Monday, March 23, 2015

Passion versus Curiosity

"If you don't have an obvious passion, forget about it. Follow your curiosity because passion is somewhat a tower of flame that is not always accessible. And curiosity is something anybody can access any day. Your curiosity may lead you to your passion or it may not. It may have been for "nothing" and in that case all you have done is spend your existence in pursuit of the things that made you feel curious and inspired and that should be good enough. Like if you get to do that then that is a wonderful way to have spent your time here"

- Elizabeth Gilbert, Author 
as cited on NPR's TED Radio episode "The source of Creativity"

These words from Elizabeth (author of Eat, Pray, Love), really confronted me as I am a person who is very passionate about what I do. I always viewed passion as being accessible and that it was up to intrinsic motivation to make it happen. But perhaps not everybody has to have a passion.

Curiosity, it seems is a far broader and more encompassing disposition needed for learning. Curiosity does not bond itself to one subject or area of expertise.  Perhaps I need to rephrase some of my own "passions".  I have always wondered if I perhaps had too many passions. I am interested in so many things. I know now that I have many curiosities and things that inspire me. Here are a few:

  • native birds
  • books
  • reading
  • native plants
  • crafts
  • e-learning
  • football
  • rugby league
  • gardening
  • zumba
  • tea
  • social justice
  • politics
  • teaching
  • networking
  • te reo Maori
  • kapa haka
and the list goes on...

Sometimes I wish that I had just one or two that I could commit all of my time too but I am far too curious for that!

So back to my students... do I want them to be passionate or curious? I think perhaps curious because it allows for change and the ability to try lots of things. I, as the teacher am providing a smorgasbord of possibilities. Some will seem more appetising than others. Some students will only want a taste while others will want a second helping. It's up to me to present those possibilities in a way that hooks my learner to want to try it.

Hmm... which one will I try?

This thinking links with my thoughts about science teaching:

An area which I want to push curiosity in for next term.