Post by Tracy Rosen, Education Consultant, RECIT Provinicial Service for General Adult Education
A while back I began to prepare for a workshop on Blogging with Passion and I soon realized that I was not going to be able to deliver what I promised. The problem was that the more I thought about it the more I realized that one will only blog with passion if two very critical elements are in place:
A passion for something and a desire (or passion) to write about it in public.
This will not be true for every single person in your classroom – it may not even be true for one person in your classroom!
When we talk about blogging, there are too many different implications – Why do we want to bring blogging into the classroom? Because we think we can trick students into being engaged in the writing process through technology? Because we like to write online so we think our students will too? And, in this day of media sharing – what exactly is blogging anyways? Does it have to be only about writing?
So I decided that I needed to look at a slightly different question: how do we cultivate passion in learners? This was an important question for me because we know that passion – that fire that raises the velcro on our brains and makes us want to learn – is the key to motivation.
And I realized that it has to do with our passion as teachers.
Have you ever been inspired while watching a TED talk? This one does it to me all the time:
It is inspiring because it is so obvious that Rita Pearson (1952-2013) loved what she did – that she had a true passion for relationship-based teaching and her passion was contagious. Each time I watch that video she connects with me on a deep level with my own passion for the same. She modeled relationship-based teaching through the stories she told about her own teaching experiences. She made me care about what she had to say.
As teachers we are our students’ primary models for learning. So how do we make our students care about what we have to say? How do we cultivate passion in our learners? We model it. If I want passionate learners, I need to model passionate learning. By showing how important learning is to me, by being excited about the learning process, by making a connection to my students through the stories I tell as I teach, I am modeling passionate learning. I am also modeling how to give voice to what I care about, whether it be through public speaking, writing, or multimedia.
Once I do this, then what? I need to provide an outlet for them. Blogging could come into play here because blogging is a fabulous tool when you have a passion to share, when you love something so much you want to write, talk, show – create – about it.
The secret here is that the blog is not the star of the story. It isn’t the point of what is happening in the classroom because it is just a tool, one of many, to help someone share their story. A traditional blog could be the tool used to share stories through writing but stories can also be shared in so many other ways – through video documentaries or animations, spoken word, public speaking or even via twitter! The point – regardless of the subject you teach – is to model a passion for learning as well as different ways to share this passion and then to allow students to do the same.
For more on passion and learning:
Passion-Based Learning by Ainissa Ramirez on Edutopia
The Carrot and Stick Approach (and everything else he writes) by Michael Doyle on Science Teacher Blog
What Students Really Need to Hear by Chase Mielke on AffectiveLiving Blog