Passion In Work
The other day, I was filling out some paperwork, organizing some things in my office, and working on a project that wasn’t the most exciting to be doing. It was hard to focus, but I had so much to get done. Now, I am an adult, but I had a hard time getting all my work done. I had a hard time focusing, and I struggled to manage my time. Eventually, everything got done, but it got me thinking about how we ask children and teens to do this all the time in school (or most schools and teachers do). We ask them to complete work, focus on subjects, sit still, learn, and to do it all in a timely manner. However, a lot of students resist. Most end up doing their work, but even those students would likely do better if we approached education in a different way.
In both my situation and the educational expectations of our kids, the thing that often is lacking is passion. I had no passion for the tasks I was doing. Similarly, students often lack passion for what they are learning and the work required of them.
How Do We Fix What is Missing?
So how do we convince kids to excel at the tasks, assignments, and subjects they learn? Passion. Passion is the solution. We have to either 1) show kids how to be passionate about the subjects they are learning or 2) provide space in education for each student to pursue their passion. Both of these solutions are valuable and possible. However, it is likely easier to cultivate the natural passions of a student rather than ask them to adjust their passions, though it may be necessary to ask them to adjust occasionally.
One model of education that allows for the students’ own passions is Project-Based Learning. In Project-Based Learning, Every day students are given time (70 minutes at Maharishi School) to work on a passion project. They problem-solve, experiment, falter and keep striving. Through the process, they learn real-world skills that will serve them when they are adults working on projects at their workplaces. Some of the Learning Goals for project learning are creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, a growth mindset, societal impact and service, interdisciplinary integration, development of student portfolios.
Not only does Project-Based Learning let the students figure out what they love, allow them to pursue their passions, equip them with essential skills, and show them their passions matter; it also helps them move forward in life by strengthening their portfolios for college and their resumes for future employment.
Project-Based Learning really is an amazing option for our students. We only want to see them excel, to reach their own goals, and to self-manage. This is an excellent way to learn those skills.
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