project-based learning, culturally responsive teaching, passion, motivation


How do we confront entrenched educational practices in higher education that lead to student demotivation, poor retention, and low persistence? This article argues that project-based learning that situates student voice and capacity at the center of culturally-responsive curriculum has the potential to spark student passion for problem-solving real world issues that directly affect them, their family, and/or their community, especially when combined with other key component student-centered strategies found in learning communities. The article asserts that we learn more when we are doing something we care about, and project-based learning (a.k.a. Passion Projects) that responds to students in the room not only sends the message that we value their experiences and points of view, which in hand, leads to a more inclusive, positive environment, it also provides experience for the kind of thinking and skills students need to integrate for 21st century careers.