Memory & Cognition

, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 1038–1048 | Cite as

Expecting to teach enhances learning and organization of knowledge in free recall of text passages

  • John F. NestojkoEmail author
  • Dung C. Bui
  • Nate Kornell
  • Elizabeth Ligon Bjork


The present research assessed the potential effects of expecting to teach on learning. In two experiments, participants studied passages either in preparation for a later test or in preparation for teaching the passage to another student who would then be tested. In reality, all participants were tested, and no one actually engaged in teaching. Participants expecting to teach produced more complete and better organized free recall of the passage (Experiment 1) and, in general, correctly answered more questions about the passage than did participants expecting a test (Experiment 1), particularly questions covering main points (Experiment 2), consistent with their having engaged in more effective learning strategies. Instilling an expectation to teach thus seems to be a simple, inexpensive intervention with the potential to increase learning efficiency at home and in the classroom.


Memory Recall Text processing 



This research was supported by a Collaborative Activity grant from the James S. McDonnell Foundation. We thank Fredrik Jönsson, Veit Kubik, Victor Sungkhasettee, Katherine Rawson, and three anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. Thanks to members of the Bjork Learning and Forgetting Lab for discussion about this project and to Genna Angello, Lauren Camarillo, and John Walker for scoring the recall data. Finally, thanks to Jason R. Finley for guidance on how to calculate ω 2 partial .


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. Nestojko
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dung C. Bui
    • 1
  • Nate Kornell
    • 3
  • Elizabeth Ligon Bjork
    • 2
  1. 1.Washington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.University of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Williams CollegeWilliamstownUSA

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