Tuesday, March 30, 2010

#edchat summary - March 30 - passion

Tuesday, March 30th's #edchat featured the topic of passion. This whole discussion is a warm-up for the Sir Ken Robinson Webinar that will take place in the evening. Here is but a sample of the conversation that took place:

@cybraryman1 Teaching is not a profession; it's a passion.Ed. Quotes: http://bit.ly/EPRmh #edchat

@MatthiasHeil To me, passion is what makes us tick, and explore - even at great cost. Has to do with teaching, I guess...-) #edchat

@rliberni I'd like to come up with ways to maintain passion

@tomwhitby How do we define Passion? #edchat

@MissCheska #edchat Passion is what keeps me awake at night, going over the next day's events in my head bc I can't wait to start it

@teachingwthsoul Passion is the unrelenting pursuit of what you strongly believe in. #edchat

@joe_bower Policymakers r further removed pedagogically than they r geographic. Tchrs need 2 get passionate about their craft & advocate

@msmultipoint I think passion is innate. All of us on some level are passionate about particular things. #edchat

@DeronDurflinger Passion is the key not only to learning, but to life #edchat. Schools have to find a way 2 allow students 2 learn in their passion

@EduVulture Love it!!!! RT

@johntspencer a simple glimpse at Star Trek will remind you that Data is meant to inform not drive #edchat

@akenuam passionate educators awaken passion in students, even the most apathetic unmotivated students #edchat

@PititaCarita Passion can show up years later from seeds planted

@TEFL Do your students know what you are passionate about? They should. #edchat

Passion is a very important topic. In fact, it may be the most important topic educators and parents can discuss. It is at the heart of education. It should be at the heart of public education's culture. But as Sir Ken Robinson's so accurately articulates, there is something very wrong with public education. We misunderstand and misuse things like IQ in an attempt to narrow and standardize learning into something like building motor cars. And the cost is astronomical! We squander so much of our human capacity by being so distracted from our primary objective - learning.

Teachers need to stop waiting to be told what to do and quit following agenda's they don't believe in. To continue educational reforms that simply double the dose of high-stakes testing and further narrows, standardized curriculums is intellectually indefensible and morally bankrupt. Because policy makers have proven so inept at understanding this, teachers must lead the way in advocating for the schools our children deserve.


  1. Joe,
    Don't laugh...but this is the kind of blog post I LOVE to read. Short, sweet, to the point! Yet having just the right elements to make you want to go back and re-read or better yet, be inspired to carry the convo forward and write your own blog post.
    Tearing up as I read this: "Passion is a very important topic. In fact, it may be the most important topic educators and parents can discuss. It is at the heart of education. It should be at the heart of public education's culture." That really spoke to the heart of why I'm an educator. All my career I have fought passionately for the rights of my students, teachers, parents. Have paid a price, at times.
    But...I can say with great passion...that I have no regrets.
    Thanks for sharing your passion, today.

  2. I agree with everything said, and love the passion behind it. In fact, I just wrote a blog post on national curriculum and testing in Australia (we are fighting many of the same issues).

    I absolutely agree that teachers need to lead the way in advocating a better approach, and to lead by example by fighting the good fight in their own classrooms. But when they are up against school administrations and policy and regulations etc how can they make big changes and just quit following the agenda?

    The progressive school my boys go to is one of only 2 in our state that is exempt from standardised testing in primary school - this took a lot of committment and fighting but we were successful because we had the full support of all our staff and parents behind us. We had this because the parents had chosen a different educational approach for their child, so they were already on board. How do you do this in a school where this initial support and committment doesn't exist?

  3. I agree with all that you have written. I would love to see a real revolution in education - one that focuses on our future and not our past.

    I believe that many of the practices implemented in progressive schools are the way to the future: no tests or grades; a non-competitive approach; individualised learning programs; learning at your own pace; being allowed to follow your interests; emphasis on process and not product; valuing social and emotional intelligences...I could go on!

    But I have a question. These practices are easy to follow when you have a whole school community behind you and parents have chosen an alternative to mainstream education. Teachers in mainstream classes who want to do these things have a big fight on their hands - they have so much more ground to cover; so many more people to get on board.

    How can these teachers quit following an agenda they don't believe in given the constraints of the educational system (from what I read they are similar in the US to the ones we face in Australia)?

    I just blogged about a similar thing if you would like to take look - "Progressive Schools provide the skills for the 21st Century"

    I've been enjoying reading your blog very much.

  4. No one teacher can do it all themselves. We must organize with our union or association and advocate for the schools our children deserve.

    In Alberta, the Alberta Teachers' Association has an initiative called Real Learning First where we advocate as professionals for progressive education. We take a stance against high stakes standardized testing, and push for more trust for teachers.


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