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<ul><li><p>1 </p><p>How passion can make the difference in the classroom </p><p>Germn Villarroel </p><p>This paper was completed and submitted in partial fulfillment of the Master Teacher Program, a 2 year faculty </p><p>professional development program conducted by the Center for Faculty Excellence, United Sated Military Academy, </p><p>West Point, NY, 2015. </p><p>INTRODUCTION </p><p>When passion is the subject of conversation, immediately our mind drive us to people that have </p><p>inspired us in our life: our parents, our leaders in different positions in the Army and probably some </p><p>coach in our youth that taught us how to give the best of us when we were team sports players. But </p><p>when you add teaching to that intangible virtue, its inevitable to be grateful to Nancy H. Kleinbaum </p><p>who brought to life Professor John Keating and all his passion at the Walton Academy in the Dead </p><p>Poets Society. There his students not only learned how to discover the beauty and wonder of </p><p>language through a literature class but the relevance of making every moment count. Everything that </p><p>Professor Keating achieved was driven by a deep love for what he believed was worth any effort and </p><p>sacrifice: His students and the passion of what he taught in and out of the classroom. </p><p>Being in the Army, leadership turns to be the capstone of our carrier and West Point as the most </p><p>important military academy in the United States is not the exception. West Points mission is to </p><p>educate, train and inspires the corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed </p><p>to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as </p><p>an officer in the United States Army1. Therefore, my first question to be answered is how to achieve </p><p>that goal if our cadets spend around 75% of every year in the classroom? It could be easier for an </p><p>Army Officer to inspire a cadet while in the field, but how do you do it in the classroom? The first </p><p>answer that comes to my mind is having passionate teachers/leaders in every single classroom at </p><p>West Point. Is that possible? Not impossible but difficult. </p><p>Passion is a topic that has always taken my attention due to the relevance and impact in those who </p><p>have the fortune to have somebody that inspires them by doing what he/she likes the most. </p><p>Probably after a couple of years, students will forget the exact lecture and some important details of </p><p>a particular issue but they will never forget how their professor made them feel while in the class </p><p>room and that is exactly what I will try to highlight with this research. </p><p>The purpose of this paper is to visualize how passion when teaching can make the difference in the </p><p>classroom based on the perception of the West Point Corps of Cadets. Passion is probably one of </p><p>the most difficult elements to be assessed due to its intangibility. Nevertheless, passion is globally </p><p> 1 UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY STRATEGIC PLAN 2015-2021 [On line] p.7. Available at: </p><p></p></li><li><p>2 </p><p>recognized as one of the greatest assets when anybody has the opportunity to lead, teach or </p><p>influence the lives of others. </p><p>The structure of this paper will be as follows: Initially, I will define Passion as a concept from </p><p>diverse sources in order to set the basis of this paper. Cadets contribution will be added from a </p><p>selection of the original definitions that they submitted using the digital survey that was used for that </p><p>purpose. The following topic will be Leadership and its direct and indivisible relation with passion. </p><p>Then, I will go over the survey results and will try to interpret the cadets perception on passion in </p><p>their classrooms at West Point. Finally, I will conclude based on every relevant discussion reflected </p><p>on this paper. </p><p>1. HOW DO WE DEFINE PASSION? </p><p>Tangible elements are always easier to define. But this is not the case. Passion is an intangible </p><p>concept that is difficult to measure, assess or even define for purposes like this. However, </p><p>everybody can have an idea of what passion is and how you can identify it from people around </p><p>you. For the Christian world, passion is directly related to Jesus Christ in a way of suffering. For </p><p>others passion could be synonymous of motivation. For the military passion is recognized as an </p><p>element of leadership. Lets go through some definitions of the concept in order to frame the </p><p>research and initiate this academic challenge. </p><p>a. Academic and other definitions </p><p>Concepts or expressions like passion, due to its intangibility, can be defined based on different </p><p>approaches. The Oxford English Dictionary offers us a great and rich selection of possible </p><p>definitions of this concept. Feelings, enthusiasm and preferences are elements that are present </p><p>in passion. Therefore, passion could be defined as: </p><p>Any kind of feeling by which the mind is powerfully affected or moved; a vehement, </p><p>commanding, or overpowering emotion; in psychology and art, any