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In Return of the Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi laments to Luke:

I thought I could train him [Anakin] as well as Yoda. I was wrong.

That got me to thinking: would Yoda have made a better teacher? I suppose Obi-Wan could have been simply referring to Yoda’s much greater experience with training young Jedi, but I wonder if there is something specific.

Is there anything in canon (including Legends) to suggest that Yoda’s teaching style/methods would have been a better fit for a unique case such as Anakin? To my knowledge, we’ve only seen Yoda in “teaching mode” twice: once in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and again in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

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    Let's have a look. Yoda taught Dooku who went on to murder billions. Kenobi taught Vader who went on to murder billions. Hmm. It's a toss-up which of them was the bigger chump. – Valorum Jan 2 '16 at 17:55
  • @Richard - oups, didn't see your comment before posting my answer. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 2 '16 at 18:15
  • @DVK - Miss! He stole my comment! Miss! Miss!!! – Valorum Jan 2 '16 at 18:18
  • @Richard - we should ask on Law.SE if comments are stealable. Anyway, I only did Salvatore, so you can add Werde and script to trump that with more cannon. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 2 '16 at 18:26
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Potentially, yes. Whilst one of his direct apprentices - Dooku - fell to the dark side, Yoda had been training Jedi for over 800 years (Databank). So his strike rate was pretty good.

The reasons for Dooku's fall don't seem to be related to his training from Yoda. The short story is, it was down Dooku's disgust with the corruption of the Senate and the impotence of the Galactic Republic, which would still be there as a catalyst regardless of Yoda's training.

Even if Yoda was directly responsible for all the Lost Twenty, he has vastly more experience than Obi-Wan and far more success stories than failures.

Yoda was responsible for mentoring the younglings, as per Attack of the Clones, whereas Obi-wan wasn't involved in this process, so it could be said that all Jedi were somewhat trained by Yoda.

Indeed Obi-wan did make that claim in The Empire Strikes Back:

Obi-Wan: [voice] Was I any different when you taught me?

enter image description here

Anakin skipped this training and went straight to being Obi-wan's padawan. Obi-wan himself had only just stopped being a Qui-gon's padawan and was a newly minted Jedi Knight. From the end of The Phantom Menace:

YODA : Confer on you, the level of Jedi Knight the Coucil does. But agree on you taking this boy as your Padawan learner, I do not.
OBI-WAN : Qui-Gon believed in him. I believe in Qui-Gon.
YODA : The Chosen One the boy may be; nevertheless, grave danger I fear in his training.
OBI-WAN : Master Yoda, I gave Qui-Gon my word. I will train Anakin. Without the approval of the Council if I must.
YODA : Qui-Gon's defiance I sense in you. Need that, you do not. Agree, the council does. Your apprentice, young Skywalker will be.

(script sourced from imsdb)

The bulk of Jedi with Yoda's influence don't go bad, one Jedi who skipped this process does.

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    But... but... Obi-Wan's failure wiped out the Sith in the end, so he still beats Yoda :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 2 '16 at 18:40
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    I'm not sure a lifetime of modest successes can make up for mentoring the guy who bankrolled both sides of a war that killed billions. – Valorum Jan 2 '16 at 18:45
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    @Richard - I guess, the consensus is, they should have just given Anakin to Beru (or bloody well left him with Mom till age of 19). Failing that, a random 5 year old Padawan would probably have succeeded better as a Master. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 2 '16 at 18:59
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Yoda would likely have been a better teacher than Obi-Wan, but Anakin probably still would have turned to the dark side.

As @NikolaiDante pointed out Yoda has much more experience training Jedi than Obi-Wan, and Obi-Wan had just barely achieved Jedi Knighthood when Anakin became his Padawan. In that sense, Yoda certainly would have been a better teacher.

However, we saw Yoda counsel Anakin on his visions of Padme's death in childbirth, and his advice was extremely poor given Anakin's circumstances (Padme was already pregnant, and Anakin knew it):

YODA: Premonitions . . . premonitions . . . Hmmmm . . . these visions you have . . .

ANAKIN: They are of pain, suffering, death . . .

YODA: Yourself you speak of, or someone you know?

ANAKIN: Someone . . .

YODA: . . . close to you?

ANAKIN: Yes.

YODA: Careful you must be when sensing the future, Anakin. The fear of loss is a path to the dark side.

ANAKIN: I won't let these visions come true, Master Yoda.

YODA: Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them, do not. Miss them, do not. Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed, that is.

ANAKIN: What must I do, Master Yoda?

YODA: Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.

Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith

In Yoda's defense, Anakin did not tell Yoda that his premonitions involved the death of his wife in childbirth. Nonetheless, given Anakin's circumstances Yoda's advice was incredibly insensitive -- he literally told Anakin to "rejoice" that his wife (and possibly child) would die in childbirth.

Yoda's advice was probably a factor in Anakin's decision to turn to the dark side: the Jedi (via Yoda) were essentially telling him to "be happy" about his wife's death, whereas the Sith (via Palpatine/Sidious) were offering him a chance to save her.

The only way I think Yoda might have prevented Anakin's turn to the dark side would have been if Yoda had managed to better teach Anakin why the Jedi are forbidden from attachments before Anakin and Padme became romantically involved. But once Anakin and Padme's relationship turned romantic, it was too late for the Jedi to tell Anakin to avoid attachment and "rejoice" at the deaths of loved ones. Furthermore, since Yoda was oblivious of Anakin's marriage I don't know if Yoda would have been able to prevent Anakin from starting a romantic relationship with Padme.

In short: Yoda would have been a better teacher than Obi-Wan because he had more experience in training Jedi, but that likely would have made no difference in preventing Anakin from turning to the dark side. Since the outcome would have been the same (Darth Vader), it's a moot point.

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    Awsome find! +1. Also, -100000 to the Jedi. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 3 '16 at 6:51
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    The problem with yoda is.....he was a jedi though and though. And that was what brought the order down in the end. They were just too jedilike in their way of thinking and in letting things come and go – Thomas Jan 3 '16 at 14:34
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NO. He would not have made a "better" teacher,

... at least by an obvious margin, because Yoda taught Anakin's predecessor,

  • also known as Count Dooku,

  • also known as Sidious's Sith Apprentice Darth Tyranus.

Dooku was Yoda's Padawan as per AotC.

“I have become more powerful than any Jedi,” Dooku countered. “Even you, my old Master!”
...
Fought well, you have, my old Padawan,” Yoda congratulated, and his lightsaber began to move out, just a bit, forcing Dooku back.
(R.A. Salvatore AotC novelization)


Mind you, he wouldn't have been much worse either, what with Obi-Wan's wonderful instruction to Luke like:

  • "don't trust your father, he has no good in him, not like he can turn back to the Light side and kill the Emperor" .

  • "You MUST kill your father. Even if that is what the Emperor wants you to do to fall to the Dark Side. 'cause I was unconscious the last time Sidious pulled this 'kill my last Apprentice, my new Apprentice' trick so I don't know how that works"

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