Bring Passion Back to the Classroom

  • “Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.”

     — Anthony J. D’Angelo

     Do you ever feel like your students are just going through the motions? Has the passion for learning flickered out? It is time to reignite that passion and there are some simple ways for you, the teacher, to make it happen.

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    The first thing a teacher needs to do is understand that existential forces are not only directly impacting the classroom learning experience from the student perspective, but also their own.

    Like any relationship, problems must be identified before remedies can be applied.

    In this relationship, however, it is the teacher who must make the relevant changes. And that begins with creating lesson plans that stimulate passion and interest.

    Why passion is waning

    Research suggests that throughout the era of testing and accountability, students and teachers have been losing their passion for learning. Many students are completing their schoolwork just to earn enough points for a good grade or to avoid consequences from their parents.

    Teachers need to replace this “compliant” education with true student engagement and a love of learning. This requires assembling the tools that will help cultivate a thriving and passionate community of learners that are excited to come to school each day.

    Lesson plans that stimulate passion

    Teachers that create lesson plans that are truly engaging will foster a love for learning.

    By learning to create passionate and engaging lesson planning, teachers will be able to demonstrate or indicate:

    • The importance of presenting lessons/curriculum to students.
    • The importance of creating transitions that flow and do not delay a presentation.
    • Strategies for creating lessons that truly engage students and create a passion for learning.

    Teacher and student passion, passionate classroom communities and passionate and engaging lesson planning are all part of an overall teacher strategy for improved classroom management and renewed excitement. To do this properly, teachers need to evaluate existing lesson plans.

    Tips for fostering teacher and student passion

    Teachers should study various works on student engagement. Two helpful resources are: Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess and The Passion Driven Classroom by Angela Maier & Amy Sandvold.

    Teachers should read the above materials. They should then review existing lessons that they currently teach and look for all of the possible choices they can make to improve their presentation. For example, what should I wear, should music be played, should the lights should be on or off?

    As a teacher, why were those choices made? Did they prove effective at all?

    Some exercises:

    • Rewrite an existing lesson to include both a kinesthetic and art hook.
    • Rewrite another lesson to include a hook that involves student interest and real-world applications.
    • Rewrite yet another lesson to include any two hooks of your choice.
    • Write down how the readings above have helped to create lessons that will truly engage students and foster a passion for learning.

    Further tips for a passion payoff

    Creativity is key to creating passion in the classroom and it can come in many forms. For starters, students need to be encouraged to use their imaginations. Educators can foster creativity by allowing self-expression and having students pick their own topics whenever possible. By the same token, a rubric that is too strict may limit creativity and not allow room for a different approach. Instead, teachers can have students design their own rubric for a project, and teachers can approve it beforehand.

    It is ok to use social media. In fact, creating an interactive discussion group via Facebook or Google Hangouts can go far to bring students together to talk about assignments and study material.

    What interests your students? Once you know what students respond to, you can gear lesson planning toward those interests.

    If you are a teacher, take time for your own learning. Setting aside time for professional development, personal renewal and reflection is important to creating passionate learners.

    So if you are passionate about learning more on this topic, this course might be for you.