SIS News Archive
Genius Hour Comes to Bayside
Posted 05/21/2014 03:58PM
Learning Innovation Day allows students to follow their passions.
When it comes to learning new skills and applications, traditional education systems have long relied on “tried and tested” methods for teaching students in the classroom. This usually follows the same pattern: giving students the information via lecture or class reading, followed by practicing these skills over and over again with a culminating assessment to determine the level of proficiency. These activities usually circumvent any sort of student interest as all students were required to learn the law of sines by analyzing diagrams, complete the same propaganda posters or take qualitative data from the same chemical reaction. Recent research has indicated that children learn better if given a variety of learning options that revolve around their own interests.
When was the last time you tried to learn something that you were interested in? Did you find it easier to follow through when encountering difficult learning situations? I know that when I learn something that I initiate, I am far more likely to enjoy and therefore persist in the face of adversity. These adverse situations are what truly allow for developing the complex thinking and independent learning skills that we espouse here at SIS.
I feel very lucky to have a group of educators who believe in this approach to learning and, next year, SIS middle and high school students will be exposed to the idea of Genius Hour during the advisory cycle. During Learning Innovation Day, students will be given the time to identify interests they are passionate about and plan out a project that transcends classroom benchmarks. This could take the form of designing products to benefit their life at school, program apps to enhance their everyday use of technology, or even design a business model to produce and sell a product. The options are endless, which will hopefully lead to endless learning potential.
Genius Hour is already in place at both the 4th and 5th grade levels with Friday exploration time, and 8th grade students have the last three weeks of class to work on a project much like Genius Hour. Stay tuned for exciting project updates.
Mark McElroy | High School Learning Innovation Coach
Shekou International School