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Strategies for Igniting a Student’s Passion for Learning

Students learn better when they are passionate about learning. In fact, there’s something wonderfully rewarding when we see the spark of curiosity and engagement in a student transform into a passion for learning. These are the students who ask insightful questions, don’t procrastinate on assignments, seek clarification on assignments, and keep in touch years after the class ends because your course made a real impact. You can help be the match that lights the fire of a student’s passion for learning by adapting your teaching strategy with a few simple actions. 

Lead By Example 

Igniting a student’s passion for learning starts with having a passionate instructor. That means teaching with a sense of purpose and enthusiasm that helps shape how students think about the course. Let your engagement and passion with the course be infectious and translate it into practical actions:  

  • Regularly relate course concepts to recent real-world examples.  

  • Use time each week to discuss how what you covered in class can be usefully applied in a professional work setting or future courses. 

  • Be direct, ask students what excites them about your course and their college major, and stimulate a discussion during your class.  

Inspire with Relevancy 

Inspire students by making your teaching relevant and inspirational. Do this by: 

  • Reviewing and updating lectures and assignments after every course.  

  • Bringing in outside experts to speak to the class.  

  • Reading student reviews and making appropriate changes to how and what you teach.  

  • Ask students for feedback during the course and demonstrate your willingness to address that feedback while in the course. 

Support with Sympathy 

Know your audience! Supporting and understanding your student’s motivation can inspire their desire in the classroom. This means getting to know them and making a connection. Some suggestions are: 

  • Managing your lecture and listening quotient so you’re allowing them opportunities to voice their opinion, concerns, thoughts, etc. 

  • Being proactive and Inquiring with the quiet students to understand their needs. 

  • Intervening quickly with procrastinating students so you can coach them to better manage their time (research shows that students who procrastinate achieve lower grades than those who don’t procrastinate). 

  • Ask the class how they envision using course concepts in future courses and in their profession.  


Igniting a student’s passion for learning is one of the joys of teaching. Start by showing them your passion for their learning, with a relevant course and a supportive teaching approach. 

About the Author

Christopher G. Bona is adjunct faculty at Purdue University’s Brian Lamb School of Communication. He teaches a mix of business and communications courses.

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