The Many Lessons That Star Wars Can Teach

Illustration for article titled The Many Lessons That Star Wars Can Teach

Proof that we have taken over culture, or a sign that the education of future generations is irreparably flawed? You be the judge, as Alabama's Huntsville Times reports on a school that has done more than take Star Wars to its heart - it's taken it into its curriculum, as well.


The Times' Pat Newcomb shows off the kind of cynicism that you'd expect as soon as the article begins:

Luke Skywalker is not just a character in a series of films to David Golden, an English teacher and football coach at Hazel Green High School. The Jedi knight is an epic hero, whose rise, fall and redemption are part of a story rife with classic archetypes we all know through our collective unconscious as described by the psychologist Carl Jung.


What Golden is doing is using the original trilogy as a tool to teach ninth-graders about basic literary concepts like foreshadowing, symbolism and the importance of getting your hand cut off by your father who's turned into an evil cyborg obeying a wrinkled old man who can shoot lightning out his hands. Surprisingly, the kids seem to be digging it:

When Haylee Johnson was in eighth grade, she heard she would have to watch the Star Wars movies if she was in Golden's class.

"I thought it was the dumbest thing I had ever heard," Haylee said. Her dad had been trying to get her to watch the movies with him, and she had always refused, completely uninterested in them.

She's paid close attention to the movies in class, though. Golden's comments throughout the movies also helped her make the connections to the literary elements.

"I didn't realize there was so much English in Star Wars," she said.

Jason McDaniel thought the movies would be "corny," but watching them has helped him "break things down," giving him a way to relate the archetypes.

"There's more to Star Wars than just light sabers and lasers," he said.

Jason said he may even go back and watch the movies for the parts they skipped in class. His dad has the whole collection, and "they're not bad for an old movie."


Okay, first off? I kind of hate Jason for being such a snot-nosed little bastard with that last comment. But more importantly, this development should not only be noted, but adopted by educational establishments worldwide. I want to see classes about literary elements in Star Wars, the importance of the screwdriver as a utility tool in Doctor Who and the metaphorical possibilities of a Stargate, whether SG-1 or Atlantean.

Hazel Green High English teacher turns to 'Star Wars' trilogy to help students understand the epic [Everything Alabama]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


Josh Wimmer

@NefariousNewt: Well, I'm not gonna argue for Star Wars as high art, but for teaching concepts like foreshadowing and symbolism to ninth-graders, I think they're sufficient.

I don't know enough about the teacher's whole curriculum to judge how he's doing, but American conventional wisdom suffers from a notable disconnect: On the one hand, we complain that so many kids aren't doing well enough in school; on the other hand, we're instantly suspicious of any schoolwork that doesn't seem like, well, work.