World Class Learners by Yong Zhao
Top rated thought valued by 12 district administrators at Thoughtexchange’s Building Trust Online Leadership Event (Read full results)
The most recent addition to our Recommended Reading series is World Class Learners – Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students by Yong Zhao. Identified as a top leadership resource by over 80 superintendents and other district leaders recently, author Yong Zhao asserts that the international emphasis on high test scores is curtailing student’s growth in other key areas.
Zhao challenges traditional thinking about what is needed to prepare students for the future. He theorizes that an educational model used to achieve high scores has the undesirable effect of suffocating the entrepreneurial qualities of creativity, risk taking, collaboration and opportunity recognition – all qualities shown to be valuable in the workforce of the 21st century.
Zhao believes what is needed is a paradigm shift in our view of education.
“At a time when most of the careers for our children are yet to be invented, how could we prepare them?”
Most interestingly, Zhao’s theory isn’t just resonating with leaders – leaders we have worked with are striving to make this sort of large-scale shift in thinking about education a reality. Like Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Abbotsford School District in BC who used Thoughtexchange to help his community redefine education. The challenge in Abbottsford was in getting the community to embrace changes to a system with which they are largely satisfied.
“Engaging the community in an informative and thoughtful discussion about what truly is best for our children of today, is essential to ensuring they overcome the challenges of tomorrow.”
Kevin Godden, Superintendent, Abbotsford School District
Here’s what other respected authors say about Yong Zhao and World Class Learners:
“He is truly an Education Transformer, trying to articulate the outcomes that will matter most to our 21st century students.”
Ken Kay, CEO of EdLeader21, Founding President of Partnership for 21st Century Skills
“World Class Learners is a timely and important contribution to our understanding of the relationship between practical skills, creativity and technology in preparing young people for an entrepreneurial world.”
Rob Salkowitz, Consultant specializing in the social implications of new technology and author of Young World Rising and Generation Blend.
Yong Zhao is a Professor in the Department of Education Measurement, Policy & Leadership in the College of Education at the University of Oregon. He is the author of many articles and books, including: Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization and Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World