Genius Hour: Being Vulnerable 

Below is a question that was posted to my Discovery Education Network Friends Facebook Group by a colleague in Michigan and my response to her post. There were many responses and pieces of advice from many expert teachers previous to me contributing to the conversation. I love her openness & willingness to ask the question.  

What would you say?  What do you think of my response?

Her post…
Hi DEN Family. I need your help! I am teaching a course (Intro to Computer Science via PLTW) and am being allowed the opportunity to use every Friday as a Genius Hour / 20% Time thing. I am super excited but my kids are STRUGGLING! the majority of them have absolutely no idea what it is they want to learn or even what they’re interested in. Anyone with experience here? I’m trying to guide them, but since it’s my first rodeo, I’m struggling as well. Please share your words of wisdom!

My response…

I am a big believer in having a conversation with a kid to find out what they like to do even when nobody is around. Meaning we all have passions/activities that we would do without any one paying us a cent & forcing us to do. Kids have these activities too. However many kids see their interests as not valued at school. Therefore when they are asked about their passions or wonders they see it in contexts of school & what they perceive the teacher is looking for. Many of them who struggle with coming up with answer to it. Establishing individual trust in these cases is huge. They also don’t see purpose in answering this question… yet. For them it is a risk to let a teacher into their outside of school world. This is why I believe it is important to reaffirm to them your why (maybe share or model something your passionate about from your outside world… Zumba?) for giving them this option and to not tie it to grading but to learning.  By giving them more opportunity in school to explore this is awesome to see because it lifts their perception that what is learned at school has to be different from the things that are learned at home. There is also the possibility of them being the expert on the topic in the class which is great… purpose & autonomy lead to mastery!   It gives you the more options to help them learn because you are the learning expert in the room and they need help from you with how to learn.

What would you say? What do you think of my response?

– Hugh


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