I find that things you learn in school are much easier to learn than before you take the course. For example, there is a mathematical theorem that seems unnerving when I self studied calculus, but the same theorem appeared to be so much easier when I actually learned it in school.

Why is it easier to learn something when you have a teacher explain it?

  • $\begingroup$ Maybe you had a good teacher? Are you looking for a different kind of answer? $\endgroup$
    – Josh
    Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 2:43
  • $\begingroup$ Even if I had a bad teacher $\endgroup$
    – user11355
    Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 2:44
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to cogsci.SE! This has the potential to be an interesting question, but often questions that show some initial research get more answers/attention. What have you done to try to find the answer yourself? $\endgroup$
    – Krysta
    Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ possible duplicate of Does identifying a student's sensory learning style and exploiting it result in significantly better performance? $\endgroup$
    – user6939
    Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 6:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I agree with @Krysta - there are definitely interesting answers that could be had. $\endgroup$
    – theMayer
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 12:57

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure what you mean by harder, because I find things about the same, if not easier(thanks internet), after leaving school and understanding how our memory works.

I think you're noticing the difference between a teacher and a book. A teacher will draw pictures, use gestures, tone of voice, and answer any questions. A book will just tell you things, and assume you understand, and leave you to set the tone of voice.

If you want to learn maths, give the site Khan Academy a go. Also if you really want to learn, use a flashcard program like Anki. I use Anki for learning everything. Once you learn something, you easily forget it. I use Anki to keep reminding me of whatever I'm learning, so I never forget it. You do have to use it every day, but it's a good habit to get into, whilst having breakfast.

EDIT: added this: You'll also notice on Khan Academy, Sal Khan uses just a blackboard and his voice, because the tone of voice really helps get the point across, also he draws and moves things around, so you can see and hear how it all goes together.


A bad teacher would explain things in a manner that's harder to digest, when compared to a good teacher. However, in general, for any teacher, even a tutor, it is easier to concentrate because the prefrontal cortex is reminded continuously of the goal (of learning). This is called goal-directed behavior. Learning alone, however, makes it harder to concentrate at the same level. I may have misunderstood what you you were looking for in the answer.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So all I have to do in order to learn effectively is to constantly remind myself of the goal $\endgroup$
    – user11355
    Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 17:56

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