Learning is a fundamental part of who we are as human beings. From the moment we first opened our eyes, we were curious about our world and endeavored to understand it, to interact with it, to mold it, even to transform it. Before we entered school, we were excited, adventurous, and determined to forge our own destinies; then, we went to school, and gradually, for many, that sense of euphoria diminished.
Curiosity. Exploration. Discovery. Reflection. Integration. These are the hallmarks of learning achievement which occurs when students are excited and passionate about a topic. When they are not interested in the topics or do not understand how they impact their goals, dreams, or lives, students become disinterested and disengaged; thus, they do not participate in active inquiry, become bored, and become reluctant learners. The key for engaging students and challenging them to continue to rediscover their learning passion is helping them to discover the connection between WHAT they are learning and WHY they are learning it, or its relevance as it pertains to their personal goals. Therefore, tailoring a student’s learning path as it relates to his/her interests recaptures the imagination and inspires authentic learning.
I believe that learning is a partnership between student, teacher, and subject matter. If a student is interested in the topic, he/she will be actively engaged in rigorous, challenging, exciting, and dynamic learning which will further inspire new topics of exploration. Students who feel empowered to explore learning in such a dynamic setting become critical thinkers, problem-solvers, innovators, and world-changers. The key to student success is allowing them to be the drivers of their own learning. Therefore, as a teacher, I believe in facilitating learning through a process of active inquiry and social construct which reengages students and allows them to take responsibility for their academic success. As I have repeatedly explained to my students throughout the years, “My job is not to tell you what your message is; my job is to help you discover your message and learn how to articulate it to the world” Jennifer Berson. The key to student success is using their goals as the vehicle for lesson delivery. When something is important to a person, there is no limit to what he/she can learn.