McCormack Media

This conversation is closed.

How do you ignite a passion for education in young people?

Is it through cutting edge, new technology? or perhaps challenging students to a higher level of thinking? I believe we need to ignite curiosity in young people not only to gain knowledge but to be accountable for their own growth.

  • thumb
    Feb 23 2012: Technology has its attractions.

    There's a lot of staid content that should go.

    Teachers should be relieved of much of the pointless admin they are required to do for the purposes of detached and out-of-touch education ministries and their so-called leaders.

    Less explicit teaching of how we learn and more doing..
  • Feb 28 2012: In most systems, teachers ‘tell’ students what they believe their students need to know – albeit with the very best intentions – rather than allowing students to explore a field, subject or topic themselves. Students who are encouraged to see the endless potential for wonder in every area of life – and to see the education system as a structured support for their own exploration of those areas of life – are only too willing to learn. Education should be like a game of dress-up: there is no single way to dress up; rather the whole point is to rummage through the clothes, the accessories, all the bric-a-brac there and to use your own imagination, instinct and personality to create something. Mum may help you put your hat on straight, trim your cape and pin the brooch on so you don’t stab your finger, but the character you create is yours alone. Teachers need to remember it’s the kids’ lives they’re helping to shape, not their own image they need to re-create.
  • thumb
    Feb 24 2012: For young people purge the program of rote and memorization. Display the delectable fruits of learning. When they see how delightful the fruit is they will want to know how to participate in the harvest. Plato said it best, QUOTE: "Let early education be a sort of amusement: you will then be better able to find out the natural bent." -- The Republic, Book VII, 537.
  • Feb 23 2012: Well, in my experience as a student, part of the reason I didn't take education seriously until college was the fact that I was always told that due to being taught to pass a test, I was repeatedly told that even relevant and related information was irrelevant. The best way to ignite passion for education would probably be to throw out the standardized testing system. There also needs to be more projects that are both productive and fun.

    Then again, this is coming from someone who repeatedly thought about dropping out. Only reason I'm in grad school now is based on a mixture of stubbornness and spite.
  • thumb
    Feb 23 2012: Well in my experience, I would have to say to make young people passionate about education, do not send them to school.

    If I could create the best learning environment for my kids, I would have had them in a group of about 10 kids of similar ages. Up until the age of 10 or so we would be learning outside and at museums, concerts, art galleries, and trips to exotic places like the beach.

    Then they could start some formal training around age 10. Classes in the morning and career exploration (on jobsite), arts, music and volunteerism in the afternoon.

    All day school would start sometime around age 12-14.

    But that would be if I ruled the world;)
    • thumb
      Feb 24 2012: Ms. Taylor, would you consider being my Most High Overseer of Education since I am already designated Supreme, Unquestioned and Unexcelled Ruler of the Universe?
      • thumb
        Feb 26 2012: I like the title. I would be happy to consider the position. I assume pay is commensurate with position:)
    • thumb
      Feb 25 2012: Hi Linda, I like your vision.

      Adults shouldn't have to ignite a passion for learning in young people - they pop out into the world with passion, excitement, focus, curiosity and pleasure - why, what if, how, when, where, what's that...endless questions and exploration - and then we send them to school. Many kids do thrive in school, but many don't and that's a crying shame.
  • Feb 28 2012: If I may be so bold, I'd like to reverse the question: How do you adjust education to cope with young people's passion?

    I entertain the opinion, that passion is what nourishes learning, as it provides both the energy and the will required for the process. Thus, I claim that if we want education to achieve its full potential for everyone, passion should dictate education instead of the other way around.

    The biggest revolution of education is that modern youths looks as often to the Internet to gain knowledge as to traditional material (schools, libraries). We (for I am part of this generation) are well versed in that, with enough willpower and endurance, the Internet and its (mostly) helpful community can offer us any answer to our questions - answers more specific and precise than several of our teachers would be able to give, as they are not necessarily able to access as far-reaching sources. I have often asked a question in class, which the teacher can or will not answer, either due to the issue of time, or due to the fact that he/she simply do not know the answer. (It should, however, be mentioned that I, starting at university later this year, can only speak of the Swedish equivalent to high school.)

    So, many of us turn to the internet for learning about the subjects that engage us, turning school into the place of learning what we do not yearn to know. As a result, school and education as a whole sometimes grows extremely tedious and uninspiring. I would, for example, never claim the words "education" and "learning" to be synonyms.

    Were I you, I would not worry about the new generations not being "accountable for their own growth". Indeed, I believe that the exact opposite is unfolding - we have greater access to what we need to, and want to, know than ever before in order to pursue our dreams and well-being, and we are quite aware of it. Whether or not the new methods of learning will suffice, I'll be very excited to see what answers the future provides.
  • Feb 28 2012: Thank you for all the responses. I agree curiosity and passion does tend to come as a given for many young children. This is why it must be nurtured, developed and explored. How do you find your true passion if you are never exposed to it? I believe we need Invigorating lessons based with real life applications, tailored to all learning styles using interactive, cutting edge technology. Chad, your point on retaining the information taught is exceptionally valid- yet we all recall our favourite, inspiring TED talks!
  • thumb
    Feb 27 2012: I like Linda's statement too. Normal undamaged children are born with a passion to learn about their world, we call it play. Education as it has become sucks most natural passion out of the classroom. Other than North Korea most of the world has abandoned planned economies because they don't work. Giving a human being a quota and little choice about how when and what sort of work he will do used to be called slavery and only works for the slave owners and even then it doesn't work well unless you have a surplus population to use up. Yet isn't that what we do to children in most schools? So the solution to your ? is give children choice and responsibility with input to some degree only from their parents. Sacrifice the sacred cow of mandated curriculum. Tests of GRADUATEs one year after high school show an average of only 20% retention of the factoids that were force fed to them. Don't even ask about Skills!
  • thumb
    Feb 23 2012: One can easily make education exciting. I posted -- at length -- on this in another discussion. As my posts have been deleted in the past, I will not get into a long response. But, introducing the trivium and the quadrivium in education will make it much more exciting because it will make education relevant.

