Training Methods in the Jedi Community


Throughout the Jedi community, there are a number of different training methods. I have grouped them into rough categories, but be aware that some schools/sites use multiple methods and that there is a wide variation.

Potential students should consider several factors in choosing a training method and location/school:
• Their own goals and objectives as well as the objectives of the school
• The amount of self-direction and self-discipline they possess
• How consistent is their schedule
• Do they work well with other people or prefer to work alone

Self-paced & self-directed (“Solo”)

Solo study suits some people very well. In this method, a person chooses what to study to meet their own goals and finds the applicable resources. They may or may not be affiliated with a particular site. They may join discussions in order to advance their educational goals or for socialization.

If solo students wish, they may take an accreditation or “standards” exam at one of a couple of sites, depending upon the current policy of the site. Some allow independent students to take their school exam, and some do not. There is also discussion about “continuing education” for members of the community who have been gone for a long period.

Here at the Jedi Temple, solo students may want to look at Chris-Tien’s study guide (to be published later) for topic ideas. There are also a wide variety of materials available in the Library and in the discussion forum. Additionally, a number of books have been published that could serve as the basis for independent study.

Because of its nature, this type of study format is open and ongoing. If you have access to a library and can check out books, this method should be basically free.

Directed, self-paced (“Group”)

If you need or want a little more structure, you might consider a directed but self-paced group.

In this format, there is a set syllabus with recommended books and readings and assignments. However, each student may study at his or her own pace.

While students in a group do interact, most assignments can be done with minimal interaction with anyone in the group other than the group’s mentor. This, therefore, is a good format for people who have erratic schedules or who like to work at their own pace but still want guidance and interaction. Typically, a group has a single mentor and studies under that mentor for the entire period, which may be several years.

Upon completion of the course of study, each student takes their school’s certification or knighthood exam.

Course-based

This method is most similar to a college format. Students register for courses which will typically take 3 months to complete. Each course is graded and may have prerequisites.

Successful completion of a full course of study will involve taking a number of required, core classes plus some optional classes of the student’s choosing. Different courses are taught by different instructors, giving a variety of view points during the course of study.

Upon successful completion of core courses and a given number of optional courses, each student takes an accreditation exam.

This type of program is good for people who can commit to working on a course for a period of 3 months and who like a variety in instructors. Depending upon the class, a study may need to interact with other students in order to complete assignments.

With the increased ability to do synchronous or recorded classes, you may have the opportunity to join lectures via video conferencing software or watching videos online.

Master-Padawan

This is probably the most sought-after study method, owing to the Jedi movies and books. However, it is also one of the most difficult to arrange. It is also the most demanding of both the student and the teacher.

This mentoring course of study involves an instructor and student pair. Together, they negotiate what material needs to be learned and how that will be accomplished, often relying upon the everyday situations and challenges in the student’s life and in the local forum board’s discussions.

A master-padawan relationship can be very rewarding and lead to very in-depth learning on the part of both halves of the partnership. If you are interested in finding a master to instruct you, frequent forums of a variety of sites and see if you “click” with someone whose opinion you find you respect.There is often the temptation to rush the process of finding a master. Please, take your time and consider other ways of learning to become a Jedi.

Learning Community (“Cohort”)

The learning community model is a new one for the Jedi community and is probably something outside of most learners’ experience. Some key attributes of a learning community:

• They are largely democratic. The group sets its own: learning goals, topics, rules. The instructor is primarily a facilitator and guide and uses her authority only as much as necessary to remind the group of the agreed upon guidelines and handle logistical issues.

• They are usually long-lived groups. There is a certain amount of time required to develop trust in one another and learn to work together well.

• They usually operate by picking a topic, finding resources, reading resources or doing activities, and then discussing based upon what they’ve read or done.

• They require commitment by all parties. Generally, you need to agree to stick with the topic for however long it takes – a couple of weeks or a couple of months. (Ideally this timeline is negotiated before you start.) Participants need to read the material and come to discussions prepared. Participants need to read and post regularly. At least 2 to 3 posts per week during the discussion period. Because of this, members of the larger learning community might decide to opt out of a particular topic because it doesn’t interest them or because they have other things going on at the time and can’t commit to high quality of discussion.

• They are generally between 12 and 20 people, not including facilitator(s).

Workshops

Starting in 2002, face-to-face Jedi Gatherings not only gave the community a chance to see one another but also take workshops during these annual retreats.

An advantage to workshops and conferences is that you can work on embodied skills such as yoga and martial arts practice with in-person feedback and they get you away from the “keyboard Jedi” syndrome.

However, as with all conferences, you need to be able to make arrangements to attend, there can be significant expense involved, and your conference may not focus on the sorts of skills that you seek to develop.