By Kristy Zieman
It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Star Wars. There is actually a large amount of wisdom in Star Wars that can be applied in everyday life, as well as in the classroom. One of the wisest inhabitants of the Star Wars universe is Jedi Master Yoda, a teacher of the Jedi for over 800 years. He holds the belief that Padawans (Jedi students) must have the deepest commitment and the most serious mind in order to begin learning the ways of the Force. This holds true for our students whom must be committed to the idea of learning and serious at their progression of material presented to them by their teacher with no doubt in what they can achieve in order to be successful in their education.
One of the most well-known and favorited quotes from Yoda is, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” In the Empire Strikes Back, Yoda is teaching Luke how to use the Force by having him lift his X-Wing out of the swamp on Dagobah using his Force powers. Luke is unable to complete this assignment at first, so Yoda shows him how it is done and lifts the X-Wing out of the swamp upon which Luke says, “I don’t believe it,” and Yoda responds, “That is why you fail.” Luke has not committed fully to the task; he doubts himself and is not sure he can achieve what is being asked of him by his teacher Yoda. If he is not sure of himself then he will most certainly fail and not accomplish his goal. Luke is just trying, instead of doing, what is asked of him by his teacher because he lacks faith in himself. He’s being asked to do something he believes to be impossible simply because it is a new concept to him and thus in his mind is not achievable.
I think that it is important to move away from this idea of “trying” and get student’s to see that they are not going to get through on just effort alone, but actually need to understand concepts and get answers and activities right when they complete them. They are not going to be able to enter their professions and get away with “trying” at their job; they are going to need to be able to successfully complete job tasks in order to stay employed. Self-doubt seems to be one of the biggest downfalls of our students. They second guess themselves time and time again, typically resulting in them giving up on an assignment, or missing questions on a test because they changed their answers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discrediting effort entirely, I do believe it is important for students to put forth effort, but in the real world they are not going to get by with just that, they are going to have to produce viable results on the job no matter what their area of employment is. One should commit themselves fully to the task at hand, not just try to do it. This kind of mentality will help begin to erase the notion that one cannot succeed at something new they are learning.