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In conversation: The importance of uncovering students’ interests while learning

Mar 21, 2012 | Author Chat

Gail Jefferies delves into a world of Passion Learning created by teacher and Essential Resources author Merrick Brewer, who received a NEiTA 2009 ASG Inspirational Teaching Award for innovation, in recognition of his work in developing Passion Learning.



Middle School students at Chairo Christian School are getting stuck into classroom projects with gusto. They’re doing the research, collecting the resources they need and developing their own learning contracts.

This is Passion Learning in action.

Passion Learning seeks to uncover students’ personal interests, their hobbies and their dreams and allows them to develop learning projects around them. It can mean some 28 different projects going on in the classroom at any one time. That might sound hectic, but it’s exciting, too, according to Middle School Head Teacher, Merrick Brewer.

Merrick believes students nearly always begin their schooling with eagerness and dreams for the future. “They will tell you that when they grow up they want to be a fireman, a policewoman, an astronaut or work at the zoo. Then they enter the school system and so often their dreams get swallowed up as they move through the year levels. By the time they get to Year 12, many don’t really know what they want to do,” he says.

Passion Learning aims to reawaken students’ dreams, says Merrick. “Why can’t we make schooling relevant and interesting? Why can’t we do this and still achieve the outcomes that we teachers are expected to achieve?”

The results are palpable says Merrick. “Students who are uncovering their passions reengage with school and discover that time literally ‘flies when you’re having fun’. This is the joy of teaching.”

Students discover learning is fun as they uncover their passions. Through the study of skateboards they learn creativity, safety, organisation, community services and resources.
(Photos supplied by the teacher who is responsible for gaining parental permission for their online use.)

Merrick is the author of two classroom resources for teachers:  

Progress with Projects – Outlines passion learning; helping students develop skills relating to deeper learning, self-questioning, problem-solving and decision-making.
Self Assessment for Self Starters – Outlines a powerful tool to encourage deeper and more meaningful learning. 

For further details of how you can discover your passion, visit Merrick Brewer’s blog.

Tagged with Author Chat


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