether it takes place while tutoring a student, explaining some of your class studies to a friend or family member, or another way of re-explaining something.

First, re-explaining can help simplify complex ideas in terms others can get. I remember a time explaining Freud’s life and death-drive theory to some friends of mine last year because I was studying it for class, and explaining the theory to them enabled me to understand it better myself because during class I was really confused.

You also might notice that I have a meme from The Emperor’s New Groove. This goes into part of my next point – re-explaining things can help to emphasize the important parts of something so that you and others know what in a particular sentence, theory, concept, or idea should have more attention given to it. In the picture, the character Kronk explains different ways to phrase the poison that he and another character have chosen to kill the main character, Kuzco. Here, Kronk is re-explaining the object they plan to use to kill Kuzco, but he’s emphasizing different parts of it when he re-explains it so as to portray the significance of certain words such as “Kuzco” and “poison.” No matter which way he chooses to phrase the rest of the words, those two particular words are almost always used in the sentence, emphasizing their particular importance. It’s not Kuzco’s hair, it’s not Kuzco’s chair, it’s Kuzco’s poison.

Finally, re-explaining things can train your brain to memorize what you are reading. I cannot emphasize enough how many times I have memorized something simply through telling someone about it repeatedly over a number of times; one example of this is about the project I am currently completing for an honors program I am part of.

Over the course of the school year being in this program, I have stated at least fifteen times what my project is about and how I’m going to complete it. At the beginning of the year, I struggled a bit with explaining what it was, but now I know it like the back of my hand.

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