Docendo discimus — by teaching, we learn

Tom McCallum
2 min readMay 15, 2021

In the mid-1990s, in my late 20s, the Squash Club in Cayman was looking to reinvigorate their junior programme. I was on the board of the club at the time and myself and another member, the late and dearly missed Derek Tyler, agreed to get this started. At the time, I was one of the top five players in Cayman and highly committed to the sport. While Derek joyfully took the youngest group and had lots of fun with them simply getting them to enjoy playing on court in any way (he was SO creative), I took the older juniors and taught them. Most of them were at beginner or advanced beginner stage, so it really was basic skills I was teaching. In addition, I had to be very, very conscious of how strongly to hit the ball, where to hit it and when, as if I made it too hard they could not return the ball and could lose heart.

I loved this coaching, and it came with an unanticipated benefit for me. My own game improved, my level of awareness and shot control in particular.

I always remembered this experience and from it, the adage: “the best way to learn is to teach”, or, from the latin: “Docendo discimus — by teaching, we learn”

This week I offered mentoring time several times to small business owners, teaching them some core frameworks for business growth that I had not used in some time. My reflection today is that, in so doing, I both refreshed my memory and sharpened my skills (which was good, as I will use one of those frameworks with a client within a week from now), and also that, in each case, I too learned something new.

When you feel you are at an advanced or even mastery level with a skill, teach it to someone.

I promise you, in teaching, you will learn something new, and also remember, “Our highest purpose is to share knowledge”.

Originally published at Tom McCallum.

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Tom McCallum

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