Lessons in Teaching from KungFu Panda
While for most viewers it was Po, the Panda, who was at the centre of the universe, for me, Oogway and Shifu stole the show. Well, it’s natural for us to pay more attention to our heroes, the Arjuna and the Karna, but let’s spend a moment on the Dronacharya or the Parashuram of the movie, and see what they did so well to make Panda possible.
Believe in your Student
In this amazing scene that happens under a peach tree, Shifu shows up to inform Oogway that Tai Lung, the dark warrior, has escaped out of prison and is coming for the dragon scroll. While nothing may seem far from impossible to Shifu, Oogway encourages him to believe that Panda can be trained and can defeat Tai Lung. Still struggling with this idea, Shifu commits to ‘trying’ it.
With all our prejudices and past experiences, it is easy for us as humans to give up on dreams, goals, relationships even. For a teacher though, believing in his or her students is the single most important, but also perhaps the most difficult thing to do.
If you think even one of your student might not be able to achieve the goals you have set for her, she certainly won’t.
Set Clear, Meaningful Goals
If there was one thing that was very clear to the Panda, right from day 1, it was the end goal. Defeating this dude:
No matter how far-fetched the end goal may be, or difficult the path may seem, there’s a certain element of purpose, enthusiasm even, when goals are clear and meaningful.
When education will start connecting with students at that level, we’ll see more of Pandas in the making.
Customize your Instructions
In one of the most hilarious instances of the movie, the Panda asks Shifu “Even if you had a 100 years, how would you turn this into the Dragon Warrior?” Shifu took some time to arrive at an answer, but in the process unlocked the biggest key to success in teaching: align your instructions to your student’s interests. Panda’s interests were more than clear all the while, and Shifu didn’t take long to change his ways for his student.
“If they can’t learn the way you teach, teach them the way they learn.”
Believe in your student. Aim for something worthwhile. Modify instructions as per the need of the student. BAM! You have the recipe for success