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Passion-Based Learning to Discover the Why for Learning

Session 2
Barbara Bray — Rethinking Learning

What is school? Why do we have to change school and how we teach? What is your why and purpose for teaching and learning? How does knowing the why impact students? In this session, participants will collaborate in groups to use these questions to dive deep into authenticity, empathy, equity, self-regulation, and self-advocacy to discuss ideas for designing meaningful, purpose-driven learning activities.

The main idea of this presentation is about empowering your students to want to be curious and explore ideas deeper. We will discuss the new PBL (Passion-Based Learning) with examples of teachers starting with projects they are passionate about and then how they encourage students to develop personal passion projects.

The push to personalize learning has grown but continues to hit barriers and obstacles. Why is that? Could it be compliance? The system is entrenched with standards, testing, and being stuck in the "status quo" that teachers may try to encourage curiosity within a topic in the curriculum. Because of lack of time or support, teachers may go back to "covering the curriculum, instead of uncovering the learning."

We can change all of this by encouraging students to explore something they are passionate about. Students can write a proposal about what they want to learn, the standards they will meet, and time and resources they will need. As an example and to dip your toes into passion-based learning, teachers can start with what they are passionate about. Join this session and let’s be curious together.

Conversational Practice

Participants will be in groups around tables with post-it notes and flipcharts.

The presenter will start with one question for table discussions: Why do we have to change school and teaching?

Then the question: Why is it important to consider authenticity, empathy, self-regulation, and self-advocacy in learning today? Each group will choose one of these topics to look at current teaching practice and how they can change a lesson or project to include exploring the topic.

Several examples will be presented around Passion-Based Learning and then discussions around the question: What is your why and purpose for teaching and learning? How does knowing the why impact students?

Pair/Share or work in small groups around discussing how to design meaningful, purpose-driven passion-based learning activities starting with your passion or even a crazy “out-of-the-box” idea to bring back curiosity.

Table groups will add their ideas to a flipchart and, if time, we can have a gallery walk with voluntary sharing.

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