Learn by Teaching

Students at AMPED
Morgan Fletcher, Brent Hudson, and Cedric Watkins at AMPED

FALL 2016: Do you ever wonder how your teachers got so smart?A study published in the journal, Memory & Cognition outlined an experiment in which one group of participants were told they would be tested on a selection of written material. Another group was led to believe they are preparing to teach the material to someone else. In reality, all participants were tested and no one actually engaged in teaching. The test results confirmed that simply telling participants they would later teach the material changed their mindset enough that they engaged in more effective approaches to learning than did their peers who simply expected a test.

Those who expected to teach correctly answered more questions and produced more complete and better-organized recall of the material. When Sullivan Tech teachers prepare to teach, they seek out key points and organize information into a coherent structure. This is an effective learning strategy from which all students could benefit.

To solidify understanding of techniques in packaging design, I secured a teaching opportunity for the students in my Summer Quarter Community Projects class. Morgan Fletcher, Brent Hudson, and Cedric Watkins had the opportunity to teach graphic design to kids through a summer camp hosted by Academy of Music Production Education Development (AMPED).

AMPED is a non-profit youth program that enables Louisville youth to explore their creativity through music. AMPED kids have the opportunity to learn song writing, music composition and technique, performance, beat-making, recording, engineering, A/V setup, videography, photography, and web design free of charge. The Sullivan Tech students helped the AMPED kids design CD jewel case packaging for the music they wrote during the camp. They developed ideas on paper through thumbnail sketching, then guided the kids in using Adobe design software to bring their vision to reality. In just a few days they were able to create and mock up two innovative case designs for their custom music arrangements.

“This project was way more fun than I ever imagined. The anxiety of having to teach others how to do something that seems very technical is never fun. However, pushing through that anxiety, I found that it was exciting to teach someone something new and interesting to me.” – Brent Hudson

Morgan, Brent, and Cedric rounded out the quarter by redesigning AMPED’s website and developing a brand identity package for a team of young web entrepreneurs called Valley Tech.

AMPED is always looking for volunteers to help with music instruction throughout the year. If you are interested in learning by teaching, apply online at ampedlouisville.org.


Rhonda Mefford - Author

Rhonda Mefford is a momma, wife, designer, photographer, runner, foodie, and teacher extraordinaire who also sometimes wonders how the teachers here got so smart