Lewiston Education Association
What would you learn about if you were given structured time during the workday to follow your passion?
Teachers have a tough, but extremely rewarding job. Great teachers inspire and make a difference, but great classrooms have students inspiring each other. Passion-based learning gives students the opportunity to take ownership of their education and kindle their passion for learning. The idea of Genius Hour–or 20% time–in the classroom is an emerging trend that is storming the nation.
This idea stems from Google’s plan for their employees. Each employee is given a percentage of their working time to research and develop projects they are passionate about. This isn’t time to take a nap. Instead, it is a time to explore their curiosity about a certain topic that they haven’t had the time or ability to explore in the past. As a result of this concept, we have innovations such as Google Earth, Gmail, and more.
I teach in a 5th and 6th grade looping classroom in Lewiston, where Genius Hour has empowered my students and completely transformed our culture. Because my students are free to choose and explore areas they are passionate about, they are reaching a greater depth of knowledge and finding their purpose for learning. They inspire me daily with their projects, including exploring other means of communication through American Sign Language, researching to find an end to world hunger, collaborating with doctoral students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology about robotics, and many more.
When students are simply told that their ideas matter, they are overwhelmed with inspiration and drive. We need to push away from the disservice of underestimating our students and unconditionally believe in them. If they believe in themselves and find a love for learning that will not falter, then there is nothing they can’t do!
Scan this QR code to find resources and structures for these powerful student-driven learning experiences. This will leave you one step closer to implementing passion-based learning into your own classrooms and schools. Be brave and support change! Be that crazy teacher. Share relentlessly. Love fiercely. Be their person, always.