Teaching and learning are vital processes in survival as they comprise the very foundations of growth.

Both of these methods are necessary in achieving development by seeking to actualize significant changes in behaviors.

Equally, they have various styles and theories that guide the education system. They are also essentially interconnected in a way that you have to learn something before you can actually teach it and that the act of teaching can make you learn something.

Ergo, teaching and learning are highly crucial and related progressions.

What is Teaching?

Teaching came from the Old English word “tǣcan” which means “to show” or “point out”. Perceptibly, when you hear the word “teach”, you often think of classrooms, lessons, and of course, teachers who point out various information.

Hence, it is the act of communicating ideas, emotions, and/or skills to learners or students. Teachers focus on students or pupils’ experiences and facilitate situations to ensure learning.

Commonly, there are two forms of teaching:

  • Formal

Classroom-based instruction which is facilitated by licensed professionals falls under formal teaching. It is governed by educational systems that have to follow certain curricula, class hours, and related standards.

  • Informal

Teaching that occurs outside the regulations of the classroom and does not require licensing is categorized as informal. Examples of these are home-based or outside-school tutorials.

What is Learning?

The term learning originated from the Old English word “leornian” which is translated as “to get knowledge” or “to think about”.  Indeed, people learn by getting new knowledge and when they gain insights from thinking about something.

Specifically, learning is the acquisition of new information or the modification of existing knowledge, preferences, expertise, and other aspects of behavior. The following are the criteria of learning:

  • More or less permanent change

Genuine learning is characterized by an individuals’ change in behavior which lasts for a fairly long time. For instance, students who get zero in a quiz or test are often perceived to have not learnt anything from the lessons as the new knowledge was not retained after the teaching process.

  • Positive or negative

Ideally, an individual should change positively after being taught. However, it is a well-known fact that negative behaviors are commonly learned.

  • Brought about by experience

It should also be noted that learning is not due to passive causes such as illness, maturation, and injury.

Teaching-learning is a process through which the teacher, the learner, the curriculum and other variables are organized in a systematic manner in order to attain the pre-set goals.

Teaching as Intentional Activity “teaching is undertaking certain activities the intention of which is to induce learning.

A teacher teaches with an anticipation that certain activities will result in learning, but not guarantee it.

Teaching is the process of carrying out those activities that experience has shown to be effective in getting students to learn.

The teaching process has three main functions as follows : • 1. DIAGNOSTIC FUNCTION. • 2. PRESCRIPTIVE FUNCTION. • 3. EVALUATIVE FUNCTION.

EFFECTIVE TEACHING • William H Burton (1958) states the following steps towards effective teaching :

1. Teaching should be related to learning.

2. Appropriate teaching conditions should be generated for an effective learning.

3. Teaching strategies & tactics should be selected in such a manner as to achieve the goals.

4. The teacher must understand the relationship of teaching and learning in order to make the process a successful one.

PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE TEACHING 1. Encourage faculty-student contact.

2. Encourage co-operation among students.

3. Encourage active learning.

4. Prompt feedback.

5. Emphasize time on task.

6.Communicate high expectation.

7. Respect diverse talents & ways of learning.


1. Both teaching & learning may be formal or informal.

2. Both are goal oriented.

3. Good teaching results in good learning. 

4. One can observe teaching but not learning.

5. Both teaching and learning require skills, creativity, intelligence and operate on definite principles.

6. Good teaching requires good communication skill & good learning requires good listening skills.

7. Only good learners become good teachers.

Differences between Teaching and Learning

  1. Goal of Teaching and Learning

The primary goal of teaching is to impart knowledge and to monitor change in behavior while learning aims to understand and apply knowledge. A teacher seeks to share what he knows whereas a learner intends to receive new information.

  1. Authority in Teaching and Learning

As compared to learners, the teachers possess higher authority.

  1. Dependence in Teaching and Learning

For the teaching process to be actualized, teachers need to have students as recipients of novel knowledge. On the other hand, learners do not always need teachers to learn something as mere solitary experiences can bring about realizations; hence, learning.

  1. Expertise in Teaching and Learning

Teaching is characterized by a higher level of expertise as compared to learning.

  1. Curiosity in Teaching and Learning

The learning process is improved by piquing students’ curiosity.  Alternatively, the teaching process is improved by looking for a way to arouse learners’ curiosity.

  1. Feedback in Teaching and Learning

Generally, teaching helps others by observing and aptly pointing out which behaviors should be retained and altered while the learning undertaking is marked by being able to understand the feedback as well as apply it to future behavior.

  1. Extent (with respect to existence) of Teaching and Learning

Largely, learning is possible until our last breath. As for teaching, people can still learn from the teachings of someone who has already passed away.

  1. Directive in Teaching and Learning

Essentially, learning cannot be mandated. Students are directed to study but the act of learning is more of an internal process. On the contrary, teaching can be assigned and verified through syllabi, lesson plans, curricula, and the like.

  1. Population in Teaching and Learning

As compared to learners, the population of teachers is often less. There are usually fewer individuals involved in the teaching process than those at the learning end.

  1. Autonomy in Teaching and Learning

The teaching course is more imbued with autonomy as compared to the learning exercises. For instance, students usually have to ask the permission of the teacher before engaging in a certain class-related behavior.

  1. Performer of Teaching and Learning

In a typical classroom setting, the act of facilitating the lessons is performed by the teacher while the learners are responsible for acquiring knowledge.

  1. Consciousness in Teaching and Learning

Most often, the teaching process is a conscious task while learning can be conscious as well as unconscious. For example, we usually learn to fear something from a negative experience from the past specially during childhood. An acrophobic, someone who is irrationally scared of heights, may not be aware that he has the condition because he fell from a ladder when he was a toddler.

Summary of Teaching and Learning

  • Teaching and learning are interconnected key players in achieving significant change regarding individuals’ holistic improvement.
  • Teaching is the process of imparting information.
  • Learning is the process of receiving knowledge as evidenced by a positive or negative change which lasts for a fairly long time.
  • Teaching is attributed with more authority, autonomy, and expertise.
  • Teaching as a process needs learners while learning can happen even without teachers.
  • Teaching is concerned with giving feedback while learning progresses by understanding feedback.
  • A teacher who already passed away can still influence others while learning stops when life ends.
  • Unlike studying, learning cannot be mandated while the act of teaching can be covered by a directive.
  • There are more learners as compared to teachers


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