How to Help Any Age Student Awaken their Passion

This is an area which I have spent a lot of time “playing” with students. I have been searching for ways to awaken their inner genius, their passion, their desires...whatever you want to call it. When we do this, the following byproducts are created by default (and there are many more):

  • They feel more connected to you as someone who really cares

  • They remember that learning is fun

  • They begin to look at everything through a more relevant and effective perspective

Here are just three of the many ways which I have found help students of any age (and adults) recognize and connect with their own passion.

CHANGE ROUTINE

Whatever routines you have in place… change them for a while… then change them again. Change them in what at least appears a random shift of routine. Here are some of the things you can change, and keep in mind, that while there are some routines you will want to keep, what I’m talking about is shifting when they happen.

  • Lighting

  • Physical Space

  • Music Played

  • Order of events

Will this be uncomfortable at times? Yes. Absolutely. Routines followed over and over again, no matter how positive they are, breed boredom and that is the bringer of despair. It may not appear as despair at first, but over the years, routines unchanged lead to questions like “There has to be more than this, right?” To quote Sam from Sam the Ant, the book series created by my daughter and me, “There’s got to be more to life than just digging, right?”

Again, there are certain routines, like exercise, which are very important. I’m not saying to get rid of that. I’m saying try changing the placement of when and how you exercise.

FEWER PIECES… MORE DEPTH OF EXPERIENCE

Our days tend to be hurried. In general, adult society is rushed and we impose this, usually without realizing it, on our students. Think about our daily routines in a classroom, and how often we change gears. We many times end up spending as much time transitioning from one thing to another, as we do in discovery and practice. Try the following:

  • Lengthen the time you spend on any given area in your day with your students.

  • This may mean that on some days, certain things are not covered.

  • Before you say, “but our students level of focus can’t handle longer period of time”, and then think about what that means.

  • I am not saying to have them sit for hours without shifting. This can be done in context of longer learning moments.

I have done this with young learners, older learners and with my own day… this is a game changer. Why?

When we allow more time for learning, the process has time to evolve. Without enough time for the process to unfold, there really isn’t any process. There’s just content with very little, if any context.

EXPERIENCE… then REFLECT

Of the three suggested approaches, this one is the simplest and the most profound. Let me preface what I’m about to share by saying, “yes, we need to do some planning as teachers.” However, we sometimes spend so much time planning, that we become less open to experiences which unfold in ways which we did not anticipate. Whether it is a planned experience related directly to a learning topic, or a conversation which begins to happen naturally with your students, let it unfold.

Get out of the way and remember that the best teachers in the world are more like guides.

After the experience has had a lovely amount of time to breathe and touch the minds of everyone in the room, then reflect.

That’s it… let the experience unfold throughout your day… THEN reflect.

This will also pay great dividends in your personal life!

Cheers!

Enrique

IPN