The Continuum of Purpose graphic designed by Sylvia Duckworth @sylviaduckworth https://goo.gl/6Hmd4J with content updated by Barbara Bray from original content with Kathleen McClaskey. The content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. *
Establishing a clear purpose for learning encourages a desire to increase a deeper understanding of what you want for your life. In stating a purpose, learners can make their expectations for learning clear. Purpose goes beyond what we listed under the other continuums because the learner is identifying a challenge, problem, or something that they are passionate about. It is more than pursuing their purpose. The whole sense of purpose is bigger than self. When you have a purpose, it has a broader reach, is self-fulfilling, and gives you a meaningful and purposeful life.
John F. Kennedy
Conformity is about being compliant. It is when students match their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to the others in the class. Students at this level tend to follow orders and are more concerned with what their peers believe. They tend to feel peer pressure from the majority of the group. This attitude can be called “groupthink.” The only purpose that students have when conforming is similar to the group purpose or other extrinsic factors like working for grades or being accepted by the group.
Self-Awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability for learners to recognize that they are separate from others. Learners seek to learn more about who they are as a person by having a clear perception of their personality, strengths, challenges, interests, talents, and aspirations. They also understand how other people perceive them and create opportunities to change behaviors and beliefs. They are just starting to recognize their hopes and dreams as the first step in determining what they may want to learn and want for their life.
In the Discovery phase, learners search for what matters in life for them. The learner is open to trying new things and taking risks so they can pursue and discover their passion. When they realize that they can take control of learning around their passion, they are intrinsically motivated to investigate everything they can about it. This is where the learning environment matters. The teacher needs to let go and let learning happen. Learners at any age can explore all their interests to discover that they are most passionate about.
Making a Difference
When learners find a problem or challenge that they are passionate about, this is where empathy can come into play. The learner looks beyond their own self-interests so they can foster a meaningful life. They want to make a difference by finding a solution to a problem and tackling it. This gives them a sense of purpose in the world. When learners have a clearly stated purpose, then they have the foundation for the process of building concepts, skills, and information. They want to learn more because it is something they are interested in and passionate about. When they do this, they may find their purpose for learning and their life. I wrote this quote below some time ago and believe passion and purpose matter for all of us.
“Go with your strengths and interests so you find
your passion to discover your purpose.”
Barbara Bray 2001
*Thank You to Sylvia Duckworth @sylviaduckworth from Toronto, Canada for designing the graphic of the Continuum of Purpose 4/12/2016. Please make sure you visit http://sylviaduckworth.com for permission to use any of her graphics.