Engaging our Youngest Minds by Angela Maiers outlines the importance of "passion" in the educational experience. The author talks about how integrating technology into the classroom alone is not enough to engage our students in their learning. Educators must know their students and their passions in order for them to become fulfilled members of society. She outlines the story of a young child whose passion for science drove her to investigate about the needs of animals in danger. Instead of using technology as a way to learn information, technology can be used as a way for students to connect with others around the world who share similar passions. This child inspired the author to honor the talents and passions of all of her students.
I agree with the points the author is making in this presentation. Many successful individuals I know have followed a passion of theirs that has driven them to pursue and obtain their goals in life. Too often I have seen and reflect back on teachers who never really took the time to learn about their students' interests. Too often they will simply teach straight from the standards with little interest if any at all about what interests their students. With standardized tests among other things on place, I understand that teachers have materials they are required to teach their students. However, if individual passions were included in lessons from time to time, students may feel more engaged and interested in their educational experiences. This presentation reminds me of an orientation I attended last year at a school in South Carolina. The principal told us that one of the most important things to do is to "know your students." Build a connection with your students and more times than not your students will work hard for you.
Individuals all have different passions and interests. Sports and the Civil War have always been very interesting to me. Looking back, I wish I had a teacher who took the time to learn my passions and incorporated them into my learning rather than the usual lecture and book work lessons. If we can identify students' passions and assist them in acquiring more knowledge about their interests, I believe our students will be more engaged and driven in their pursuit of their life long goals.