mode in which the mind is </p><p>affected or acted upon (whether vehemently or not), as ambition, avarice, desire, hope, fear, love, </p><p>hatred, joy, grief, anger, revenge. Sometimes personified. An eager outreaching of the mind </p><p>towards something; and overmastering zeal or enthusiasm for special object; a vehement </p><p>predilection2 </p><p>When you want to expand the definition and look for other options, we could find 609.000.000 </p><p>different results in Google search. That fact could reflect the diverse use of the word passion </p><p>for different purposes. The bestselling author Angela Maiers in her book The Passion-Driven </p><p>Classroom explains the origin of passion from Latin word patior which means to suffer or to </p><p>endure. Furthermore, she collected several definitions from fellow educators and teachers and </p><p>built an original one as the addition of every idea that was received: </p><p> 2 THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY (1989) Second Edition. Volume XI. Oxford University Press, New York. p 309-310. </p></li><li><p>3 </p><p>Passion is: pure joy; focused consciousness that changes worlds; my work; contagious; devotion </p><p>with enthusiasm; attractive (when you see it, hear it you just want some of it); timeless (it </p><p>cant be shaken from you and is what you live for); energy with intent and purpose; the engine </p><p>that powers life; an intense feeling for life, people, and everything else you believe in and love; </p><p>desperately needed but doesnt come from a program; takes time, but the reward is sweet; enables </p><p>us to overcome obstacles (both real and imagined) and to see the world as a place of infinite </p><p>potential; living your life doing what you love; way better than discipline; gusto; disruptive </p><p>excitement; when our hearts embrace our thoughts3 </p><p>All of these ideas are concepts that we, in a natural response to the definition, can come up </p><p>with using our instinct and basic background. But how do we put these theoretical definitions </p><p>into practice as professors? How can we become Professor John Keating in our own </p><p>academic environment? Certainly we cant create a recipe to mutate to a passionate teacher </p><p>from scratch but we can put all of these definitions together and built a sentence that can be </p><p>capable to describe what would be our goal if we really want to take passion as the engine of </p><p>our lives. </p><p>Robert L. Fried dedicates the prelude of his book The Passionate Teacher to describe the art of </p><p>engaging young minds which by the way is exactly what we want to achieve with our students </p><p> putting passion as the key element of that process. His proposal is the following: </p><p>A passionate teacher is to be someone in love with a field of knowledge, deeply stirred by issues </p><p>and ideas that challenge our world, drawn to the dilemmas and potentials of the young people </p><p>who come into class each day or captivated by all of these. A passionate teacher is a teacher </p><p>who breaks out of the isolation of a classroom, who refuses to submit to apathy or cynicism4 </p><p>Passion by definition is something that you cant buy in the store or something that you cant </p><p>see; just like some of the good important things in life like love. Passion will be grounded in the </p><p>relation every one of us have with our students5 and that particular relation is going to be built through </p><p>the time, care and love that we put in our classes and how they matter to us. </p><p>We can all have an idea of what is passion. For me is the intangible difference that can enhances every </p><p>relation with people and influence in their lives. In this case would be the intangible difference that can </p><p>influence our student in the classroom to help them achieve their goal and the USMA outcome. </p><p>b. Cadets original definitions </p><p>Annex #1 shows the survey that was provided and requested voluntarily to the entire Corps of </p><p>Cadets. From the 4322 cadets (100% of the West Point Corps of Cadets), 551 responded and </p><p>participate in this research project. That represents the 12,8% of the Academy and constitutes a </p><p>significant sample for this paper purposes. </p><p> 3 MAIERS, Angela &amp; SANDVOLD, Amy (2010) The Passion Driven Classroom. Routledge, New York. p 16-17. 4 FRIED, Robert L. (2001) The Passionate Teacher: A practical Gide (2nd Edition). Beacon Press, Boston. p 1. 