How Kids Learn Best With Focused Passion
by Steve Snyder
As humans, we all experience a most powerful learning state. It's a state I call Focused Passion. That state of wide-eyed fascination, of absolute wonder and awe. It occurs when brain and heart come together intensely, through total focused concentration and amplified passionate interest. In this state of Focused Passion, anyone can learn, and in fact everyone does. There are many components of being a great learner, but among the most important is the ability to pay attention. To be able to focus undivided concentration onto one thing. This is essential to great learning.
How well you pay attention is important. What is not so important is for how long.
People with short attention spans can be GREAT learners. In fact, there is no big advantage in having a long attention span instead of a short one, because regardless of the duration of your attention span, you have an amazingly rapid recovery rate. Pay attention to something for a span of two minutes, or ten minutes, or twenty minutes, and then stop, take just ten seconds off, and you will be ready to pay attention again, for another span of two, or ten, or twenty minutes.
The secret is not to build longer attention spans. The secret is to put our natural attention spans back to back to back. Persistence and perseverance, coming back each time you go away, is more the key to paying attention, than is seeing how long you can spend, each time you are there.
It's not how much time you can pay attention, it's how many times you can.
If you first focus your mind on one thing, such as an idea or an image of a very peaceful place, then you can put your focused mind onto anything that you choose. But it won't stay there for long, unless the heart is also engaged. You may have focus, but without passion, focus only lasts a very short while. The state of Focused Passion includes both total focused concentration , and at least as important, amplified passionate interest.
Interest means that along with the Brain Mind, the Heart Mind is also engaged in the learning. When it is not, when you are bored, apathetic, or indifferent, the Brain Mind keeps trying to learn, but the Heart Mind daydreams away from the boredom, in search of something interesting. The Heart Mind will go and find something that has more emotion.
Focus is the key to empowering the Brain Mind. Interest is the key to keeping the Heart Mind also engaged. With focus and passion, we can learn just about anything more effectively. The secret to understanding interest (why some people are interested in some things while others are interested in other things) is to know, that there is no such thing as a subject that is interesting, and there is no such thing as a subject that is boring, there are people who are interested, and people who are bored. Name any subject and I can find students who love it and others it bores to tears.
Interest isn't about what you're doing, interest comes from the past or the future.
You are interested in learning something, because something happened to you to lead you to believe that what you are about to do, will feel good. You also get interested in something, by imagining that by focusing and learning it, it will make you feel good in the future. I was very interested in studying World History Two because I loved studying World History One. I was focused and interested in Psychology, even though I had never taken it (nothing in the past), I could vividly imagine (in the future), using it to help myself and others to improve their lives. But even if there is nothing in the past, and you don't know enough about the subject to imagine anything in the future, there is still a way to get interested.
Realize, we are all graduates of M.S.U., (Make Stuff Up)
And you have to pre-tend, before you tend to do anything
We can invent some imaginary past experiences, or we can pretend that learning the subject means something wonderful is going to happen. It doesn't have to be real. It doesn't even have to be possible. The Brain Mind knows what is real, but the Heart Mind, the one that dreams at night, can't tell the difference between imagination and reality. Imagine that the most wonderful thing that you can possibly imagine will come true, simply by learning this subject, and you can get yourself very very interested in anything that you choose.