Sunday, October 27, 2013

Passion vs. Engagement

Is it a teacher's job to create passion in a child?  A friend of mine was asking herself this one day as she listened to a woman "verbally bash" the school her son attends.  The woman was complaining that the school's reading program was boring and ineffective in creating passion.  This made my friend upset and she responded by stating that it's not a teacher's job to create passion, their job is to teach how to read, write, etc, etc.  I wasn't so sure I agreed at first when I heard the story, but it was a quick judgment.  As I mulled it over I realized creating passion isn't a teacher's job.

A teacher's job is many things, but generating passion is a byproduct, a possible result of the way a teacher presents his or her topics.  Passion is a wonderful thing to have in a classroom, it makes learning a little easier, but classroom teachers are not the only kind of teacher in a child's life; passion can be influenced by parents, friends, or other person a child looks up to.

We can create engaging experiences by using our senses, incorporating objects of interest, playing a game, or whatever works for your children's needs.  For me, I help my son with his kindergarten math by playing games with objects of interest to him.

We use Legos, rocks, dominoes, board game pieces, and cook together.  If we're reinforcing reading we look at books that interest him, draw alphabet mazes, play silly rhyming games, and hunt for sight words at the store.

I think the woman my friend spoke to was mistaking engagement for passion.  No one can create passion for someone, but you can build a physical and social environment that you hope will support and nurture it for them.  If you happen to be the "teacher" whose job is to teach a child to read, but she isn't passionate about it, what is she passionate about that will help her learn to read?  That's engagement; something any teacher can create.

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  1. this is a really great post. It made me think a lot about what my son is passionate about and how I do/could use it to help him learn. I guess the problem with many main stream schools is the class size. Often teachers don't have the time/capacity to personalise a child's learning journey with what that child truly cares about. I guess thats were parents need to step up. Thanks for sharing at the Sunday Parenting Party. I'm pinning to our pinterest board

    1. It's complicated with class size, but I believe a teacher can be engaging for a majority of a class, even if he or she can't tailor to specific interests.


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