Emotions of Education: A Passion for Reform


Many agree that emotions can rule over all reason and sense. Emotions can also encourage and drive us to achieve enormous feats. They are a power with a wide range of potential. 

Now what if emotions were targeted toward education? I mean, what would be the emotional range that we could learn from?

I can think of three in particular: Pain, Pleasure, and Passion.  These emotions when geared toward education can reveal some surprising insights. For instance: What is it about education that brings us pain? Some are failing grades, tuition, student loans, finding the right schools, filling out entrance applications for our children or ourselves, and so on.   

What about the  pleasures of education? Some can identify with receiving great grades, degrees, diplomas, even ‘aha moments’ from learning something new or seeing someone grow in understanding and perspective.

Lastly,  there is the emotion of passion in education.  This is arguably the most misunderstood.  On one hand, we think about passion as a desire, pursuit, personal calling, or profound interest in an area or discipline.  Along these lines, experiencing passion in education would be a welcomed thing that helps define our purposes and pursuits.

On the other hand, passion relates to endurance. In fact, a Latin version of passion ties to patience and ‘suffering.’  Remember the ole saying: ‘Patience is a Virtue’? Well in this case, patience is having the passion to endure, suffer, and even overcome the circumstances.

Which leads me to a final insight for those who claim to have a passion for education: teachers, school boards, politicians, governments, and learning institutions such as schools, colleges, and universities. 

Can all of them match their desire to pursue education with the suffering and endurance that is necessary  to change it for everyone, especially for those who do not know educational reform and improvement must take place.   

My worry is that many are distracting us with superficial solutions for educational pains, promoting unearned pleasures, while ignoring the most important and emotional impact of advancing a full passion toward a lasting and lifelong education.

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2 responses to “Emotions of Education: A Passion for Reform

  1. well what about the word emotion, to mean disturbance; Can you speak to that? Are these disturbances truly needed to forward education? Or Are they indicators that help propel ideas? And why should anyone suffer to bring about an ultimate good like education? Suffering seems a bit egoic but that’s my opinion. I know and understand emotions to be subject to the law of opposites, for I have seen pain trigger success and pleasure bring down the successful; can you speak to this as well. Thanks

  2. Thanks for the comment! What is essential in the argument is the emotion of ‘Passion.’ Passion can be disturbing and motivating as you mentioned. My concern is that if education is to be reformed through ‘passion,’ then it will requ…ire more than short-term success, but a long-term plan. A plan or strategy that will require making very different, often uncomfortable, but greatly beneficial responses than many current actions and discussions.

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