Have you heard of it?
Have you heard of it?
It certainly sounds fascinating!
It all started in the corporate world, where it had often been stated that employees were at their best when they were expected to spend 80% of their work time fully dedicated to company projects but the other 20% of their time pursuing their passions. It seems to boost creativity and neuroplasticity and keeps the brain receptive.
The concept worked so well in many successful companies that many in the field of education thought it should be applied to classroom students. They should have a healthy amount of time to pursue their passions – the topics that excite them to learn and strive for more. This is what became known as the Genius Hour. It’s a fairly new educational concept that’s been widely embraced.
In a class setting, Genius Hour encourages curiosity and self-directed learning for each individual. It does not have strict requirements, testing, or set grading blueprints. The student is in control of everything from topics to tools. They decide what to study and how to proceed on a project. Depending on their interest, this may include writing about findings, producing an item, creating a film or audio file, or verbalizing their new knowledge to the instructor or the whole class.
Genius Hour is spent inquiring, researching, recording in some way (writing, film, photograph), and simply absorbing and learning about the pupil’s passion. This may be something they have felt drawn to for years, and a subject they feel may make a good choice for a career in the future.
Whereas traditional classroom teaching and learning usually includes a syllabus, academic standards to be met, grading, lesson plans, and tests, Genius Hour does not follow any specific requirements. When milestones and standards become mandatory, students lose their spark, even with passionate topics, so this is their time to run on their path however they see fit. There is much freedom, and most students thoroughly enjoy it.
In most schools that use it, Genius Hour occurs during a set time in the school day. It can occur right in the classroom or another designated place like an available study room or outdoor tables. If a pupil’s passion includes speaking to experts in a certain field, it may even mean bringing them to school or going on a field trip.
With all the self-directed efforts involved in Genius Hour, students can feel empowered and driven with a sense of independence and purpose. They are in charge of navigating their learning route and can become completely immersed in the knowledge and information gathering without interruption from peers or authority figures.
Their research starts with a broad scope and then narrows according to their interests and intuition. For example, one may want to learn more about ocean life at the start, then expertly narrow it down to crustaceans. Over time, they’ll find what they love and run with it.
When the inquiry, research, and fact-finding are complete, their mission reaches its peak. While traditional learning may bring students, at this point, to a patch of time they find overwhelming (studying for a final test or creating a formal paper about the assigned subject), Genius Hour participants may find this point in their project exhilarating.
Now is the time to design and present the information they gathered and likely became even more passionate about as they absorbed and learned. Because they get to choose which direction to go when it comes to this “final” step, it is exciting to many. They may choose to use this form if they love documentaries and films. If they love to write, they can do so in any style they choose (not so formal, as a play, script, etc.). Artists can create a painting or sculptures.
Nearly anything is possible, and children should use the concept that appeals to them the most.
For many, the only rule involved in Genius Hour is when it occurs during the school day. With other courses having specific times and structural components, Genius Hour must be worked around that, and so is assigned as a pre-scheduled portion of the day for certain groups at particular times. It may occur during an actual hour or more or less than that as time and schedules allow. It may be 20 minutes per day, two hours twice a week, or 90 minutes once a week.
While it’s called Genius Hour, that is merely a term that can be adjusted and molded just like the Genius Hour projects.
Fans of Genius Hour do encourage schools, organizations, and clubs to try it. An added benefit for teachers is that they can learn a great deal more about their students as people. They can observe what lights up their passions, how they learn best, and many more traits as they help with projects.
Genius Hour encourages interaction between students, their peers, and others in their community. They are fully engaged in learning about their chosen topic. It may even lead to volunteer opportunities, internships, or jobs.
The concept embraces that teachers are wonderful in assisting with the learning process. Still, students can choose to be lifelong learners when they try to follow their joy, think critically, and contribute to showing others what they have learned. We can all be our teachers and students in many areas of life.