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Have you heard of ‘Genius Hour’?


Genius hour is an approach to learning where students are guided by their own interests, knowledge and curiosity.
The concept originated from the 80/20 rule followed by Google, where engineers get to spend 20% of their time on any project of their choice. The basic idea behind this is to allow people to work on something that interests them. The concept has been a hit and nearly 50% of Google’s projects have been created during such creative hours allocated to the employees.
Inspired by what Google introduced, educators started implementing the same concept in the classroom. Here, students are given time to explore ideas and follow their instincts. They are encouraged to learn and be inquisitive about things around them.
Characteristics of genius hour
Some of the characteristics of genius hour are:
1.Student-centred
The focus of genius hour rests entirely on the students. They are given time to explore their interests and develop their curiosity based on what appeals to them.
2.Messy
Genius hour is meant to be a meaningful mess. It is a time allocated for the students to be as creative and as innovative as possible.
3.Focus on enquiry and research
The basic idea behind genius hour is to be curious and question things that one sees around themselves. Students are encouraged to learn by being curious.
4.Personalised
Genius hour is a form of personalised learning where each student learns in a different way. This makes the students inquisitive and develops their creativity.
5.Collaborative learning
Networking is an important aspect of genius hour. Students learn to work together and help one another to learn new concepts.
Advantages of genius hour:
Genius hour is solely meant to explore and widen the horizons of knowledge and hence, it should not be confused with free time. It is not data driven or standard based, but it definitely follows a structure.
1.Student-centric
Genius hour offers a shift in the learning process. The focus shifts from a curriculum-based learning to a curiosity-based learning and becomes more student centric.
2.Encourages and motivates the students
When students learn out of curiosity, they are motivated to widen their knowledge by learning more. Genius hour not only provides motivation, but also develops creativity.
3.Minimal requirement of technology
Genius hour requires minimal use of technology. It urges the students to explore concepts by being curious and eager.
4.Helps students to learn beyond the classroom
Genius hour takes the concept of learning to the next level by encouraging students to explore their interests during the given time. Research has shown that students learn better when they discover things on their own.
5.Makes the entire process a fun filled experience
Sitting in the classroom can get boring for some students, especially if the learning process involves lectures. Introducing a concept like genius hour will ensure that all the students are actively involved in learning.
Disadvantages of genius hour
Genius hour has certain limitations like:
1.Can be a little difficult
Genius hour can seem difficult when students are not able to think on their own. Students are often accustomed to being told what to do. They may sit idle when introduced to a process that encourages one to learn on their own.
2.Students may end up feeling anxious
Allowing the students to explore on their own may make them anxious and hesitant to learn. Not all students may understand the concept of genius hour.
3.All students may not be passionate to learn
In certain cases, genius hour may come across as a compulsory process and the students may not end up learning anything.
4.Change in the role of teachers
The role of a teacher takes a new meaning when it comes to genius hour. The teacher does not teach, but instead helps students to focus. The teacher learns along with the students. Shifting between being a teacher and a learner may become a little tedious for teachers.
5.Time consuming
Despite appearing to be an easy method, genius hour can demand a lot of time and effort from the teachers and the students.
Though ‘genius hour’ sounds like a complex term, it is just a classroom time where students pursue their passion, reach beyond the routine and learn by unlearning the rules they follow.

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