6 Principles Of Genius Hour In The Classroom
The traditional educational system is rather bureaucratic, based on a teacher-centered model. It imposes strict standards which not all students can meet, drives them into a narrow framework of academic routine. Everyone should attend the same classes, perform the same assignments, and develop the same competencies. But young people have individual needs and do not always understand what for certain activities are necessary. Therefore, the traditional approach should be revised and improved.
What Genius Hour is?
Genius Hour seems to be much more effective educational format. In this case, teachers focus on students’ impressions and motivations, tailor curricula to their specific skills and character traits, provide freedom of choice, encourage creativity and profound research. Young people can take part in academic planning, decide what and how they will learn, use the most suitable information channels, set long-term and short-term goals. Since studies cease to be a tedious duty and turn into an exciting adventure, young people absorb knowledge passionately, undertake responsibility for their academic activities, approach challenges with curiosity and enthusiasm, understand the importance of each assignment and lesson.
Google shows a vivid example of how Genius Hour may be used. A company administration allows employees to spend up to 20% of their working time on self-directed projects. Specialists may explore topics of interest and seek original solutions for challenges existing in their industry. Labor starts resembling a hobby bringing pleasure in addition to money. With Genius Hour, people study and work because they want it and not because somebody
exerts pressure on them. Students who are free to express their own opinion and initiatives are usually happier, have better academic performance, develop leadership qualities, and strive to find out more about their majors.
What is the difference?
Since there are many innovative educational trends today, Genius Hour is often confused with other approaches, for example, user-generated and self-directed learning. These formats are more open than GH, extend learners’ freedom and independence to the whole educational process. With GH, young people do not deviate from the system and show initiative within a general learning schedule.
There is a long-term academic plan, and everyone should stick to it, show some results at the end of a semester. But students may decide what they would do at intermediary stages in order to reach goals prescribed in this plan. Typically, a teacher provides a topic of a lesson and allows learners to choose from different activities (lecture, group project, experiment) and information sources (textbook, video, presentation). This is how Genius Hour works.
As a result, young people spend their school time in preferred ways and reach a knowledge level prescribed by state standards, study their own capabilities, always stay motivated, and get support from the educational system when facing some challenges.
Experts from Pro-Papers have compiled the list of basic principles which should help teachers to implement Genius Hour in a classroom.
6 principles of Genius Hour
1. Sense of purpose
Most young people perceive their academic responsibilities as a heavy burden, have no desire to go to lectures in the morning and do homework, such as essay writing, in the evening, using every chance to cheat and do nothing. They study to avoid punishment and not to gain knowledge. It is worth reminding students that they attend classes for their own good, pave a way to successful and happy adult life, that any discipline may be interesting and exciting if
approached correctly. Education should become a deliberate choice, and each assignment should be performed with a sense of purpose.
Personal motivation is much stronger than academic coercion. Students’ work would reach a new qualitative level if they understand what for certain things are done and studied. Both professors and learners should come to a class to enjoy the educational process and not just fulfill formal requirements.
Students are free to choose learning content with the most suitable design, use a variety of information sources, and get unique in-class experiences. Nobody forces them to perform unloved assignments or read boring textbooks if they do not want it.
3. Inquiry & navigation
Genius Hour has much in common with inquiry-based learning. Students survey their own capabilities, determine knowledge gaps, conduct profound research in weak areas, navigate through information flows and collect data corresponding to their academic needs, get an idea of concepts which are more interesting and important to them.
Note-taking, reading textbooks, and other types of passive learning do not provide such effects as hands-on experience and practical exercises. When working with hypothetical problems and real-life cases, young people not only absorb but also create knowledge. Professors may ask learners to perform projects, make models and prototypes, design and publish something so that young people see visible products of their work.
Students interact with educators to plan actions and overcome challenges, with peers to share impressions and gain teamwork skills, with community members to demonstrate their accomplishments and establish a sense of purpose.
6. 80/20 rule
Of course, Genius Hour cannot fully replace traditional academic activities. Lectures, seminars, and homework are indispensable parts of the educational process. Experts recommend allocating 20% of school time for Genius Hour. It may be one day per week, one lesson per day, or 10 minutes per lesson. Each teacher is free to choose a schedule which suits one and one’s students best.