Three Idiots: A Must-See Movie for Any Parent or Teacher!

Wait! Do not be offended by the cover! This film, based on a best-selling book from India, is a must-see for every homeschooling parent everywhere! The story follows the lives of three young men who are engineering students in a top-notch university, and explores in a truly uplifting and moving manner how one approach to education can be disastrous, while another can be – literally – enlightening.

For example, take a look at the question of fear. How useful is it to motivate a student to excel through inducing fear –  fear of failing, fear of not living up to a parent’s expectations, fear of being left behind his or her peers, fear of being ‘wrong’? It would be impossible to ‘sum up’ the profound lessons on the subject offered in the film, but here’s an (abridged) quote just to give you an idea of the kind of topics the movie explores:

‘Even a lion in a circus can obey the crack of a whip. But we call that lion ‘well-trained’, not ‘well-educated’.’ 

Homeschoolers have a unique opportunity to choose the mood of their learning environment. Setting aside for a moment the inevitable challenges of coping with everyone’s individual bad days and preferences, a parent in the role of a teacher can choose between cultivating an atmosphere of competition, fear, exploration, excitement or nonchalance. Will a homeschool be like a circus, where the crack of the whip inspires obedience, and enthusiasm or understanding are treated as a possible byproduct of the process, but not a necessary means of motivation? Will it be a place where everyone learns what they want when they want, how they want, and independent of any external agenda?  Will some subjects be approached with discipline and little expectation of enjoyment, while others are expected to be ‘fun’? Is the student expected to outperform the parent, or vice versa? The homeschooling parent can decide these and many other things, based on their own belief system and their own (and their child’s) personality.

Whatever your approach to schooling is, Three Idiots is sure to captivate anyone in the role of a parent or teacher. Anyone with an interest in education, or who is trying to understand their own path in life, and their own successes and failures within and without the school system, is likely to find a ‘moment of truth’ somewhere in this story.

The film is in Hindi with English subtitles, but is really accessible, easy to watch and understand, and peppered with energetic songs and humour. It is a treat to watch – again and again! (If you are like me, and dread sad stories, rest assured that despite some moments of tragedy, it has ‘ein Happy End’, as the Germans say!)

I purchased a copy from, but Three Idiots seems to be available at Amazon as well. Of course it never hurts to ask if it’s somewhere in the library system of your city, and request a transfer. It’s worth digging around for!

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