Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Passions Pursued Prolifically Produce Profound Achievement: Think About It, Part I

Passions Pursued Prolifically Produce Profound Achievement: Think About It, Part I
by Rod Rock, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Clarkston Community Schools

Scott Barry Kaufman, a researcher and author, stated this about passion and learning:

"By a lucky coincidence of factors, prodigies find their domains early. But once anyone, whatever the age, finds his or her talent, the learning process can proceed rapidly. Passion and inspiration can spark a drive that substantially accelerates the learning curve and also set off immense creativity. We are all capable of extraordinary performance; the key is finding the mode of expression that allows you to create your own unique symphony. Anyone who has observed a child knows what passion means."

Kids easily get lost in their passions--games, chasing bugs, picking up frogs, playing make believe. Rarely do we as adults have to ask kids to do what they love. Rather, we find ourselves begging them to stop so that they can eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom. This is passion and it is the most motivated form of learning. 

I recently attended a concert in a quaint and beautiful venue in Michigan which features a different musical act 300 nights per year. The event began with the lead act introducing a high school orchestra group, which plays Celtic music. The lead act was a part of this Celtic orchestra in her youth. This is where she encountered her passion. Now a member of an internationally famous Celtic group, the lead performer went on the deliver an amazing concert on her violin. 

This experience really struck me. She encountered her passion, pursued it vigorously, and is living a dream. Her life was forever altered, for the better, via her participation in her school's orchestra.

At the Workshop School in Philadelphia, teacher and co-founder, Michael Clapper says: 
“When a student becomes passionate about something, they start asking, ‘How do I write better? How do I formulate a good question? How do I conduct research? How do I go out into the world to find answers that make sense to me and that I can present to others?’ Once the student has the passion; once they have the spark; once we’ve trusted them to do it, we’ve empowered them in ways that normal school generally does not.”

In every school, every day each child must encounter opportunities to pursue their passions, thus demonstrating their unique array of intelligence and growing their potential. 

This is my passion, which I encountered way after I left school. What's yours and where did you get it?

[This is also my opinion]. Think about it.