Sunday, April 11, 2010

What is Your Passion?

Several times in recent weeks, I have asked teachers or parents to describe what motivates a child or what does he like or want to spend his time doing. It occurs to me that what I am really asking about is what is the child's passion.

I learned that one student loves to ride horses. Another is a Super Mario Brothers fiend. Hockey and soccer seem to bring out the passion in many of my students.

I noticed in recent weeks that most of the students with an identified passion are successful at school. My frequent flyers (lots of discipline) are tougher to figure out. In fact, in Student Support Team meetings, we often can't identify a single motivator or passion. Sometimes I will ask the student. In other cases, just asking the question can change the tone of a discipline meeting. Parents want to know that we want to know about their child. 

In March, I listened to an interview with Sir Ken Robinson on his recent book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. That same evening, I participated in a large, online discussion, called #edchat, about passion in education. There was much to be inspired by. A member of my Personal Learning Network (PLN), Steven W. Anderson, blogged about some of the same events in much more detail and is worth a read. 

Any discussion about passion is bound to raise, well, passions. The discussion online and the interview were lively and varied. One thing that we all agreed on was that as educators, it is our responsibility to find ways to connect to our students. If we know their passions, we may find just the right connection.

What is your passion?