5PAUSCH, Randy (2008) Speech at Carnegie Mellon University [On line] Available at: </p><p> </p><p></p></li><li><p>4 </p><p>Figure #1 SURVEY PARTICIPATION </p><p>An important ingredient that popped up while checking the answers was the cadets class </p><p>distribution, noticing that the majority came from the plebss class of 2018. The more </p><p>advanced the class is, the less answers I got. </p><p>Figure #2 SURVEY DISTRIBUTION </p><p>In question #5 cadets were voluntarily requested to propose an original definition for passion </p><p>in order to be included the best of them in the final paper. The result: each one of the 551 </p><p>cadets gave back an original proposal. Way beyond expectations, the given answers </p><p>overwhelmed my reading trying to find the best of the best. After a really hard time selecting </p><p>the answers, I finally realize that our cadets clearly understand that concept of passion and they </p><p>have the tools to come up with a sound definition. The most recurrent words that our cadets </p><p>used to build up their own definitions were: Enthusiasm, Love, Excitement, Motivation, Care, </p><p>Enjoyment, Desire and Internal Drive. If they truly know what passion is, certainly they know </p><p>exactly what to demand and expect from their professors in the classroom. </p><p>SURVEY PARTICIPATION </p><p>551 CADETS = 12,8% </p><p>TOTAL USMA = 4322 CADETS </p><p>38% </p><p>24% </p><p>22% </p><p>16% </p><p>SURVEY DISTRIBUTION </p><p>4TH CLASS 3RD CLASS 2ND CLASS 1ST CLASS </p></li><li><p>5 </p><p>Figure #3 MOST RECURRENT WORDS IN CADETS DEFINITION </p><p>According to what I request and offer to cadets, I gratefully present 45 original definitions that </p><p>somehow reflects cadets understanding and embracement of the concept: </p><p>Passion (in terms of teaching) especially here at the academy, is having a deep love and drive to pursue knowledge and improvement in one's chosen area of study and to have an intense desire translate that into energy in the classroom to evoke thought and interest in the students </p><p> CDT. Tanner Ellison. Class 15 </p><p>Passion is a manifestation of a deep love, respect, or admiration for an element of one's life </p><p> CDT. Christian Doyle. Class 17 </p><p>Passion is being able to inspire someone about a topic through knowledge and emotion </p><p> CDT. Paul Klee. Class 15 </p><p>Passion is energy, love, excitement, and drive </p><p> CDT. Haley OConnor. Class 16 </p><p>Passion is an exhilarating emotion felt when a topic or activity interests you to the point where you are consistently motivated to pursue that interest </p><p> CDT. Gretchen Roesel. Class 17 </p><p>20% </p><p>17% </p><p>12% 16% </p><p>12% </p><p>11% 9% 3% </p><p>MOST RECURRENT WORDS IN CADET'S DEFINITIONS </p><p>ENTHUSIASM </p><p>LOVE </p><p>EXCITEMENT </p><p>MOTIVATION </p><p>CARE </p><p>COMMITMENT </p><p>DESIRE </p><p>ENJOYMENT </p></li><li><p>6 </p><p>Passion is the interest, engagement, and enthusiasm one has for a subject, discipline or area of life, demonstrated by their energy, actions, thoughts, and speech </p><p> CDT. Frank Lin. Class 17 </p><p>Passion is absolutely loving and enjoying what you are doing. You have a knack for it Teachers here have passion for what they teach, but that does not inspire me to do better </p><p> CDT. Allison Setter. Class 16 </p><p>Passion is loving something so much you cannot help but want to share it with others so they too can appreciate it as you do </p><p> CDT. Jonathan Denecker. Class 17 </p><p>Passion is the willingness/eagerness of someone to share their love of a certain subject with their students. This means they go out of their way to present the material in ways that the students respond to </p><p> CDT. Scott Murray. Class 16 </p><p>Passion is a subconscious response to an external matter that elicits enthusiasm and inquiry </p><p> CDT. Ashley Jennings. Class 18 </p><p>Passion is a overflowing enthusiasm and interest that you want to share with others </p><p> CDT. Andrew Hicks. Class 18 </p><p>Passion is the drive to continually learn about a subject and share your knowledge with others </p><p> CDT. Stanley Diddams. Class 16 </p><p>Passion is a deep desire to do or perform an action with earnest, intrinsically motivated hard work </p><p> CDT. Britteney Murray. Class 15 </p><p>Passion is an ineffable love that is internally motivated for a certain subject or object which borders on obsession but is not detrimental to oneself. Passion leads to sharing of that subject or object within and out of formal settings </p><p> CDT. Benjamin Lemon. Class 17 </p></li><li><p>7 </p><p>Passion is love and commitment </p><p> CDT. Eric Arzaga. Class 16 </p><p>Passion is a feeling of enthusiasm, love, and even reverence that provides a foundation for an instructors perspective, and which causes that person to feel a strong sense of attachment towards his or her subject </p><p> CDT. Spencer Smith. Class 15 </p><p>Passion is being excited about the material, caring about the students, and being excited/animated while instructing </p><p> CDT. Zachary Newquist. Class 15 </p><p>Passion is the intrinsic motivation to work towards a specific goal </p><p> CDT. Nicholas Moran. Class 16 </p><p>Passion is one's ability to be motivated everyday and to try to better yourself and others along the way </p><p> CDT. Tyler Bonfe. Class 15 </p><p>Passion is the level of emotion integrated into someones thoughts and actions </p><p> CDT. John Geiger. Class 15 </p><p>Passion is a noticeable enthusiasm from the instructor about both the subject matter and the student's learning </p><p> CDT. Paulo Blaise. Class 18 </p><p>Passion is devotion to something or someone that can be seen in words and actions. </p><p> CDT. Kyle Hinrichsen. Class 16 </p><p>Passion is an unquestionable love, understanding and commitment to something or someone </p><p> CDT. Eric Miller. Class XX </p></li><li><p>8 </p><p>Passion is the combination of an intrinsic motivation for a particular subject or activity coupled wit...</p></li></ul>