Many of us sincerely wish students would follow their passions, but many of them, especially the younger ones, sincerely don’t know what that is. When we ask them, “What interests you?” and they respond, “I don’t know,” they aren’t being disingenuous or stubborn. The enormity and vagueness of the question after they’ve been conditioned to provide “right” or “correct” answers sets them up for fear and a blank brain.
Below are strategies I teach teachers when they want to encourage student-led research and they are willing to slow down the process to make the early steps visible.
Teach them how to generate a question and find their own interests.