Chris Lott posted an exceptional blog post in Ruminate on March 19th: Things I Can’t Teach. It is a short insightful posting so please read the whole thing.
As Lott notes, learning is at its heart all about change. It involves being challenged, surprised, overwhelmed, taking the wrong steps, being fearful at times, but holding on to the passion that drives us to change in the first place. As Chris said, “…while we can’t all be passionate about the same things we can respect it when we see it, hold onto it when we discover it, and look for it everywhere.”
I love this old stone carving of the professor “professing” while the students sleep. This teacher has not successfully transferred his passion to his students. As a faculty developer, I am guilty too many times of focusing in on “the thing” of my workshops (RSS feeds, streaming video, social bookmarking, Blackboard set-up, creating assessments, etc.) without either articulating my own passion for using this “thing” or looking for and cultivating that passion in others that drew them to me. There is always a good reason for using technology in teaching…and some times good reasons not to. If using technology is going to stick and be adopted by faculty, then they first need to internalize the “why” before they can adequately tackle the “how.”
Chris’s closing point gets at why I love doing what I do:
“That wonder is just one down-stroke past wander, you can’t have the first if you don’t do the second, and wonder isn’t only wanting to know something you don’t, but a state of being, as in being awestruck or being in love.”
One of my favorite Kahill Gibran quotes is: Work is love made visible. Gibran understood the role of passion in what we do. So, I intend to work harder at being passionate…and at cultivating passion.
[Photo Credits: Flickr – Alex Poldavo; Eric Skiff]