Richard Feynman was an American physicist born in 1918 who went on to be a noble laureate and one of the most successful minds we have ever known, Feynman was known to simplify intricate and complex topics to better spread his knowledge. His love for learning and passion for teaching it to others inspired him to create what we now know as the Feynman Technique.
As a human travels through different points in his life, one thing remains constant, and that is learning. Learning can never go out of style, and the amazing thing about it is that you can learn from anybody, anywhere in the world. It has no boundaries whatsoever; The era is digital, which allows us to access Google and YouTube, which have a plethora of information.
|Richard Feynman in the late '50s|
Often times you must have heard in school claiming self-study is necessary for you to score well but here I am to tell you that it's not exactly how learning works. Listening to someone, or watching a video contributes as much as self-study does in learning anything. Writing the information down is even quicker as you build muscle memory of the information that is going into your brain.
Now I ask you a question, how is it possible that your teacher knows all the concepts in the textbook so vividly? why are they able to conduct multiple classes involving different subjects and topics yet never seem to miss a single detail of information? Is it the years of teaching?
You see, they can retain all this information because they TEACH it to others. That's what this technique is all about. Let me introduce you to The Feynman Technique which allows you to understand any topic on a deeper level to have a crystal clear understanding of concepts.
Power of Simplicity: Introduction to The Feynman Technique
The Feynman Technique's basic tenet is the belief that genuine knowledge stems from the capacity to convey a difficult topic in straightforward language. The method consists of the following four basic steps:
- Select a concept: Decide on the subject or notion you wish to learn more about.
- Introduce it to a novice: Imagine that you are expressing the idea to a person who is unfamiliar with the topic. Make use of plain language and concise examples
- Identify knowledge gaps: While instructing, pay attention to areas where you find it difficult to explain things clearly. These holes show you where you need to go back and do further research.
- Review and simplify: Revisit the complex concept, refining your understanding, and simplifying explanations until you can convey them effortlessly to a beginner
- Enhanced understanding: By simplifying complex concepts, the technique promotes a deeper comprehension of the subject matter.
- Identification of knowledge gaps: Teaching a concept to a beginner often exposes areas where your own understanding is lacking, enabling you to address and fill those gaps.
- Improved retention: Actively engaging in the teaching process reinforces knowledge and facilitates long-term memory retention.
- Increased confidence: As you gain mastery over a topic by explaining it effectively, your confidence grows, making it easier to tackle new challenges.
An Example of how this works
I have been a student all my life and I'm nowhere done, There was a time in my teens when I was going through a minor slump not being able to retain any information. That's when I came across this technique. I since have been able to do way better than I did before moreover I remember details like nobody else would, let's say for example I'm studying NCERT of Biology for class 10th, and a specific topic I remember is evolution and how it affects all living things.
NCERT is the primary source of information and back in those days PDF's weren't that widely available and Boards would only accept answers written directly from the NCERT. The textbook used to be really long but the only way to get the grades was to memorize them, now would you rather mug them up or understand them once and forever?
I used to read 2 pages at a time of one topic and would try to explain it out loud to myself, down to the last minute detail. This combined with using a pen and paper to memorize the diagrams really proved efficient to me. One, or two hours later I would be done with most of the topics I planned to finish.
CBSE also provides you with other Reference books and Guides besides NCERT that can be used to understand the topic but the Textbook should be treated as the holy grail for your board examinations.
|Various NCERT Textbooks|
Drawbacks of The Feynman Technique
- Time-consuming: Explaining an idea to a novice can take a lot of time, especially when teaching complicated concepts.
- Exhausting: This approach prioritizes learning over blindly remembering the answers, it can be tedious and tiring at times.