Thursday, March 12, 2015

How do you infect students with a passion for learning? #YourEduStory

How do you infect students with a passion for learning?

I had to sit on this question for a bit. My initial reaction was: be passionate yourself. Then, I thought about my former students and the teachers I work with.

I am very passionate about what I do. I love teaching and I love my content. However, you could give me the most passionate chemistry teacher and I don't know if I'd develop a passion for chemistry or learning based on that one factor.

Sadly, developing a passion for learning can be as simple as showing your own passion for learning. But, it's not always that simple.

I like to envision my most challenging learners when I plan anything and plan for them. I think about some of my students I had my first years of teaching: several who where becoming teenage moms, some addicted to drugs, and some living out of their cars. And, I think about what would/does make them passionate about learning.

And, my best answer: choice and hope.

It's a combination of you showing your own passion, giving them choice, and providing them with hope. In order to be passionate about something, you need hope that there is an opportunity for you. And, before any of that can occur, you need the choice and space to find out what makes you passionate.

I love learning and, under a passionate chemistry teacher, I may enjoy chemistry, it, alone, will never make me a passionate learner. We must accept that not ever student will be passionate about the same things we will. However, we can make them passionate about the one thing we all are: learners.

And, to do that, we have to provide students with choice in whatever they do. Though, there is not always an opportunity for choice in every assignment, we need not be discouraged or irritated by students if they do not find passion in what we teach.

Providing multiple ways for a student to express understanding gives them the opportunity to explore an interest. This is the first step. Once that has been established, we can guide students to their area of passion.

How do you infect students with a passion for learning?

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