Today is May the 4th, and according to Wookieepedia, it’s Star Wars Day.
In celebration, we’re looking at Yoda, one of the most prolific teachers whose pedagogy in education changed the galaxy.
Yoda’s style and method of teaching is an art and a practice.
In his 900 years of experience, Yoda trained thousands of students who learned the ways of the wise and powerful Jedi Grand Master.
Yoda dedicated his life to teaching lessons of non-attachment.
He believed that if one can let go of attachments, one will be liberated from the burden of expectation.
Attachment was a quick path to the ‘dark side.’
Yoda’s students learned to use critical thinking, trust their instincts, and accept that there is a lesson in everything we experience.
Part of a teacher’s role is to help their students reach their full potential. Offering different opportunities to engage, motivate, and reach their students is the first step to setting a student up for success.
Let’s take a look at how Yoda uses reflective, integrative, collaborative, and teacher-centered practices with his pupils (padawans):
- Awakening the Force with Integrative Pedagogy
- How Teamwork Makes the New Republic Dream Work with Collaborative Pedagogy
- Jedi Mind Training with Reflective Pedagogy
- Teacher-Centered Pedagogy for Young Padawans
1. Awakening the Force with Integrative Pedagogy
In Empire Strikes Back, Yoda teaches Luke Skywalker the first lesson in Jedi basic training: overcoming fear.
Yoda teaches Luke how fear leads to anger and suffering with an integrative, learner-centric approach.
Here is what makes this approach effective:
- This process naturally allows the student to make connections among concepts and experiences to reach conclusions.
- The objective of making these connections is to encourage the student to think critically and apply their findings in the real world.
Yoda teaches Luke how to overcome fear by putting him in a situation where he has to face it. But before it can be met, it has to be manifested.
To manifest Luke’s deepest darkest fears, Yoda takes Luke to the cave of Dagobah.
In the cave, dwellers are subjected to ominous visions that make them question the existence of reality and become vulnerable to their greatest fear.
To prepare, Luke arrives armed with a lightsaber and blasters. From there, the audience can already tell he’s going to have a bad time.
Unfortunately or fortunately, Luke learns what Yoda meant when he said, “what’s in the cave is only what you take with you.” It was fear: he brought the fear of the unknown.
The fear of the unknown that Luke manifests foreshadows the ultimate showdown with Darth Vader, one of the most significant battles in the Star Wars saga.
In Luke’s case, making connections among concepts and experiences can lead to dangerous decisions.
But with this process of making connections among concepts and experiences, Luke can learn and evolve from the consequences of his actions.
2. How Teamwork Makes the New Republic Dream Work with Collaborative Pedagogy
The Jedi Order are the leaders and teachers of the New Republic.
As members, it’s essential to grow and evolve as students of their craft.
Yoda often collaborated with Mace Windu (played by Samuel L. Jackson in the movies).
As the two highest-ranking members of the Jedi Order, Mace and Yoda fully trusted and respected each other.
These principles fostered a functioning, healthy Order.
The same principles would be essential in a collaborative learning environment!
Both the teacher and student have active roles that require mutual effort and participation on each end.
3. Jedi Mind Training with Reflective Pedagogy
Mindfulness and meditation were the core tenets of Jedi training.
By tapping into the present, students can reflect, explore their thoughts, and take a critical stance to continue learning, adapting, and evolving.
When the Jedi fail to defeat the First Order at the end of the Clone Wars, Yoda exiles himself to Dagobah.
Here, he meditates to strengthen his connection with the Force.
He can gain insight into his experiences, learn from them, and finally let go of emotional attachments with mindful reflection.
In contrast to Luke’s experience on Dagobah, Yoda manifests inner peace and continues to evolve.
4. Teacher-Centered Pedagogy for Young Padawans
Under the guidance of Grand Master Yoda, Force-sensitive younglings would begin their Jedi training.
These soon-to-be Jedi would learn lessons that included various tests to advance to higher levels.
With padawan, teacher-centered pedagogy is the most effective approach for these young learners.
The teacher functions as a lecturer in this classroom dynamic while the students receive the presented information.
This approach gives students a baseline of information to learn a lesson, whether it’s about world history, geometry, the significance of awareness around non-attachment, how to wield power or use the Force for good.
In combination with other practices like active learning and collaborative learning, teacher-centered pedagogy creates a practical balance for different types of learners.
Your path in pedagogy, you must decide.
Education must be student-centered.
Is your padawan a linguistic-verbal learner or a visual-spatial learner? Consider Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, or the learning styles, before choosing your approach.
Teachers truly have an opportunity to diversify their pedagogical portfolios.
Pave learning pathways for your students and see the Force awaken!
Are you interested in learning more about pedagogy?
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