There is little in life that can elicit more results than true unbridled passion. It is a raging fire that burns within us that even the greatest storms cannot extinguish. Many people live life outside of their passions or failed to discover them. Education should not be separated from passion, but rather intimately connected. Unfortunately, for many students this is not a reality.
The number one priority of education should be to help one discover what is already within them. No educational process or instructional strategy can instill these talents, rather our aim should be to unearth them. Truthfully, if we can find a way to systematically yet personally accomplish this we would transform the school experience for an entire generation. The ability to solve problems and think critically will certainly be essential for success in tomorrow’s world yet none of it matters if we don’t help them discover the problems they actually care about.
There is no lack of problems in the world, but there is oftentimes a lack of empathy for those who experience them. Preparing students to examine the world, empathize with real people, and to discover problems that are worth solving would be nothing short of transformative. Students should have the freedom to utilize the knowledge they are gaining to actually make the world a better place. For example, when we are able to allow students to research topics that they feel passionately about we will find the quality of their work and overall education is greatly enhanced. Furthermore, when they are able to take that research and make their community better it takes on much greater meaning.
I firmly believe that the primary source of what I refer to as the engagement crisis in secondary schools is neglecting to recognize the role that passion plays in the learning process. I was not the most motivated student until my college years when my desire to learn was ignited by passion. My secondary school experience was much an exercise in compliance and my learning was driven by requirements instead of passion. Music was my exception and when I was given the ability to study it at the University level it ignited a passion for learning I had never before experienced. What can we do to transform our classrooms into opportunities for students to discover problems that matter to them? I’d be interested in hearing your feedback.