I am passionate about animals, helping people/giving, and pizza. Being passionate about something makes it easier to do and easier to learn. There is no dread or burden, because we look forward to it. Students tend to stray away from passion, because they are told what is okay to be passionate about. Having said that, many students have their fire for passion dimmed down, because there is “reality.” What if as educators, we encouraged passion, not put a limitation to the imagination. What if students loved to learn as much as we would like them to?
Edutopia’s Passion-Based Learning article by Ainissa Ramirez encourages that we being passion for learning back into the classroom. Ramirez explains that there are two ways to get students passionate about something.
- Find out what each child is innately passionate about.
- Be an instructor that exudes passion for the topic, and infect your students with that excitement.
Being a passion-based teacher, incorporate student interests and turn their interests into passions. Be excited and show students that it’s great to be excited about something they find interesting.
“Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire.” (W.B. Yeats) When students are inspired or motivated to learn, they naturally absorb learning content. Engaged students are like a sponge—they soak up the nearest substance available to them. InformED’s online article 25 Ways to Institute Passion-Based Learning in the Classroom by Saga Briggs, there are numerous ways to encourage passion-based learning. There are a few that I feel spoke out to me. Let students share their passions. This is when students are seeking support from their teacher. Too often do we tell students what they measure up to. Positive feedback and enthusiasm is the best thing we as educators can give back to students sharing their passions. Introduce students to resources that help them exercise their passions. Feed students the opportunity to expand their knowledge and passion! Value all passions equally. No passion has a better value over another. If a student is passionate about something that you don’t find the subject being a passion (let’s say the passion is the color red), it is our moral skill to guide students, even if it is something unreasonable or silly.
Introduce the student to art—how many different shades of red there is: hot red, violet red, blood red, blush red, cheery red, deep red, etc. Introduce what emotions are ignited when red is in sight, what was the social status of red in the 17th century? Art, history, and psychology are all subjects that can be included with red. Allow for students’ passions to develop and change. With maturation, experience, and knowledge there is so much that can change. When I was 9, I wanted to be a Yellowstone National Park Ranger. At 17, I wanted to be a physical therapist. Growing up and experiencing life has made me a rich learner, more than just what is on the curriculum. Weave standards into passion-based learning. How amazing would it be if students were passionate about standards? That sounds like a wish granted from a fairy God-mother. Although not all standards are fun to teach/learn, there are many broad standards that can be tied in with some passion. Thank goodness as teachers, we get the fun part of planning how to deliver the content and exercise our personal teaching methods 🙂