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"I believe that education is the civil rights issue of our generation." – U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, October 9, 2009

The Cave of Wonders: One Teacher’s Classroom and What It Can Tell Us About Sparking Passion In Students

There comes a point in a student’s education when they must pick a route to take in life. Some find difficulty in choosing a single major out of numerous appealing ones, while others struggle to find a major they find remotely interesting. So which is the better situation to be in? In my opinion, its better to have too many passions than none at all; after all, passion fuels success right?

I can’t help but find it concerning that there are students out there whose favorite subject is lunch. What does this say about our current education system? Perhaps we have taken the fun out of learning. As the pressure for straight A’s and competition for college admission increase, I think we can sometimes lose sight of what’s important: learning should be fun!

Kile Heilman, a passionate and popular middle school teacher has certainly embodied this concept. Heilman’s classroom is not your average classroom. Walking into the classroom is like walking into the cave of wonders–you’re engulfed by an abundance of treasures including artifacts, bones, models and displays. When I learned about Heilman’s classroom in the article Teacher Creates Museum Experience In Classroom I thought, “America needs more classrooms like this!”

This one-of-a-kind teacher’s innovative approach to learning invites exploration and allows children to dive deeper into subjects that that spark their interests. Holding, touching, and feeling real life objects from the past offers a learning experience that no textbook can provide; and it’s fun and interactive! If more classrooms were like Heilman’s I think we could instill greater passion for school subjects in young students. Then, when the time comes for them to choose a major in college, perhaps the only problem they will face is choosing a single major amongst many desirable ones.

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2 thoughts on “The Cave of Wonders: One Teacher’s Classroom and What It Can Tell Us About Sparking Passion In Students

  1. Since I just read your STEM post, I’ll make a connection: I wonder what the correlation is between in-class labs (playing with circuits, simple chemical reactions, tests of basic newtonian mechanics) and teaching quality for science classes?

    For history, seeing artifacts makes you a part of history. Are labs the analogous quantity for science classes? Why didn’t we do any fun labs in elementary school?

    • alison2012internship on said:

      Thanks for your insightful comments on this topic. I also question why fun activities in elementary school were directed toward the arts more so than the sciences. In first and second grade I developed a passion art and english because I was encouraged to use my creative mind. Every week each student would write their own story book, complete with illustrations. Being able to share our masterpiece with the class was also very rewarding. We need to give children those experiences in the sciences!

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