The Feyman Technique

The Feyman Study Technique


Brief Definition:

The Feyman Study Technique predicates itself on allowing students to learn through the process of teaching somebody else a topic in it’s most simplest of terms. By doing this students are afforded the opportunity to critically assess exactly what it is they know and what it is they don’t know in relation to a chapter/idea/concept. The technique involves FOUR steps. Once these steps have been complete you will be able to retain the information in a more logical way and your knowledge of the information will have been very much enhanced. 

This study technique is already employed by many Leaving and Junior Cert. students. It is a proven study technique which makes studying and rote learning both a seamless and profitable process.  


Who is this Feyman Guy?

Known as ‘The Great Explainer’ the American Physicist Richard Feyman was renowned for his remarkable ability to clearly and concisely teach complicated concepts, such as Quantum Physics, to pretty much anybody. Feyman accredited his success at explaining difficult subject matter to people by simply discussing the concepts he was teaching in the most basic of terms. Feyman believed that if one could explain a complicated concept to a person who had no prior knowledge of said concept, then the explainer fully understood the concept themselves.  


The Four Steps of the Feyman Technique:


Step 1: Choose a Topic

Draw a mind map and label everything you already know about the topic you have chosen. Write down everything no matter how vague or trivial it may seem to be. You will revisit and add to this page every time you enhance your knowledge of this topic. This is a live document that will grow in conjunction with your knowledge. 


Step 2: Teach this Topic to a Classroom

Pretend to teach this topic to a classroom full of people that know absolutely nothing about your chosen topic. You will be forced to explain this topic in it’s most simplest of terms. You can do this by either consulting the mind map or reciting information off by heart. 


Step 3: Revisit the Mind Map

As you embark on teaching the topic to your imaginary classroom of students, you will begin to recognise areas of the topic that you’re both comfortable teaching and not so comfortable teaching. This is very valuable. You have now established what your strengths and weaknesses are in relation to a given topic. Once you have recognised a weakness you should revisit the mind map until you are comfortable explaining it to the imaginary classroom. 


Step 4: Simplify Concept Even Further

Revisit the content of your mind map. Try to find areas that can be simplified even further for your imaginary classroom of students. Attach anecdotes or analogies to some of the topic’s concepts. Draw diagrams that may help you to teach the more difficult ideas.


How Can I Use this for my Junior/Leaving Cert?

Easy. Choose a new topic, a topic you’re finding difficult or a topic that you think you know very well and complete the FOUR steps. This may initially seem like a lot of effort, and it is, but once your mind map has been created and you are comfortable with teaching this topic to a classroom of students, your knowledge of said topic will have been straightened substantially. 

This method of study allows you to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses in relation to a topic or subject. Oftentimes students spend hours studying with no real purpose or profit. Try the Feyman Study Technique during your next study session and you will surprised at how effective it really is!

*As always, don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have via the Lee Tutorials Instagram page.

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