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Rosarian Academy Teacher Implements 20% Time in the Classroom to Explore Interests Outside the Curriculum

Rosarian Academy Middle School Literature teacher, Patrick Hansen, recognizes his role to help his students become independent learners to aid in the exploration of their interests and find their passionsÑeven if that passion is outside the realm of the literary text they are reading as part of the schoolÕs curriculum. In the second half of the 2014-15 school year, Mr. Hansen implemented 20% time in his classroom: allowing students 20% of class time, or one class period per week, to work on or explore a topic of their choice. The result? Students like current eighth-grader Hailey Albergo starting a school-wide service project to collect and send used books to underprivileged children in Africa.

20% time is a movement in education to give students the opportunity to develop passion through the pursuit of a personal interest project. The concept was popularized at Google where management found that employees were more creative and innovative when given the autonomy to pursue a project outside of their job description. This resulted in the origination of products like Gmail, Google News and Google Teacher Academy.

By implementing 20% time in the classroom, students become autonomous learners as they develop their own idea for a project that allows them to explore an interest outside of what is taught in school.