    A person conversant in these disciplines can learn anything without a teacher. I post a couple links below for cursory research.

    These disciplines alone will reveal the world for what it is; that is most exciting and should garner passion.
  • thumb
    Feb 29 2012: The way of dragging a students attention to a subject is by interactive way of teaching which said in other words means to make them to want to learn the material by maybe making a quiz game or something that the children would want. When i was in primary school my teacher made us want to play "who wants to be a millionaire" with questions only from the information learned in class, he divided us in several and the team with the highest score wins. Children love to compete with each other and to do physical activity if one wants to take drag their attention he/she should do something that includes one of these options. If you want to make older student pay attention in class one should show them for what will they need their knowledge in real life. As an example if it's physics you can show them how to make a flashlight or an improvised compass using Earth magnetic field or with chemistry you can show them some stuff that explode or burn or making lots of bubbles or something. As an overall there are lots of ways of making a kid listen to the teacher in class the question is the teacher willing to do something out of the ordinary.
  • thumb
    Feb 29 2012: If my teacher got paid what my favorite athletes got paid at a young age, I would have been way more interested in school.
    Since, that was not the case, and I was forced to go to school, I was more aware of the flaws of traditional schooling, such as (Memorize xyz information for Friday's exam. Take exam. Pass. Forget information. Repeat)
    I didn't learn anything from school. I also wish I did not pay for college.
    I believe if young people can get involved in hands on examples that demonstrate the importance of learning things not only inside the classroom but outside as well, I feel like it will ignite a passion in them. If not for learning book material, at least for learning how to educate themselves with street smarts, survival tactics, general knowledge.
    Maybe if young people see educated people on television more than entertainers, they will see the benefits.
    Maybe if the people that go to school weren't miserable with 9-5s after completing 1000$'s worth of courses, kids would see how important education is.
    Maybe if at a young age, a child's education allowed him/her to achieve something that they could not have achieved without education..other than a grade point average, or a red letter A on a paper.
  • thumb
    Feb 28 2012: Hey Gemma, here is one of a very few quotes that I know that may be relevant. Learning lies in heads replete with thoughts of other men. Knowledge lies in those attentive to their own. William Cowper 17th century.( just quoting this is tantamount to a paradox) One of my favorite oxymorons is "Theoretical Knowledge" since true knowledge comes only through experience and a theory is an unproven explanation of observed phenomena. My own short list for a curriculum starts with getting to know yourself and your capacities and best learning styles and in the process we have the opportunity to begin to understand what it means to be human and thus study the paradox of the many ways in which we are all alike and yet can still all be unique and special. Sorry for the run on sentences but it seems to be the best way to describe my thoughts somehow.
  • thumb
    Feb 26 2012: Is there some confussion between education and learning. I think that there is passion in all young people. What is missing is our ability to hear what they are saying. Curriculums are lock step and we all progress together. There is little room for individuals. Individual have "problems" and need counselling, medication, and the parents and/or the homelife is suspect. The system as is kills creativity, passion, individualism. Sir Ken Robinson states this many ways in his talks. Say a kid tells his counsellor he wants to be a dancer. 99.999% of the time he will be talked out of it even though this is his passion. Schools prepare students for the industerial / military complex. Passion can be found in private schools for the arts but not in traditional schools.
  • Feb 25 2012: Let them teach. Encourage them to teach. Help them teach.

    Learn from them.

    Help them uncover what they are passionate about and let them take the learning journey and you follow supporting them along the way. ( as an example)
  • thumb
    Feb 23 2012: as you said its about igniting curiosity in young people
    the thing is if one is curios enough about a subject he/she will search for that particular answer he is searching about but in the process of satisfying there curiosity he/she will see other things along the way which makes them searching for that thing also so in the end of the search . He/She will sense an integration in which all thing makes sense to their hunger for finding thing about the world and another thing
    its about seeing a beauty ,, think of an artist and a scientist (physicist , biologist , chemist )
    it both see a flower , they will see this one dimension beauty i mean the obvious , but the thing is a scientist will see the inner structure the processes and so on ,
  • Feb 23 2012: I think one can ignite passion by giving sutdents concrete projects that will help them to both learn and and the same time see concrete results of their work?

    Some projects can be setup to make a difference in people's lives esp. in developing countries or in local communities.

    Another way to motivate students is to show them how learnning relates to their live or future career.

    I would also engage learning by competing in various local and national competitions.

    Finally make learning fun and motivating (e.g. Khan Academy) or make it a game.

    Technology and the Internet are great tools for learning engagement.