Genius Hour – can it spark love of learning among adults?

by Barbara Galkowska on Mar 14, 2022

Genius Hour – can it spark love of learning among adults?


What is Genius Hour

The Genius Hour technique has been introduced by the fourth-grade teacher Paul Solarz in his class and welcomed with excitement and thrill by most of his students. As much as Genius Hour is a relatively new technique introduced in schools, it can be easily adapted by adult learners. Used correctly it can be very beneficial and lead to natural self-growth and self-development.

Only one pupil in Solarz’s class could not handle the idea of open-ended time to pursue personal passions and found it simply overwhelming. This was mainly due to the fact that a boy because of his disorder loved the routine and was not responding well to any unplanned and random situations.

Solarz asked the boy whether there is anything he might like to explore. Turned out what the boy liked most was creating digital avatars. “When the student heard he could spend his time on this, ‘he looked at me with the hugest smile,’ Solarz says. ‘Within seconds, he went from tears to ‘I get to do this in school?’”

The idea behind Genius Hour is to provide students with the opportunity to explore their interests and passions in a classroom setting. In the past, it was also called “20% time”, which was the practice of allowing employees to spend 20 percent of their work hours on projects arising from their imaginations and personal passions. One of the advocates of the idea is Google that promotes spending 20 percent time on the developments of some of the company’s most innovative products, including Gmail and Google Maps.

Genius Hour and life-long learning

Genius Hour is not limited to the school or fancy corporate campus but can be a part of all our lives.  Life-long learning is gaining popularity and there are more than enough universities and academic agencies coming together to create short courses or programmes to facilitate this trend. The concept of lifelong learning is a response to the quickly changing reality we live in nowadays. Research confirmed that currently in order to stay competitive on the job market, respond to challenges both professional and personal or simply invest in personal growth, one needs to educate ourselves on regular basis. Whether we speak of investment in something we are passionate about like a hobby, or investment being a direct response to changing job market requirements, the truth is that investing 20% of time into an activity that will contribute to our growth is manageable and in a long-time perspective will surely contribute to something bigger like personal satisfaction to start with. If you are interested in discovering whether there is anything that interests you, whether on a personal or professional level, check the variety of courses and programmes we have in our portfolio.



Fink, J.L.W. Genius Hour in the Classroom. Scholastic., accessed: 09 February

Genius Hour in the Classroom. How Genius Hour can spark your students’ creativity and love of learning. Scholastic., accessed: 09 February

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