It is not always possible to self-direct your learning. In the same way, it feels even harder to self-direct your progress and your career sometimes. But, self-directing your passions, now that’s possible. Choosing what to be excited about is something that seems like an extension of who we are, but it is a conscious effort that yields results. So much so, that once you start self-directing your passions, your learning and your career progress will follow.
When you’re passionate about something, it shows. It shows when you write, when you speak, and when you planning for what comes next. It is because your passion has a direction; it pulls you along. It makes conversations possible that you never thought you would be a part of. The simple emotion of excitement for something is infectious and gets directly embedded into your work.
I believe self-directed passion is the single most pivotal element of adult learning. It determines if you will start or finish something and your level of commitment. It helps the “all in” reflex to kick in, even in the face of imposing odds whether those be bureaucratic or change management. When teachers themselves get ahold of something that they are passionate about, they throw themselves into it like no other profession. One such teacher is a blogger engaged in the Blended Schools Network massively open online course for Blended Learning. Her name is Janine Logar and she teaches at the Sabin World School. While I have talked about this course before, haven’t talked about its effects on the classroom.
But, the classroom effects are profound.
When teachers can dive deeply into the concepts of blended learning on their own, while being supported by a community of other practitioners doing the same, then the power of those actions are amplified. Janine has blogged on this subject only a couple times thus far, but it is the fact that she took the opportunity given to her not because it was a request or requirement, but because it is something that she was passionate about. In fact, she has placed challenges for herself in making the learning in her classroom more authentic, like the “When will we ever use this” challenge. In a nutshell, this is what she envisions her future classroom look like.
And, we should do everything in our power to make sure that she has the same opportunity to pursue this passion beyond the scope of this course and blog. We should find new ways of supporting teacher passion, empowering the people that are actually in charge of creating learning environments daily. When we allow teachers to have self-directed learning opportunities, we are telling them that their time is important and that their passions are important. We can value who they are as a teachers and provide opportunities on a daily basis for them to be truly self-directed.