My Take on Passion-Based Learning

George Couros makes many interesting points in his article, School vs. Learning.  As our world continues to grow and change, schools need to become a place that helps develop learners.  These learners will need to be able to adapt to change.  They will need to be able to change directions quickly and imagine new solutions to new problems and issues.  Learning is about creating and discovering. In our ever-changing world, it is essential to move school from memorizing facts in rigid to monotonous fashion, to encouraging students to question the world and engage their brains.

Passion-based learning is an interesting approach to allowing students to be more engaged and active in their learning.  In Kimberly Vincent’s article, Nine Tenets of Passion-Based Learning, she discusses several points about passion-based learning.  Her first point discusses how we want “creative, passion-driven students.”  She states that standards-based education “stifles engagement and passion.”  I disagree with that statement.  It is not the standards that are the problem.  The problem is that many teachers don’t seek creative approaches to teaching the standards.  The standards are about engaging higher-level thinking, which is what we strive for. The big question becomes how can we get passion into education.  We have to make things relatable and important for students.

Ainissa Ramirez’s blog on Edutopia discusses two ways to get a child passionate about something.  She states the two things are to find out what the child is passionate about and for the instructor to exude passion for the topic.  Students will become more interested in the topic if you are truly excited and passionate about it.  I am someone of a grammar “geek.”  I enjoyed diagramming sentences in junior high.  The English program we use at the elementary school I taught at last year was an intense program that included “coding” sentences.  I had second graders asking me if they got to code more sentences.  Those students started to enjoy coding sentences and they got pretty good at it too!  My passion and interest in it transferred to many of those students.

I am planning to try to implement some strategies to try to create a more passion-based classroom.  Currently, I am trying to plan for three English classes for the fall.  Part of that planning will include choosing literature that is of interest to these students.

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4 thoughts on “My Take on Passion-Based Learning

  1. We read the exact same articles. I found Ainissa’s blog post to be very though provoking and mind-opening. It sounds like you have a passion for English that will make you a great teacher!

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  2. I definitely agree with you that a teacher’s passion about a subject can inspire enthusiasm in others. I wonder if the criticism of learning standards is that some may focus on tasks that are easily measurable only because they’re easily measurable–not because they’re really the most important things students can learn. It’s very hard, after all, to measure or assess creativity, problem-solving, or critical thinking!

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    1. I think that many teachers look for the easy , measurable ideas. What many don’t understand is that you can create scoring rubrics to make any creative project “measurable.” It takes a little more effort , but is totally worth it.

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