Genius Matters

Another term we used when describing this experiment also resonated with us. It expressed a deeply-rooted intention we owned in our hearts and ardently proclaimed to others. One that felt radical and liberating. It was _unleashing creative genius_.


The old teaching paradigm was defined by control. Controlling behavior, controlling performance, controlling process. A system that used fear, the fear of rejection, as its primary cudgel.

Eliminate control and you have chaos. Or so we have been told.

The first and foremost skill that teachers are taught is classroom management.

While the learning in this new paradigm is messy, really messy, it isn't chaotic. The difference is that chaos has no focus, whereas, in agile learning, students have a clear focus, defined by purpose.

Get purpose right and teachers can begin to let go of the reigns of control. They can begin to unleash the potential of their students. They can become co-learners in a dynamic learning community.


We are all creative beings. What holds us back is a fear of being judged, of being shamed.

As students find their creative confidence, they begin to hold themselves differently. This shift is subtle, yet powerful. It is unmistakable.

They also begin to appreciate that there is no single form of creativity. In fact, creativity has an infinite number of dimensions. They can discover those dimensions that channel their strengths and how their creativity can complement the creativity of others.


We all have genius. Every person. Every teacher. Every student. It is time we reclaimed it.

Genius is the manifestation of our innate spirit. It is the mystery of life that flows through us. It is our unique experience. It is our gift to others, and, ultimately, our legacy.

For far too long the word “genius” has been used against us. By those who sought to use a questionable measurement of intelligence to claim creative and social authority.

At Dayton the genius of every student began to be recognized, even in those who were struggling to show up each day. For all students were seen as worthy, filled with potential brilliance, even if it was not yet recognized by themselves and others.

The audacity of this conviction was felt throughout the school. It unshackled the chains of shame. Brilliance began to break forth. Everywhere.

Jami modeled this conviction and others followed. Within a short period of time it defined a new reality.

Genius made real, made matter.

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