Passion based learning is about taking a subject that may seem boring to someone and turning it into one of the most exciting and interesting subjects. In order to do this as a teacher I think the first thing we need to do is get excited about what we want to teach! Put an exclamation mark behind every sentence! Reading is great! Math is fun! Science is cool! Social studies is the best! Even while typing this out I was getting excited! Okay, I’ll stop with the exclamation marks (!).
This is the type of teacher I would love to be. Being so genuinely excited about something that it creates excitement right back. People are better at remembering things that are emotionally charged rather than things that are flat and neutral. One of the blogs that I really liked this week was “Passion-Based Learning for the 21st Century”. This blog talks about the how to change and break free from the educational system we have now and move into passion based learning. The main point that stuck out for me is that instead of focusing on ways to get the standards and curriculum across first, find out what the students are passion about first and then build the curriculum around that. Use the student’s passion as an entry point to teach the standards.
Another big point about passion based learning is that instead of being the classic model of a teacher who stands up in front of the class and talks till the sun goes down, just be a facilitator of student talk. Students want to talk, especially when they become passionate about something. Let the students debate about the subject, let them come up with the lessons, or let them research what they like about a topic and then have them explain what the relevance is. Thinking back to my own education I remember teachers trying to do this type of teaching, but something was always mixing, I never got interested in something unless I was confident about the topic, or actually interested in it. It also helped me learn when teachers were passionate about their subject.
I had a math teacher in high school, and I’m just awful at math by the way, something just doesn’t when it comes to numbers, but this math teacher made her classes fun because you could just tell she LOVED math. She was passionate about making sure all her students succeeded too. She made sure I passed the class even though it was like pulling teeth for both of us, but instead of just giving up or giving me the easy way out, she worked with me until I was able to pass using my own brain.
Another great blog is the School vs. Learning blog by George Couros. He has some very interesting ideas about the concepts of school vs. learning. My favorite one is “School is about consuming. Learning is about creating.” Sometimes I think the idea of school overshadows the love of learning. Learning should be student based and exciting rather than boring and reading out of a textbook constantly. Letting students create their own type of learning styles is a great way to get them interested in learning forever! (Last exclamation mark, for now…)!