This week’s reading and researching led me down an interesting train of thought. You know those moments when in your head, you think you made an intellectual breakthrough, and then realize you make no sense when you try to put those thoughts into words? That’s me right now. So bear with me as I try my best to make sense of the semi-scattered thoughts in my head!
It all started with the idea of passion based learning. This is when you take something that is of personal interest, and you learn about it. It could be anything you are interested in! From a teacher’s perspective, I love the idea of this type of assignment. I feel like students will engage so much more in the learning process if they are personally invested in the subject matter. Then, the realist in me came out. How could you find the time in the school day to implement a passion based learning project? And, how could you back up passion based learning projects when someone questions you? If you are a skeptic like me, I would recommend reading 25 Ways to Institute Passion Based Learning In the Classroom and My Journey Teaching Through Passion Based Learning. Both of these articles provide specific tips for implementing a passion based learning project together.
Then, I read School vs. Learning by George Couros. Here is a little taste of the point he was trying to make:
School promotes starting by looking for answers. Learning promotes starting with questions.
School is about consuming. Learning is about creating.
School is about finding information on something prescribed for you. Learning is about exploring your passions and interests.
Schools teaches compliance. Learning is about challenging perceived norms.
School is scheduled at certain times. Learning can happen any time, all of the time.
School often isolates. Learning is often social.
School is standardized. Learning is personal.
School teaches us to obtain information from certain people. Learning promotes that everyone is a teacher, and everyone is a learner.
School is about giving you information. Learning is about making your own connections.
School is sequential. Learning is random and non-linear.
School promotes surface-level thinking. Learning is about deep exploration.
Following me so far? I hope so! I love Couro’s article because he what he uses to describe learning, also describes a passion based project!
After this article, my brain immediately went to critical thinking. Critical thinking skills have been part of a noticeable shift in the way we educate. Teaching critical thinking skills have slowly worked their way into standards. Now, here is what Edutopia has to say about critical thinking skills:
It’s an approach to teaching that allows students to make sense of the content. They analyze the content, they evaluate the content, and they’re able to apply it to their daily lives. Teachers ask specific questions to get the students to do those things.
Not only does Couro describe a passion based project, but I also think he describes critical thinking skills. If you look at both of the blocks of text I shared, I underlined and bolded the similarities!
Long story short, this is what I got out of my reading. Teachers are supposed to be teaching critical thinking skills. We have Couro’s descriptions of learning (which has a great deal of similarities to critical thinking). We have passion based learning projects. These three components can allow us as teachers to implement a passion based learning project help our students grow, while still maintaining educational standards! We’ve got all the pieces, we just need to put the puzzle together. Passion based learning: a win for all involved in my book!