Genius hours are a fairly new trend in education. The concept behind them is simple- students have one hour a week to explore and learn about whatever they want. The idea is that giving students the freedom to explore the topics they are passionate about helps them stay engaged and retain information. An article from teachthought.com explains “It allows students to explore their own curiosity through a self-manifested sense of purpose and study while within the support system of the classroom.” The article goes on to propose that there are 6 general principles that genius hours follow. They are the 80/20 rule, socialization, creating, inquiry, design, and sense of purpose.
The 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule suggests that students should 80% of their time focused on the projects and assignments in general lessons, and 20% of their time in class working on a project they choose.
Students must be encouraged to connect with their teachers, peers, and experts in the field they are studying. This encourages them to collaborate, ask questions, and get more confident when it comes to building personal and professional connections.
At the end of the year, students should have created something based on what they learned. By creating something based on research, students learn how to find real world applications to the things they are learning in the classroom.
By encouraging students to ask questions and providing a limited structure, students can explore topics and better learn how to filter information.
Without having the typical learning framework provided by teachers, students find their own learning style and can narrow down what works best for them.
Sense of Purpose
Allowing students to take control of their education helps them learn responsibility and empowers them to find their own answers and solutions.
In 2016, only a few hundred teachers had tried implementing the genius hour in their classrooms, but now the movement has spread to thousands of schools all over the world. As genius hours become a more common practice in schools, it is important to consider what changes this may mean for curriculum structure and educational tools.
Do students have the materials they need to learn how to code, manage data and research, or explore more complex STEAM topics? What new ways will students find to use the resources available to them?