Mister Miyagi

Teacher to be guides in life and through individual transition

Photo of Emile Mazerant
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I find most of my BBA students to be intrinsically motivated to learn when they are given the safety of not yet knowing. Experiencing the rules and limitations they have learned to put on themselves along the way, enables them to break through. Guiding them in what questions could be asked on the subject of innovation and business creativity rather then telling them what others have found relevant and important, an atmosphere arose in which students started to help each other dig deeper. The power of asking questions has seemingly been undermined by the more measurable requirements of accreditation committees to reproduce answers. 

In discussion with my students on how they wish future education would look like (or how they had wished their education would have already been like), we found the metaphor of the Karate Kid movies in which Mister Miyagi is more of a guide in transition, rather than a traditional teacher, helping to ask the right questions and stimulating to find the answers themselves and try different ways. 

It requires goals to be stated and restated continuously. Where do I want to go to? Not being afraid that the path might change while walking it. Questions will pop-up along the way, and then and there students will be most receptive to learn and acquire and apply new knowledge and skills. The role of the teacher changes to the extent that he or she will be the person helping to ask the right questions and facilitating in discovering the right sources. 

Should education still have a curriculum? What purpose does education serve? Why do we have to finish in x years? When do we educate? What are the true needs of the consumers of education? Who are they anyway?

[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe what you learned from your empathy exercises or analogous research. (Ex: Good advisors make a difference.)

Help students design their own plane while flying it.


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Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri

I love thinking about the teaching approaches of Mr. Miyagi and helping students design their own plane while they fly it. As Ted Dintersmith said in his latest book and film, perhaps its our role as educators to  help students find their purpose. 

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