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The Feynman technique

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

Richard Feynman was a Nobel prize-winning physicist known for his work in the field of quantum mechanics. He was also a talented teacher and communicator, able to explain complex scientific concepts in simple terms that could be easily understood by laypeople. Feynman was a curious and adventurous thinker, with a love for solving puzzles and exploring the mysteries of the natural world. His curiosity and passion for learning continue to inspire scientists and students alike.

The Feynman Technique, named after Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, is a method of learning that encourages a deep understanding of a topic by forcing oneself to explain it in simple terms. Feynman believed that the use of jargon, vague language, and complexity in explanations indicated a lack of understanding. By using the Feynman Technique, individuals can improve their understanding of a topic and develop their ability to clearly explain it to others.

We have adapted the technique below:

1 | Choose a concept or topic that you want to learn more about. This could be a concept from a particular subject, such as physics or biology, or a skill that you want to improve, for any of your A levels or GCSE’s.

2 | Explain the concept or topic to yourself, using your own words. This means using language that is simple and easy to understand, even if it is not the technical or precise language that is typically used to describe the concept. You can imagine that you are explaining the concept to a friend or family member who is not familiar with the topic.

3 | Identify any gaps or misunderstandings in your explanation. As you explain the concept, you may realize that you don't fully understand certain aspects of it, or that you are not able to explain it clearly. This is a good opportunity to go back and review the material, or to ask for help from someone who has a better understanding of the topic.

4 | Test your understanding by trying to explain the concept to someone else. This could be a friend or family member who is willing to listen to your explanation, or you could even try teaching the concept to a stuffed animal or a plant. This will help you to identify any remaining gaps in your knowledge, and it will also give you practice communicating the concept to others.

5 | Continue to review and practice the concept until you feel confident that you understand it fully. The Feynman Technique is not a one-time activity, but rather a continuous process of learning and review. By regularly using the technique, you can improve your understanding of the concept and develop your ability to explain it to others.


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