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Docendo discimus

My dad has this saying about learning:

"The worst way to learn is to be taught
The next best way is to teach yourself
The best way to learn, is to teach"

He's been saying this to me ever since I was a little kid, and when I first heard it I paid no attention. I was young and he was my father, and the default response for any kind of wise adage was always "yeah right, dad."

But as time passes I've come to understand more and more the meaning behind the words. I've since learned the Latin phrase Docendo discimus and have adopted the phrase as somewhat of a personal motto. It translates to "by teaching, we learn" and speaks to the truth of my father's saying.

My dad may not have been entirely correct, but his words certainly point out the value of teaching. There is much to be learned by teaching. When I teach someone something new—be it a programming concept, help on a homework problem or a new technique in ultimate frisbee—I am forced to think critically about what really matters. Why should they do it this way? Is this really the most efficient technique? How do I identify similar situations in the future? Additionally I have to be able to think about and answer any questions that the other person may have, which is valuable because it inevitable leads me to think about things I had never even considered. Too often someone will ask me a question and I will know the answer, but will not be able to explain why or how. It is in those moments where teaching forces you to dig deep and truly learn.

This is what I hope to achieve with this blog, and with my projects in the future. Be it with blog posts, guides or data visualizations, I want readers to be able to learn something. Maybe I'll learn a thing or two along the way.