The Power of Passion-Based Learning



Photo CC – By pirate_renee

Passion. It’s something we all have. Something we all possess in one form or the other. Merriam-Webster defines passion as: “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.” (Definition found here). Synonyms for passion include : fervor, zeal, vigor, energy, and animation – just to name a few of my favorites.


Photo CC – By Brian Talbot

What are your passions? What is something that you always get excited about doing? Something that you pour energy, time, and attention into? For one person, it may be photography; they can spend hours waiting and preparing for the perfect shot. For another, it may be studying weather patterns; pouring days into tracking a huge storm system to offer up accurate predictions. For yet another, it may be designing, creating, and riding the perfect skateboard. My point is, passions come in all different forms. Some are aesthetically pleasing while other are heavily involved with precise measurements and information. Passions can be discovered at any age. Some are born with an immediate fascination of a topic while others take prodding and exploring with patience to finally find something that clicks, really clicks.

Students have passions too and they can and probably will be, as diverse as the students themselves. Remember that definition and synonyms I gave earlier? Imagine a classroom full of students who are being allowed – no, encouraged – to explore, develop, and learn more about their passions. Can you imagine the products those students could produce? If students are interested, truly interested, in something, the amount of effort and time they put in will be exponentially more than something they were told to interested in.

Passion-Based Learning is a great, wonderful, and powerful way for students to learn.


Photo CC – By Dale Chumbley

It doesn’t box them in, limit their abilities, control their creativity and freedom, or conform them to a specific mold shared by all others. Passion-Based Learning gets students “in-the-zone.” It challenges them to push themselves, encourage each other, create originals, be proud of their interest, and most of all – learn! Passion-Based Learning takes what students are vigorously interested in, then builds on it to show them genuine learning through a personal process of discovery.

Passion-Based Learning is something I would love to incorporate in my classroom. It offers many benefits for the students. It could take some work to adapt it to meet the needs of various age groups but I believe it will be worth it.

It will be worth it to see my students excited about learning. Worth it to see my students encourage each other in their passions. Worth it to see my students connect to the real-world and each other. It will worth it to see my students create and make something born out of their own mind and thoughts.

I want to be an effective teacher, yes, but I also want to be a passionate teacher. I want to show my students it is okay to express their passions. I want to show my students the joy of learning about something meaningful. I want to show my students hard work and effort. I want to show my students how to use their passion to help them grow. I want to show them because I am passionate about teaching and being a leader for my students. I’m a teacher and that’s what I do.

Now, Go out and find your passion!



A Teacher Sharing her Passion of Teaching to Start a Fire in her Students


Photo CC – By jenn.davis


*For more on Passion-Based Learning, click on the links below to read stories from teachers who have implemented this great style and given me the inspiration to use Passion-Based Learning.

“Passion-Based Learning” by Ainissa Ramirez

“21st Century Educating, Part 1 : Passion” by

“My Journey Teaching Through Passion-Based Learning” by Nigel Coutts

“25 Ways to Institute Passion-Based Learning in the Classroom” by Saga Briggs

**Also, here is a link to a great article about the differences between school and learning.

“School vs. Learning” by George Couros


3 thoughts on “The Power of Passion-Based Learning

  1. Cara,
    I really enjoyed reading your post about passion. I love how you want to incorporate that into your classroom! I totally want to do the same! I think that when we as teachers are passionate about things, our classroom students in general, we really encourage them to find their own passions and take part in it. I firmly believe in leading by example; if we show passion and energy and joy in what we are teaching i think that it will help the students to do the same, or at least make them slightly more engaged. Too often i think that teachers start out with passion because they are fresh and young and haven’t got in the swing of things yet. They are still trying to figure out what does and what doesn’t work and write lesson plans and figure out exactly what to teach and how to teach it. But after years of doing this and being able to use basically the same material and lessons over and over again, i think they become bored or don;t really care anymore, it just becomes a job. How do you think that teachers can keep their passion going for years and years? I think having new students probably helps a little. And for teachers to go out of their way to try and incorporate new ideas and new methods of learning and teaching I feel would also be beneficial because then the teachers are always challenging themselves and trying to be better. But that requires extra time, energy, and effort and i think a lot of teachers would rather just stay where they are at once they have things figured out.

    • Skyler,
      I also firmly believe in leading by example. I think of the quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And I think that if you are truly passionate about teaching and leading the children who walk through your classroom, it is so much more than a job. I also think it is important to rediscover that passion, should it be lessened. For the benefit of the students and yourself. I also think incorporating new into the classroom takes work but it can be the best way a students has ever taught, should the teacher put in the work because they know it will help the students. Thanks for reading!

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