The Dragon Warrior — Teaching Vs. Coaching

Education is one of the unique skills humans have achieved during their evolution. There are some species who share a very limited version of it like some birds, but what incredibly made humans to be able to grow and develop with an insane speed was education. It means that each of us nowadays carry experience and information of millennials and centuries. From wheel and fire to computers. From sharing the prey to human rights. Education as a concept itself also was subject to evolution based on the knowledge and needs of its time. When it was the time to teach children to hunt, they did over experience and indication. The same for agriculture. In some periods education was implicit with the pain of the period you live in. So you learn how to save and survive during famine, how to be kind to one another during wars and then how to make peace. And sometimes after explicit when industrialization came into play. There was the need for mass workers with the same knowledge for mass production of the same object. There was the need for the mass of everything, and indeed of engineers, doctors, farmers, etc. So humans made worker factories which produce mass knowledged objects; they named these factories: Schools, Universities, Academia.

However, when machines came to play, the era passed and the needs changed. The media became to another shape and transformed from 1-to-all like TV and Journals to all-to-all like social media and through internet. Almost every aspect of human being changed but education! The same way we go to schools as in 200 years ago where there was no need of innovation, because there was no enough room for producing and realizing it. We are stuck in the mass production education. Academia is stuck. It is helpless and useless. There is no room for creativity and progress. There are teachers who define who we are or who we can or should be. They do not believe in us, and they were not believed in neither but their own teachers. By certain set of stereotypical features of you they determine your future and destiny. But that is not what this era needs in education. We do not need to control, we need to guide! We need no teacher, we need coach. Watch this this video, part of Kung Fu panda movie.

When the grand master Oogway tells the shifu that the horror of what happened is a bad news but if you do not believe in the capabilities of his student. And the teacher with a humiliating tone mentioning the race of the student answers:

The panda?! Master, that panda is not the Dragon Warrior. He wasn’t meant to be here! It was an accident.

And this grand master Oogway responds calmly that:

There are no accidents. My old friend, the panda will never fulfill his destiny, nor you yours, until you let go of the illusion of control!

Millions of people everyday are being judged by the people above them in the hierarchy for an atypical mind structure they follow. Then they become afraid of mentioning their ideas and that is where the world becomes colorless. It has been a quite long time already that we have stuck in firm definitions of correct and incorrect. Whoever follows the predefined rules of ages ago, will get award (good grade, promotion, grant, publication) and whoever does not fit into the form will be judged and ignored. In this world of forms there is no room for innovation.

Look at this tree, Shifu. I cannot make it blossom when it suits me, not make it bear fruit before its time.

Said Oogway to describe the illusion of control he mentioned earlier. But the Shifu is still bound to the forms he has learnt. Treats all the peaches the same way regardless of each specific features and needs. Does not consider the difference of care the different seeds might need to grow…

  • But there are things we can control. I can control when the fruit will fall. And I can control where to plant the seed. That is no illusion, Master.
  • Yes. But no matter what you do that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange, but you will get a peach.
  • But a peach cannot defeat Tai Lung!
  • Maybe it can. If you are willing to guide it. To nurture it. To believe in it.

We need a world of care. The sick education systems should be burnt to ashes and new ways of educations be reborn from it. Treating all the students as same, expecting the same results, assignments, and answers is nothing but an assassination of innovation and brightness. Each person has a unique identity which carries a unique understanding of the world. In such case, there is no definition of correct and incorrect in the way of being. An examination which in the same setting and situation expects the same answer from everyone in order to evaluate them as good or bad. It is the same as a famous saying that if you ask a fish to climb a tree, what she does is to regret all her life that she is not capable of doing it.

Unfortunately every moment in this world, there are ideas being murdered and Minds being imprisoned. It is time to let go of our illusion of control and shape our new education system. A system which considers each one’s different features and capabilities. A system which would provide the same opportunity of learning to everyone. A system which does not teach, but coach. An Oogway, not a Shifu.