[T]he primary task of the teacher is to try to understand their students’ authentic interests and goals, and then help students to understand the connection between their personal goals and interests and schoolwork. In addition, teachers may also find or develop tasks that fit their students’ interests. When students do not have clear personal interests and goals, teachers may assist them in developing such interests and goals.
Assor, A., Kaplan, H., & Roth, G. (2002). Choice is Good, but Relevance is Excellent: Enhancing and Suppressing Teacher Behaviors Predicting Students’ Engagement in Schoolwork. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 72, 261–278.
I may be over-confident … but I think … [i]f I genuinely wish to discover a student’s interest I can do so. It might be through direct questions. It might be by creating a climate in which it is natural for interests to emerge. Although young people have been greatly deadened by their school experience, they do come to life in a healthy psychological atmosphere and are more than willing to share their desires.
Rogers, C. R. (1974). Questions I Would Ask Myself If I Were a Teacher. Education, 95(2), 134–139.
But then, if I am right, certain professors of education must be wrong when they say that they can put a knowledge into the soul which was not there before, like sight into blind eyes. Whereas, our argument shows that the power and capacity of learning exist in the soul already; and that just as the eye was unable to turn from darkness to light without the whole body, so too the instrument of knowledge can only by the movement of the whole soul be turned.
Plato, Republic 518c