Liberating Genius

On Thursday, I participated in my first Twitter chat. The experience was fast-paced, but also inspiring and educating. Since this was a learning experience, I decided to join #atplc, All Things Professional Learning Community. Educators started #atplc to share resources and ideas about PLC, and inspire each other to never stop learning. The topic of the chat was about Liberating Genius, a book @AngelaMaiers co-wrote about helping students find their place and voice in the world.

To start off the chat moderated by @DaisyDyerDuerr, we were asked “What does “genius” mean to you?” My first thought was a really, really smart and gifted person that is either a scientist or an astronaut. But all of us know that at one point in our lives, we have called a friend a “genius” for coming up with a ridiculous idea. So what really defines someone as “genius” and how do we measure it? Merriam-Webster’s simple definition is “a very smart or talented person; a person who has a level of talent or intelligence that is very rare or remarkable.” While there is no right or wrong definition for this title, it also means that other than IQ, we cannot measure the definition of “genius.”

Angela Maiers suggested a definition by Albert Einstein and Seth Godin (@SethGodinBlog). Einstein defined it as “taking the complex and making it simple,” while Godin defined it as someone who…

· Solves problems

· Makes an impact

· Gifts the world

Let’s take Einstein for example. Some people may consider Einstein as the definition of genius, but even he cannot put a measurable definition on the term! If we go by Godin’s definition, we can say mothers fit the profile. Yes, mothers are geniuses, but at another standard compared with Einstein.

After establishing what genius means, we were then asked “What does #LiberatingGenius mean to you?” Most participants in the chat seem to have read the book; I, on the other hand, have never heard of the title. The only way for me to put #LiberatingGenius into words is to do it figuratively, freeing your inner Genius or freeing people from thinking they are either a genius or dumb.

After going through what the topic means to us, we were asked if we agree that “Before liberating genius of others, we must first liberate our own.” The majority answered yes. If one does not have the characteristics and beliefs of a leader, how are they going to lead others? The same concept applies with Liberating Genius. Ken Williams (@unfoldthesoul) explained it this way: “[You] have [to] convince students by ACTIONS…. [W]ords ring hollow when we don’t change archaic policies [and] practices.” In other words, someone has to lead and empower for change to occur. When people are given commands and have little inspiration, change is only short-term.

Overall, I really enjoyed and learned a lot from this chat. “Genius” is only a term. It does not define who we are and what we are capable of doing.

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