Friday, 14 August 2015

Genius Hour - Learning Independence

Independence when it comes to learning in a Jr School Classroom is an interesting phenomenon. The ability to take the investigative questions and to use the skills that they have been taught in order to follow the 3 Rules of Genius Hour is freeing for some, but I am learning that for others the freedom and independence can be paralysing.

Ss choosing own learning space
The majority of my students are travelling along just fine, if not better. They have engaged with the concept, love the freedom and the ability to learn, as well as teach, about something they are passionate about. They are using the knowledge of how they learn best and each lesson set themselves up for success in a learning space that they deem fit for the task. To read more about learning spaces in my class click here (coming soon).

However, there are some students who desire to be told exactly what they have to do at each moment of each day. They do want to learn but they want to learn what they "have to".

The freedom and use of the skills, not the knowledge is hard and they just want to be told what they need to know. I guess I feel that what I am promoting and working toward with my students is now a skills based learning experience where they will gain content knowledge, however, the focus are the skills of learning. Some questions that I keep asking myself include; Does my assessment procedure reflect this? Can it? Should it?

These students are the ones that Genius Hour can have an even greater impact on. These are the students that I can spend my time with and foster the 21st Century Skills of critical thinking and problem solving skills, then onto communication skills for the presentation.

Genius Hour is definitely for everyone, however, it is important to keep questioning how and why. The voice of reason that keeps me grounded at the moment is my current boss. He makes sure that the big questions of "How is this benefiting the students? How do you know?" remain in the forefront of my mind. For this I am thankful, most of the time. For this reason as educators we must keep documenting and creating the data to prove these different methods and practices in the classroom are beneficial.

Look carefully at the exciting stuff you are doing in your learning experiences and ask yourself:

"How is this benefiting the students?"
"How do you know?"

We will be better educators if we keep questioning too.

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