Genius Hour

School, to most students, is full of learning and researching about topics most of us don’t really care about.  We are all fully capable of doing a standard paper or a display board or model, but what makes it so difficult is our lack of interest in the topic.

A student from Thomas Middle School in Arlington Heights, Illinois, Emily, is enthusiastic about her school’s new “Genius Hour.”  Thomas Middle School adopted this idea from Google’s “20% time initiative” for their employees to spend 20% of their hours on their own ideas and creations.  Emily says, “It’s definitely the highlight of my week. It’s not a project a teacher assigned, it’s something that actually interests you, and it gets you learning in different ways from what we do the rest of the day at school.”

This is part of a movement to challenge students to teach themselves and get excited about learning.  Genius hour gives people a new perspective and new skills that not many of us are taught inside the classroom.  In the real world, initiative, creativity, and passion are all vital skills that don’t improve through being taught but through experience and practice.  Teachers also say that sometimes the students fail and have to try again often something that modern students lack.  It would be false to say that the pros outweigh the cons because, in fact, there are no cons in implementing a genius hour.

Maddie Dickerson


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