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In response to popular accusations that regularly compare educational institutions to
decidedly uninspiring industrial workshops, a great number of eager educators have appeared in
recent years arguing that passion needs to permeate pedagogy. One prominent example is Sir
Ken Robinson (2009), a theorist who insists that students must be allowed to naturally discover
their true passions (p. 238). This drive to combine classroom discovery with the pursuit of
pleasure is dynamic, aiming to provide students with abundant opportunities to match individual
desires with formal learning activities.
This initiative has generated a great deal of academic literature that spans several fields, a
wealth of detailed material that threatens to overwhelm the casual observer. Often this
knowledge bank simply does not lend itself to immediate application, a reality that frustrates
teachers looking for ways to put passion into practice. Bridging the gap between abstract
academic assertions and the certainty of actual experience is difficult, yet it is a challenge that all
educators encounter.
The purpose of this project is two-fold. First, I plan to analyze and critique the abundant
literature that has appeared in recent years devoted to the examination of the place of passion in
the classroom. Second, in order to compliment this analysis of the theoretical application of
passion within pedagogy, I will carry out an extensive self-study, an analysis designed to probe
the practical side of putting passion into practice. My hope is to piece together a flexible

framework of sorts, an attitude or mentality that both teachers and students can adapt to a wide
range of activities.
My research questions that will guide this investigation include:

What do educational theorists have to say concerning the cultivation of passion in the

What are some practical methods that bring these ideas to life?

What are some of the challenges or barriers that will appear in response to these
efforts to promote passion in the classroom?

Carbonneau, N., Vallerand, R. J., Fernet, C., & Guay, F. (November 01, 2008). The Role of
Passion for Teaching in Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Outcomes. Journal of
Educational Psychology, 100, 4, 977-987.

A quantitative approach to the question of passion in the classroom is presented here, a

perspective that will balance out qualitative studies and further demonstrate the position
held by researchers.

Holcomb, E. L. (2004). Getting Excited About Data: Combining People, Passion, and Proof to
Maximize Student Achievement. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press.

Heres another volume that will hopefully illuminate the relationship between hard data
and passion-driven learning.

Levine, S. L., & McVay, S. (1999). A Passion for Teaching. Alexandria, Va: Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Packed with anecdotes from practice educators, this volume may prove to be the most
useful textual contribution to the practical side of this research project.

Liston, D. P., & Garrison, J. W. (2004). Teaching, Learning, and Loving: Reclaiming Passion in
Educational Practice. New York: Routledge Falmer.

This volume provides perspective! Ten teachers share their experiences concerning
passion in the classrooma work that will hopefully help bridge the gap between theory
and practice.

Maiers, A., & Sandvold, A. (2014). The Passion-Driven Classroom: A Framework for Teaching
and Learning. Routledge.

While Im not one to judge a book by its cover, I must admit that a single glance at the
cover of this volume managed to pique my interest, earning it a spot in this list. The title
suggests a practical application of desire, and above the authors names a fiery lightbulb

is emblazoneda symbol commonly employed to represent creativity. I hope the

contents of this book match the optimism displayed on the cover.
Reynolds, L. (2012). A Call to Creativity: Writing, Reading, and Inspiring Students in an Age of
Standardization. New York: Teachers College Press.

From all appearances the author is devoted to teaching English, but the book promises to
provide a practical perspective to passion in every subject area.

Robinson, K., & Aronica, L. (2009). The Element: How finding your Passion Changes
Everything. New York: Penguin Group USA.

Robinsons popular volume (which reportedly represents a detailed expansion of his

successful TED Talk) will be consulted for several reasons. First, the book will likely
provide insightful analysis into the place of passion in the classroom, a useful
contribution to both the practical and theoretical aspects of the project. Second, the book
has been read by a wide audience since its appearance and therefore may perhaps
function as a reference point of sorts.

Thomas, J. (November 01, 2007). Teaching with Passion. Education Digest: Essential Readings
Condensed for Quick Review, 73, 3, 63-65.

While this article is dedicated to literacy, I believe the principles it outlines in regards to
passion relate to education as a whole.


Wink, J., & Wink, D. (2004). Teaching passionately: What's love got to do with it?. Boston:
Pearson/A and B.

Relevant academic articles will be collected via online databases such as Google Scholar,
WorldCat, JSTOR, and ProQuest. Material for the self-study will be provided by my own
experiences in the classroom, recorded and reviewed by myself and my colleagues. A field
journal will be sufficient to document these personal experiences, and EndNote will be employed
to compile academic literature and any accompanying notes. I also intend to convey my
observations through vignettes, the more detailed the better. Crafted from a collection of field
notes and written reflections, these vignettes will be shaped into brief narratives designed to
provide the reader with a bit of context that will help illustrate the research site. The end result of
these efforts will be a comprehensive survey detailing the various aspects of passion within
pedagogy, a practical handbook of sorts distinguished by a combination of theoretical
information and practical insight.
While I am not limiting my efforts to materials dating from a particular time period, I
have attempted to focus on literature that has been published in the last fifteen years. This
decision is based on the assumption that classrooms as learning environments have endured
many changes in recent times, changes that have a certain degree of influence on practical
pedagogy. Once the literature is collected I intend to begin assembling data by crafting a
thematic catalogue. Once articles are carefully read I will record a basic summary of the authors
arguments, summaries that will eventually be grouped together.
I employed the following search terms in a preliminary survey of the database detailed
above. The results were promising and I intend to make extensive use of these phrases (along
with certain variations).

Passion in the classroom

Passion and pedagogy

Teaching and passion

Far too often enthusiasm in the classroom is considered to be the exclusive domain of the

teacher, a behavior usually explained in the context of a particular subject area. I firmly believe
that pedagogical passion cannot be understood only as a professional excitement attached to
expertise in a single subject; the joy and exhilaration that can accompany learning are not limited
to conventional definitions of educational success. The question of how exactly passion impacts
learning deserves to be examined in a more profound manner, an approach that includes
uncovering what can motivate both the teacher and the students. Here the self-study will supply
valuable insight, but a great deal of reading is going to need to happen first to get the ball rolling.
Im going to analyze as much academic literature as I can get my hands on in pursuit of
principles that will have a defining impact on how I go about deciding how to teach. Once this
foundation is established the project will be determined by classroom experience and
observation, experiences that will hopefully represent a useful resource for both myself and any
other educators who are interested.

Robinson, K., & Aronica, L. (2009). The Element: How finding your Passion Changes
Everything. New York: Penguin Group USA.