EPIC Framework: Passion-driven Educators
Be a Passion-driven Educator by demonstrating an interest in sharing your passions with learners and helping learners discover and foster their passions!

Core Values

Passion-driven Educators demonstrate an interest in sharing their passions and helping learners discover and nurture their own interests.

Core ValuesClassroom Ideas
Cultivate a deep understanding and genuine interest in class topics.– Teach only classes that match one’s expertise and experience, and openly share excitement and enthusiasm for these topics with learners.
– Develop unique content linked to passions and interests, instead of being limited by “traditional” subjects.
– Ensure that multiple perspectives are represented in lessons.
Ignite a passion for class topics in learners.– Use age-appropriate teaching materials for each class.
– Connect class topics to other areas of interest and learning.
– Activate learners’ prior knowledge and ask for their input on what they’d like to learn.
– Incorporate games or interactive activities to inspire excitement for the class topic.

Passion-driven Resources

Lexile Level –> Use this tool to establish the reading level of different books, so you can match readers with appropriate texts.
Common Sense Media –> This independent non-profit organization provides resources to help parents and educators safely navigate digital media and find age-appropriate materials.
Teaching Tolerance –> Create an inclusive classroom community with resources from this organization.
Cambridge.org –> Gain a better understanding of teaching with a global perspective.
KWL Chart Template –> Encourage learners to activate prior knowledge and share what they want to learn about a topic.
3-2-1 Exit Ticket –> Provide learners with the opportunity to reflect on what they have learned and what questions they still have.
Kahoot –> Create online quizzes and trivia games using your own questions or pre-made games.

Tips from Passion-driven Educators

Marc Cuda – Beyond the fact that students will ask many questions that they expect you to know the answer to as the teacher, teaching something that you are passionate about makes the class more fun for everyone! Teaching seems less like ‘work’ when you are passing on your passion to the next generation and your passion can be really infectious – the goal of any class. For me, this is animals and Zoology. I’ve worked with animals for a long time and can talk about them for hours. Bringing in my own videos of marine iguanas in the Galapagos Islands or training barn owls is enough to get these budding zoologists more excited about their future. It makes them want to learn more and is super rewarding. Students become more confident in you when they see your passion for the subject and parents become more confident in you when their dinner table conversation gets hijacked with your class content and memorable moments. Whatever you teach, bring in those real life examples to show your passion, knowledge, and give life to your topic!

Heather Swann – It is important for me to teach classes that I am passionate about because I feel like a teacher’s true abilities come through when they are able to be free to teach what they are passionate about. For me personally, I am passionate about teaching science and doing science experiments. I feel like I become alive when I am teaching science. That motivation to explore and learn science is then transferred to my learners. I feel like if a teacher is passionate about teaching then a child will be passionate about learning. I choose my classes based on my passion for teaching science. I try to center my classes around some element of science in anyway that I can. Classes that have hands-on experiments are my favorite type of classes to teach because they are so engaging and fun. The experiments also often leave room to explore new ways of conducting the experiment that we may have not tried before or may not be written as the lesson was originally intended. I love the open ended nature that science experiments bring to the classroom. Science lends itself really well to making mistakes and trial and error which I believe are essential to the learning process. In fact, I would go as far as to say that mistakes are the very building blocks of learning. Without mistakes there is no learning that can take place. Science is the perfect concept for which to take chances, take risks, make mistakes, and explore the very depths of our knowledge.

Tammy Wenhame – Themed classes naturally create a space for like-minded students. Tapping into a student’s passion for a topic allows them to share thoughts, ideas, and concepts freely. Conversations then become a natural springboard for discussions and educational moments. Tapping into enthusiasm is the key when the goal is to tap into students’ genuine desire to learn and explore. Allowing the student the freedom to intellectually explore in a safe area generally enable a student to grow in their confidence, creating a passion for learning

Latonya Moore – Teaching art and math comes easy for me because I am passionate about these topics. I don’t have to overthink or question my abilities because I dedicate time to these topics even when I am not teaching. If I try to teach topics that I am not passionate about, it will show. I will not have the same confidence or enthusiasm because I will lack interest. I encourage teachers to teach their passion because they will not only serve learners by teaching something they are knowledgeable about, but they will serve themselves too because they will be able to engage in and explore a topic they are already passionate about.

Ms. Carrie – My favorite story to date is about a learner in my STEAM class. In this class, I prioritize building each student’s creativity while also teaching the importance of teamwork and building each other up. So the story is, this learner’s mom reached out to tell me about how she was noticing this class had already ignited and was developing creativity skills in her daughter she has never seen before. She explained they had obtained a new kitten recently, and her daughter took it upon herself to design and construct the new kitten some toys. Her daughter then asked to share with the class the toys. Which I, of course, allowed. Seeing the other students all cheering her on and applauding her for her hard work… was incredible! There is no better “review” than a parent recognizing the growth and development they are seeing in their child and then watching the class interact in such a positive and uplifting way.

Dr. Kai Kafferly – Specifically, I try to help students see their own prior knowledge in a new and broader light, and use it as a springboard from which to build new knowledge to gain a greater understanding of the complexity and the interconnectedness of knowledge. One of the best ways to make this happen is to ask my students thought-provoking questions where they have to actively think about their own past learning to answer. True learning requires a deeper understanding that can only come when students reflect, internalize, and actively use their knowledge in new, creative, and meaningful ways. When a student finally grasps that they do know a great deal and that they can begin to trust their own inner knowledge, apply it in a useful manner to new knowledge, this empowers them to actively seek and desire greater learning, whether it’s Outschool, online or from other sources. This is perhaps one of the greatest motivators of any human being, to find inspiration deep within oneself. It can move mountains.

To learn more about Outschool’s EPIC Framework, click here!

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