Sunday, April 14, 2013

Passion In Extracurricular Activities, But Not Our Classroom?

Sunday morning. 9AM. And twelve students show up to film part of a scene for our upcoming production of Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka. Why? The easy answer (and maybe all that has to be said, though I won't stop here) is because they're passionate. These students (and all 95 students involved in the musical) are passionate about creating something for an audience.

They understand the value of working hard, putting in volunteer hours, all for the rush of a performance and to feel the sense of accomplishment and creation.

Theatre students are not the only ones who put in the time, though. Basketball players put in ten hours of practice every week (plus whatever time they give on their own) for the thrill of the competition and the attention of Friday night.  Cross country runners push their physical limits because they're passionate about beating their personal records. And on and on and on, in all of these various extracurricular activities, students volunteer their time to follow their passions.

Now, the million dollar question: why can't we find that in the classroom?

Why do our students NOT give the same passionate efforts?

I know that extracurricular activities are made by choice and I know that does account for some of this reason, but I have to believe that we can make some changes to our classroom that allows for more passion from our students.

If we look at the common threads of extracurricular sports or art, the major similarities are obvious: students are active, they are creating something, and they end up performing for a real audience.

As it turns out, these have been the biggest transformations in my classroom. We are no longer students; we are CREATORS.  And we share to real audiences: parents, the world via web, corporations, politicians, local publications and more.

As educators, we MUST utilize the passion that lies in our students.  It's obviously there. They show it to us in these extracurricular activities. Now, we need to foster that student passion in our classrooms.