I know I didn’t really need permission to continue where I left off; but Elizabeth Gilbert, in her latest book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, gave me the ‘permission’ I felt I needed. (Now I know I don’t need it). Towards the end of this gem of a book, Gilbert “urges” the reader to “forget about passion.” It was then that an aha moment hit me. How often do I talk about passion in class? Too often it seems. Gilbert argues that telling someone to follow their passion may leave the ones who are struggling to find it, “confused and blocked and insecure.” Rather encourage curiosity.
So when a student is struggling to find a topic he/she cares enough about to write a persuasive piece, I will ask the following:
“Is there anything you’re interested in?
Even a tiny bit?
No matter how mundane or small?” (p.237)
In fact, that is why every Friday
is TOW (Kelly Gallagher’s Text of the Week). I hope to nudge my students’ curiosity by reading interesting articles, viewing engaging TED talks as well as a powerful image from The New York Times weekly ‘What’s Going on in This Image’.