Learning/Teaching with/through Passion

photo courtesy of cafetruth.com

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photo courtesy of conditionforlife.com

Passion-based learning is taking the country by storm.

Oh, how I wish the previous statement were true. Passion-based learning should be taking the country by storm. This model of learning invigorates students and causes them to want to learn. I found a couple of articles that give ways to do this, to encourage students’ passions by leading by example.

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photo courtesy of elliottcaras.com

Kimberly Vincent’s “Nine Tenets of Passion-Based Learning”  suggests that “we must switch from a control narrative in the classroom to a passion narrative”. This means that we need to change things in the classroom. We need to passionate about our subjects, the topics within them, and the passions of our students. Our being passionate will spread the passion to the students: “Being transparent with students and building relationships with them beyond the classroom can help drive learning- students work harder with people who matter to them”. We need to become more than teachers to students. I don’t know if I agree with this one hundred percent. I can see and understand the reasoning behind it, but I think that there needs to be some authority. I understand that you can have affection and authority, but I don’t know that getting too close to your students (i.e. being friends on Facebook or following them on Twitter) is a good idea. I do agree with Vincent’s assertion that we need to be passionate about the topics we are teaching. If we are passionate about them, then students will be as well. I also agree with Vincent when she says we need to connect with parents. Usually both parents and teachers have a student’s best interest at heart. I say usually here, because I know that’s not always true. I think that seeing education as a partnership between teachers and parents is a great approach to passion-based learning. In most cases, parents know what their children are passionate about, and can give teachers a good idea of the approach to take with them.

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photo courtesy of freespiritsunited.com

Sara Brig’s “25 Ways to Institute Passion-Based Learning in the Classroom” gives amazing ideas to teachers for inserting passion into the classroom. I’m not going to list all of them because there are so many with so many ways to institute them. I love so many, almost all, of these examples, and I suggest anyone who wants to enter the education system, or with children in school, implement these suggestions. I especially love “Let students share their passions”, “set aside time to let passions flourish”, and “share your passions with the students”. First, “share your passions with the students”. I don’t mean tell them your life’s story. I mean give them your passion. I would tell my students that I love to read anything I can get my hands on, I mean anything. I also love to write. I write fiction, non-fiction, and literary analysis. I’m not telling them something that they don’t want to know, I’m just giving them a little information about me, what I am passionate about. “Let students share their passions”. This means that we are non-judgmental. No one has the right to make fun of another person’s passions, whether we share them or not. For instance, one of my fictional students LOVES Twilight. I, personally, think that it is a waste of paper. I don’t tell my student “That’s stupid, pick something else”, I tell him/her “That’s awesome! Why don’t you write a fan fiction for your passion exercise?” Even though I’d rather watch paint dry than read a fan fiction from a book that I hate, I’m not going to stifle student creativity or judge him/her for what they love. My reaction is to be passionate about what students are passionate about, because that passion is infectious, like laughing or yawning. Finally, “set aside time to let passions flourish”. This means giving time in the classroom for passions. If you’re teaching in a school with block scheduling, this may mean that you give thirty minutes twice a week to it; if you’re teaching in a school with regular scheduling, this may mean one class period, which I would do on either Monday or Friday (both days that students don’t want to work). This is time for that student who loves Twilight to write the fan fiction or the student who likes theater to read/watch plays, or the student who likes art to read about surrealist painters. These passions aren’t the same, yet what they do with them fit in my subject (English). I think that it’s possible to use a student’s passion and incorporate it into your subject, it is a great way to help students learn without them actually realizing that they’re learning (kinda like tricking kids into eating vegetables).

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photo courtesy of opencolleges.edu.au

Our passions move us. We can use passion to teach, to learn.

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2 thoughts on “Learning/Teaching with/through Passion

  1. I have similar concerns about becoming friends with student on Facebook and other social media sites. I think we need to be cautious. I am excited about you list of 25 ways to implement Passion-based learning in the classroom. Thank you for sharing!!

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    1. I just think it’s a bad idea to “friend” students. Maybe if you had a specific account for your class that shares only school things, like reactions to readings or questions about certain things, but I wouldn’t want students to be on my personal pages.

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