So, I know I spend a lot of time here (and elsewhere) lamenting the state of education in general and, specifically, wishing my kids were in systems where they were allowed to follow their passions more, systems where they were more engaged in the learning process overall. So I’m happy to report that yesterday Tucker came home from school totally psyched about his Social Studies class because they are studying Greek mythology. Tuck is a HUGE fan of the Percy Jackson series, and the fact that he will be reading The Lightning Thief in his classroom has him totally stoked. (He’s read it “four or five times” already…)
I know it’s kind of luck of the draw in this case, that the teacher’s choice just happened to be Tucker’s, that he’s really not being given the option to do it this way, and that I’m sure there are kids in the class who aren’t all that thrilled with studying or reading any of it. But it’s great to see him this pumped, and it speaks plainly to the fact that kids will be more motivated to learn if we can connect our content to their passions. I’ve written before how I wish he could learn English and science and math in the context of basketball, another subject that he loves.
I know, I know. It’s hard from a classroom of 30 kids standpoint to personalize for every student like that. And there are things that we want kids to know that don’t lend themselves to this type of learning. But I wonder if we valued it more, if we tested for “learning dispositions” and what kids can learn through their passions if we wouldn’t make it happen in some form in our classrooms. I remember when I was teaching, I had kids learning to be journalists by becoming beat reporters for the World Wrestling Federation and Metallica. They loved it, and the writing process became a way that they could express that love.
Here’s hoping both my kids (and yours) experience more of that “I Love…” feeling this school year.