Passionate Learning

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Photo CC By Anthony Easton

Months ago I saw a screenshot of a conversation held on Tumblr that so perfectly summed up why students often times love to learn but hate school.  And now I can’t find it and I kick myself for not saving it!  But George Couros’ blog post, “School vs Learning” covered it fairly well (http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/4974).  My favorite quote from the article is that if “students become learners as opposed to [individuals] learning stuff” then school becomes exciting. But, because “school is standardized” the “learning is [not] personal.” Often, education becomes too much about what exactly every single person needs to know. Yet, viewing education as droplets of water filling a bucket instead of a match starting a ceaseless fire (as W.B. Yeats so beautifully explained) doesn’t work. Right now, in most classrooms, learning and school are different entities entirely. There are ways to once again meld the two and make sure that “learning promotes that everyone is a teacher, and everyone is a learner.”

How do we create a learning environment at school? Part of the solution to the problem is passion. Passion is a powerful tool. Passion “… can make what was once dull now desirable” according to Edutopia’s article “Passion-based Learning” (http://www.edutopia.org/blog/passion-based-learning-ainissa-ramirez).  Passion can’t be faked; if it isn’t genuine it is easy to see through.  But genuine passion is incredibly contagious.

A reason behind why passion-based learning is helpful to students is because “People are better at remembering information that is emotionally charged” as the article “25 ways to Institute Passion-based Learning in the Classroom” (http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/25-ways-to-institute-passion-based-learning-in-the-classroom/) claims.  As I previously mentioned, passion can’t (and shouldn’t!) be faked, but where passion doesn’t exist excitement still can.  As Saga Biggs wrote in the 25 Ways article, a teacher should “value all passions equally.”  This means that “though you may harbor a secret fondness for the student who pores of Shakespeare during your 7th grade reading period, [you] encourage the student who brings a fly-fishing guide to class as well.”

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4 thoughts on “Passionate Learning

  1. I think so, too. When I took art classes I was genuinely terrible at every assignment. But because my teacher could see the effort I put into it and could (I hope, anyway) see improvement, he was super nice and encouraging. If he would have clearly favored the best artists it would have been very discouraging. I hope I can do this for all of my students.

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