Yong Zhao: World Class Education: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students

27 November, 2012

Notes from ‘Yong Zhao: World Class Education: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students by Gerard Pagès i Camps

Yong Zhao is currently Presidential Chair and Associate Dean for Global Education, College of Education at the University of Oregon. Zhao has published over 20 books and 100 articles. His most recent books include Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization and the Handbook of Asian Education.

The world needs creative and entrepreneurial talents who are globally competent to take advantage of the opportunities brought about technology and globalization and tackle the tough challenges facing human beings. But our schools are being pushed to produce homogenous, compliant, and employee-minded test-takers, as a result of seductive power of the traditional education paradigm. In this presentation, Dr. Yong Zhao challenges the traditional paradigm, debunks the myth of international tests such as PISA and TIMSS, and proposes a new paradigm of education aimed to cultivate diverse, creative, and entrepreneurial talents.

The world is changing.

Human nature embraced diversity. Is lot of talent everywhere: ‘I don’t believe that only one Shakespeare was born in the world!’

Economy changed: we allowed machines to do things, we automated lot of simple task and not so simple. Plus, there is a global distribution of labor.

Zhao explained a personal point of view: ‘I come from a small town in China. They don’t have access to art or culture, then they became a cheap labor force’. Routine jobs are replaced by automation or cheap labor force.

Information is everywhere. If you can ‘google’ everything, why teachers are needed? ‘The role of teachers should change!’

And the world went global. Now is a global competition. The economy of necessity versus the economy of abundance… where we are producing the things we don’t need. But that generate lots of jobs! Lots of new professions as Life Coach… how many writers, how many TV shows, how many TV cooking programs we can see? We have lots of new psychological needs.

The world is changing, and all the factors described together means… Why we standardize education? Because everyone, everywhere can compete. To increase competition. Because we love ranking. People loves ranking. Governments loves rankings.

But when government improves education there are some side effects.

After a few studies relative mathematical skills in American and Asian students (to compare them) showed a correlation: the fewer people are doing their math more confidant they are in they own skills.

There is a new class. The entrepreneurship mass. With lots of confidence, true, but with friends and a risk-taking attitude. With passion, empathy and unique ideas. And Creativity. They are the creativity classe.

The change of economy requires a new kind of people.

But they are not an elite. Everyone can be entrepreneur. ‘If Lady Gaga is useful, everybody is useful!’

Education is not about to fix people, is about to support them.

Dr. Zhao’s presentations is based on the massive amount of evidence from a variety of sources he gathered for his new book World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students (Corwin, 2012) and his Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization (ASCD, 2009).

Presentation in pdf of the Mr Zhao Barcelona, Spain, UOC-UNESCO Seminar, you can find more interesting presentations from Yong Zhao on his web site

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