The Clone Wars: Teaching as Learning

Today I saw Star Wars: The Clone Wars with my son, at a matinee showing. We were the only ones there. I am not sure whether that has to do with the nice weather or the at best lukewarm reviews the animated film has received, but I was surprised.

The movie is movie certainly has as much of the adventure and depth of story that any other Star Wars film, special, animated series or other installment has had. It also has the same things that have annoyed so many adult viewers (Please don’t get me started on Jabba the Hut’s uncle who lived on Coruscant and speaks English with a Southern accent).

But the movie has an element that is genuinely new and interesting: Anakin Skywalker gets his own Padawan apprentice, an unusually young one named Ahsoka. Anakin, having been promoted not that long before to the rank of Jedi Knight, had not yet been assigned a Padawan learner, and said himself he was perfectly happy not to have one. But as the story unfolds, he starts to warm to this rather rash and impetuous young Jedi in the making.

There is nothing that teaches us like trying to teach others. Any educator will tell you that you learn more from teaching a course on a subject than you do by taking that same course.

It is when we try to teach others, especially those younger than we are, that we realize what we were like and the difficulties we posed for our own teachers.

There are things we learn from this experience that probably cannot be learned in any other way.

So sit back, enjoy the amusing banter from the battle droids, and think about what sort of child, what sort of student, what sort of adult and what sort of teacher you have been, are, and/or are becoming.

The Clone War provides a great opportunity to reflect on why much of the way we proceed in debates and discussions, not just in classrooms but in every sort of situation, often ignores a crucial element, to our detriment and that of our conversation partners.

If someone had spoken to us the way we speak to others, when we were younger, or when we had thought differently, would we have listened?

A movie called “Clone Wars” is particularly apt for exploring this subject, since when we seek to pass on the wisdom we’ve gained over the years, we find ourselves wrestling with younger versions of ourselves.

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  • cameragnome

    I completely agree. As a university lecturer, I have to prepare lectures so that I am able to answer questions from as many angles as possible. There is the realization that no matter what I know about the subject, the students in front of me are new to the field and topic and deserve as complete an explanation as I can give them. I spend hours researching and preparing each lesson, which, in the process, ends up teaching me a few things I didn’t know.

  • BsSorrell

    Not only is one challenged when preparing to teach a class but without fail I was asked a question for which I did not have a ready answer. Going back and researching often enlightened me in ways that I would have otherwise missed.