Finding an interest

Following interests in the real world is an important Big Picture design principle. Here are some ideas and resources for teachers and students working with this idea.

There are several interest exploration activities that help you brainstorm about your interests and discover more about who you are:

Life Journey Map: Create a map of your important life experiences – people, hobbies, special talents, group activities, music, books, movies, beliefs about society, jobs, good times, hard times, things from your culture (art, language, traditions, rituals, religion), and anything else that has shaped the way you think and act. Start by writing a Stepping Stones Narrative, see far right hand column on this page, and look at some examples of My Street - more than 100 stories told from real and imagined streets around Australia and across the globe. 
Future Map: What do you want your life to look like 2, 5, 10, and 25 years from now? Include employment, education, hobbies, skills, travel, spirituality, character, and location. Imagine your retirement party. You have accomplished your most important life goals. Who is there, and what are they saying about you as a person? What are they saying about the events of your life? 
Social Action: What are the greatest sources of suffering in the world? In your country? In your community? What are the most critical needs that are going unmet? Which businesses, organizations, or individuals are involved in solving these problems? Compare the approach taken by social actions groups, such as  The Change Agency, Social Actions, Get Up! 
See a play or movie that interests you and explore it in depth. Read the history of the period. Why were the clothes like that? Compare the language from then to now. Read a biography of the main character. Get some ideas from At the Movies and the Australian Aboriginal Theater Initiative Inc. 
Dig deeper into anything that grabs your interest. 
Talk with more experienced students about their passions. How did they figure out what they like to do? Do the same thing with parents, relatives, neighbors, church members, and retired adults. 
Learning style inventory: Did you know that everyone has a different way of learning? Some people are visual learners – they have to see something before they can figure it out. Others are aural – they have to hear things to understand them. And others are a combination of these or many other styles. What style is best for you? 
Personal talents quiz: You may be surprised at all the things that can be a talent! Talents can be personal traits, such as responsibility, kindness, listening, organizing, or leadership as well as things like music, art, or sports. 
Family interests or talents inventory: Finding out the talents or interests of your family members might give you some new ideas about what you can explore
(Adapted from the Big Picture Learning Cycle: 2 Pursue Your Passions • Interest Explorationp. 6-7)

Find out everything you can about your interest, the more you know, the better equipped you will be to develop a great learning plan.

Mentor database: Look for local professionals in the field to speak with. Browse the Yellow pages for business categories in Glebe.
Informational Interviews: Once you have an idea of what you are interested in, start to prepare to interview that person. Read some of the Redfern Oral History interviews for ideas.
Trade magazines: You can find magazines on all sorts of subjects: music, dance, cars, computers, carpentry, art, public relations, health care, science, history, fishing, etc. Visit mag nation in Newtown (155 King STreet) or look at their website.
Internet searches: Using major search engines will turn up all kinds of information on a subject.
Read biographies/autobiographies of famous people who were involved in your interest. Watch an interview at Australian Biography, for example Lowitja (Lois) O'Donoghue or Charlie Perkins.
Read newspaper or magazine articles about your interest.
Look for directories of your interest at the library.
Read fiction and non-fiction books about your interest.Go and browse in Gleebooks (49 & 191 Glebe Point Road) or visit their website.
Look up local or national companies/organizations that are involved in your interest.
Brochures or websites from professional associations: There are organizations for all kinds of professions – lawyers, environmentalists, actors, carpenters – almost any interest has a related organization.
Check the City of Sydney Community Services Directory for more information on community organizations and businesses.(Adapted from the Big Picture Learning Cycle: 2 Pursue Your Passions • Interest Explorationp. 10-11).

Here are some other people's stories about learning and finding out about what  interests them:
  • Students from the Loganlea State High School in Queensland talk about their experiences at school and the important role the Knowledge House plays in keeping people strong (see related media on the Stronger Smarter Institute website).
  • Rockstar designer Stefan Sagmeister delivers a short, witty talk on life lessons, expressed through surprising modes of design (including ... inflatable monkeys?).