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How can the Genius Hour Help Students in Classrooms?

Albert Einstein once said, “Every child is born a genius.” The main reason why most people do not function at genius levels is that they are not aware of how creative and smart they really are.

Let’s call it the “Schwarzenegger effect.” No one would look at a person such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and think how lucky he is to have been born with such tremendous muscles. Everyone knows that he, and people like him, have worked many thousands of hours to build up their bodies so they can compete and win in bodybuilding competitions. Your creative capabilities are just the same. They actually grow in strength as they are used.

But, the difference is that you don’t need to spend thousands of hours to increase your creative thinking abilities. By practicing a few simple exercises and applications, you can start your creative juices flowing, and you may even amaze yourself at the quality and quantity of good ideas you come up with. ASPAM IIS, the best Sharjah Indian School, organize several activities for students to empower their creative thinking skills.

Creative genius never shows in children because they are normally forced to do things they do not like or follow subjects they do not have the passion for. This happens because all major education systems offer standardised education patterns rather than having the syllabus customised to the interests of each and every child. Syllabus conflicts with Creativity here, since all children are born different, with different capacities and skillsets. Even in the case of twins, each twin is completely different to the other.

Hence, to create exceptional children filled with creativity & innovation, schools must combine the Standard education with custom systems which enable the child to discover their natural spark and talent and exercise them until they reach Genius levels.

This is where the Genius Hour comes in. Genius Hour consists of giving a child the complete space and freedom to follow and execute whatever the child likes to do in the class in a given time. For example, the child is given, say, one period a day to peruse his/her passion , be it drawing, writing, singing or working on subject wise Enquiry based projects based on their interest levels. The progress levels and readiness should be monitored by the teachers and the parents and the necessary motivation must be given until the child starts to exhibit exceptional creativity levels. This will in turn, help the children improve on the other regular school work as well.

This system has been tried and tested in organizations like Google. In fact, Google originated the idea called 20% time, where employees were allowed to spend 20% of their work time and work resources on any field of interest, different from their line of work. It is a well-known story that most of the innovations brought about by Google, like, Gmail, AdSense, Android and Maps are a result of this system.

“Human resources are like natural resources; they’re often buried deep. You have to go looking for them, they’re not just lying around on the surface. You have to create the circumstances where they show themselves.”  – Sir Ken Robinson

During my tenure as a teacher at one of the best Indian Schools in Sharjah, I have always strived to encourage children to follow their passions and create situations where their innovative talents shine. The key to a successful education is to measure the intelligence and creativity levels in the children when they join school, and then create conditions where these levels are gradually increased over time and brought to Genius Levels.

Passionate teachers along with creativity enhancing techniques like the Genius Hour, are what the current education system needs to generate and nurture creative geniuses of the next decade, who will catapult UAE into the Top 10 Brain Banks on this planet.

Rekha Puthanveettil

Academic Supervisor – Phase 2ASPAM Indian International School Sharjah