Monday, 8 October 2018

Key Competencies Time

giftEDnz- #9 Blog Challenge 2018Reflect on how Genius Hour could be used to extend your gifted and talented learners.

Having Genius Hour learning set up for just an hour in a week seems like a bit of a 'skim the surface' way to approach personal, passion areas. I think that it should be woven into the week through curriculum or key competencies time. Which should be the majority of your learning time. This gives plenty of scope to open up the ceiling and let students move at their own pace, following their own passions.

Genius Hour also seems to be something that needs a bit of a 'Number 8 Wire' fix up to reflect our unique Kiwi culture! Tap into the Key Competencies and get some authentic and passion filled learning going for all students.

This would allow teachers to give students more agency over their learning. They could support them to work on areas of strength or weakness through a key competencies and/or school values focus as they follow their passion. It could also be used to set goals against or report on. They can navigate their own waka or jump in and work as a team if that's what they need or would like to do. It would mean that their learning would be differentiated and personalised too.

Having learning woven together like the 'kōwhiti whakapae whāriki'  from Te Whāriki which I have discussed in a previous post would be ideal :

This could definitely be done with the five key competencies from the New Zealand Curriculum:

  • Managing self
  • Participating and contributing
  • Relating to others
  • Thinking
  • Using language, texts and symbols
Source: The New Zealand Curriculum Online

Using these five key competencies means that we can re focus on our New Zealand Curriculum Framework in an authentic way. One that looks at a range of areas and offers a wide scope for student and teacher passion areas. Why use genius hour when we could have our own kiwi version?

Nga Mihi,



  1. Bex, I love the way you've focused on the Key Competencies and I couldn't agree more!! They were always meant to be the starting point of learning and teaching from the time the NZC was released. They curriculum areas were there to support them. Somehow things have got lost in translation over the years and we need to get that focus back I think.
    I also agree with your point about Genius Hour just skimming the surface. I think it runs the risk of being the 'latest cool idea' unless the heart and beliefs underpinning and the purpose it are understood. I think it's a good starting point but I'm like you, I think it needs to be more than this to have an impact. I think that's why ours always ended up running for the whole term. Loving reading your thoughts!

    1. Thanks Justine. You’re right about things getting lost in translation. Also, I think having had National Standards in the way for such a long time hasn’t helped. It’s definitely time to look at developing the best learning for all students through the key competencies and our NZC.