The GENIUS of Genius Hour

I have always believed that we are in the presence of genius everyday. Whether you are a teacher in a classroom of 30 passionate learners or you are sitting in a boardroom of top executives.

But often we do not take the time or effort to realize another potential beyond their age, rank or title. We don't openly or explicitly ask or explore the hidden talents, unique perspectives and courageous stories of the human begins we are blessed to spend time with.

THIS is why genius hour matters. It is a concuss attempt to set aside time from the things we do as human beings to focus on who we are as human beings. Or as my friend Vicki Davis says: We are more than human doings we are human beings.

Genius Hour is an opportunity to find out ourselves, answers to life's most important questions:

  • Who Am I?
  • What makes me me?
  • What makes unique?
  • What matters to me?
  • What matters to those I care about?
  • What gifts can I offer to them and others and the world?
  • What is my purpose here?
  • What makes me come alive?
  • How can I serve?

These are the questions we should discuss, pursue, and provide evidence of not as "extra curricular pondering, but as an essential part of our educational experience.

Here is a list of 20 such questions, that I share with students during #GeniusHour to support their exploration and reflections.

I tell students, the goal is not to answer every one as fast as you can. They goal is to pick one that you know you can't answer quickly. Let your brain and mind wander and your wonder explode. Don't worry about how you are going to respond or what you are going to say....just write. Keep writing. Revisit your answers. Write some more. Share what you discover. Revisit. Reflect and Repeat as many times as you get the opportunity to do so.

Here is what students have said:

  • I have never been asked these questions, so it did not occur to me to ask myself.
  • These were harder than any test I have ever taken. I kept asking myself, is this right? Is this ok?
  • I just kept writing and writing. I didn't even look at what I was saying. It is like I unleashed a door in my brain, and my heart came pouring out.
  • I sat there for what seemed like forever, and was sad and worried that I did not have anything that made me come alive. I kept going from question to questions trying to figure out the one that would spark something inside of me.
  • I am so proud of myself; I tool the whole hour, and I barely got one question answered. My brain hurts from thinking so deeply.
  • Can we keep this??

Of course the answer was a resounding yes. I want students to be practiced at the art and discipline of self awareness.. This single habitude; like an muscle and is underdeveloped in the majority of human beings I know.

The most beautiful thing about using #GeniusHour to help students discover the genius that lies deep within themselves; is that all they want to do next is figure out how they are going to use these gifts to change the world.

THIS is the genius of genius hour.

Angela Maiers: Founder of the Global Choose2Matter Movement, Author of Genius Matters, Pioneer of Transformation By Mattering

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