The Heart of Learning
Allan M. MacKinnon
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada.
DOI: 10.4236/ce.2013.412A2003   PDF    HTML     5,203 Downloads   9,059 Views   Citations


This essay explores the central importance of human interest and aspiration in learning. In an age when our educational institutions and ministries of education seem to be preoccupied with defining and measuring the “outcomes” of schooling, there is a great need to reconsider what we are doing in curriculum studies and refocus at least some of our energy on helping young people develop and sustain their interests. I use an autobiographical account of my interest in playing guitar and how this is related to my formative school experiences to develop my argument. The article also reviews literature tracing educational research and writing that focuses on the role of interest in learning.

Share and Cite:

MacKinnon, A. (2013) The Heart of Learning. Creative Education, 4, 16-19. doi: 10.4236/ce.2013.412A2003.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Dewey, J. (1913). Interest and effort in education. Boston: Riverside.
[2] Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of education. New York: Macmillan.
[3] Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York: Macmillan.
[4] Engestrom, Y. (1987). Learning by expanding: An activity theoretical approach to developmental research. Helsinki: Orienta-Konsultit Oy.
[5] Engestrom, Y. (1999). Activity theory as individual and social transformation. In Y. Engestrom, R. Miettinen, & R. L. Punamaki (Eds.), Perspectives on activity theory (pp. 19-38). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[6] Herbart, J. F. (1965a). General pedagogy, derived from the goal of education. In J. F. Herbart (Ed.), Padagogische Schriften (Vol. 2, pp. 9-155). Dusseldorf: Kupper.
[7] Herbart, J. F. (1965b). Lectures on pedagogy. In J. F. Herbart (Ed.), Padagogische Schriften (Vol. 3, pp. 157-300). Dusseldorf: Kupper.
[8] Hidi, S. (1990). Interest and its contribution as a mental resource for learning. Review of Educational Research, 60, 549-571.
[9] Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Revisiting activity theory as a framework for designing studentcentered learning environments. In D. H. Jonassen, & S. M. Land (Eds.), Theoretical foundations of learning environments (pp. 89-121). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
[10] Kerschensteiner, G. (1922). Theory of education. Leipzig: Teubner.
[11] Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[12] Lunk, G. (1926). Interest: Vol. 1: Historical-critical part. Leipzig: Klinkhardt.
[13] Lunk, G. (1927). Interest: Vol. 2: Philosophical-educational part. Leipzig: Klinkhardt.
[14] Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Education (2011). BC’s Education Plan. Victoria, BC.
[15] Schiefel, U. (1991). Interest, learning and motivation. Educational Psychologist, 26, 299-323.
[16] Wertsch, J. V. (1998). Mind as action. New York: Oxford University Press.
[17] Wertsch, J. V. (1991). Voices of the mid: Socio-cultural approach to mediated action. Cambridge, MS: Harvard University Press.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.