"In this important book, Yong Zhao demonstrates persuasively that the race for higher test scores is harmful to our society. It contradicts the need to develop our young people's creativity and entrepreneurship. If we ignore Yong Zhao's warning, we risk hurtling back to an industrial model of standardization and conformity. What is needed most now, he reminds us, is freedom to think, freedom to invent, and freedom to differ from bureaucratically devised norms."
(Diane Ravitch)"Professor Yong Zhao's latest book,
World Class Learners, is unusual, wide-ranging, provocative, and amusing. Dr. Zhao himself exemplifies the creative entrepreneur, someone who roams across disciplines to synthesize new ideas based on insight and research. Having spent his youth in China and his adulthood in the U. S. gives him a clear-eyed view of the strengths and weaknesses of schooling in both the East and the West. His account of the unexpected consequences of well-intentioned policy should be read by every policymaker, from education secretaries to school board members. Teachers and parents will also benefit from his views on educating children to be creative, independent thinkers."
(Milton Chen, Former Executive Director, The George Lucas Education Foundation 2012-06-28)"Yong Zhao dares to challenge prevailing "standardized" education policies and practices in favor of more individualized, holistic approaches that tap into and enhance the talents of every child enabling all children to be better prepared to live productively in a globalized society. Zhao's book portrays a new global entrepreneurship paradigm for teaching and learning in our schools and imparts a sense of urgency and call to action for education policy makers everywhere to shift away from standardization to globalization for the sake of our children and the well-being of our nation. Zhao's thoughtful and thought-provoking vision will inspire educators and his global entrepreneurship paradigm is bound to intrigue, inform and enhance their practice.
The National Association of Elementary School Principals applauds Yong Zhao's vision and encourages educators to draw upon his new global entrepreneurship education paradigm for inspiration and practical ideas for engaging students and enhancing their talents and exceptionality."
(Gail Connelly, Executive Director 2012-07-03)"Zhao zeroes in on entrepreneurship and the sorts of open-ended learning that produce creative problem-solvers most likely to succeed in the competitive world of business. In spite of the obstacles our mania for test scores have put in the way, Zhao shows us how educators and students are succeeding on this path."
(Anthony Cody, Writer)“Professor Zhao has provided a different and compelling view of what education can and should be if we want to remain the global, creative, entrepreneurial, innovation nation going forward. Policy makers at every level need to read and act on the ideas in this book as though our future depends on it. Because it does.”
(Tom Watkins, Former Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction)"Yong Zhao has provided the most compelling case I have read that many (mainly Western) nations are on the wrong track in educational reform. The unrelenting focus on high-stakes testing, the narrowing of the curriculum, and the continuing faith in outdated models of schooling ensure that they are short-changing students and weakening their societies and economies. The good news in this book is that there are outliers of preferred practice in schools around the world. The challenge is to provide schools with the autonomy to innovate with an entrepreneurial spirit and to resist the pressures for more centralized command-and-control approaches to change in schools."
(Brian Caldwell, Professor, University of Melbourne)"The 21st Century Education movement requires us to be more intentional and purposeful about the outcomes that will help our students become 21st century citizens and be successful in the new global economy. In his latest book,
World Class Learners, Yong Zhao has forcefully challenged us to focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. Zhao has established himself as one of the most compelling voices in 21st century education. He is not an ed reformer, trying to improve our performance within the old system. He is truly an ed transformer, trying to articulate the outcomes that will matter most to our 21st century students. Yong Zhao continues to 'lead the way'."
(Ken Kay, CEO of EdLeader21, Founding President of Partnership for 21st Century Skills, co-author, The Leader's Guide to 21st Century Education: 7 Steps for Schools and Districts 2012-05-17)“Many of us who study innovation struggle with ways to domesticate the unruly habits of creative entrepreneurs into a useful framework for education and learning. Dr. Yong Zhao’s
World Class Learners brings the lessons of global entrepreneurs home to the 21st century classroom, at a moment when those lessons are sorely needed.
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, Author 2012-05-17)"Rarely do I read a well written and engaging book that offers a research-based critique of current practices in education with a workable prescription for the future.
World Class Learners is such a book. Moreover, its implications for the field of teacher preparation are profound, and the ideas presented in the book should become the basis for significant discussion within our field. As Zhao points out, the world is changing so rapidly, and the context that our schools and institutions of higher education confront is so dynamic that we must embrace the need for change and make adjustments or potentially lose the franchise for preparing the next generation of educators. This book should be required for all those interested in education, but most significantly, those preparing for careers in the field."
(Rick Ginsberg, Dean of the School of Education 2012-06-14)"
World Class Learners contains a clear call for teacher preparation to begin producing teachers capable of thinking differently about the purposes of schooling. If we ignore our opportunity to do so, our future is, at best, uncertain."
(Mark Girod, Chair, Division of Teacher Education 2012-06-14)"Professor Zhao describes in rich detail how our world is rapidly being pushed by the triple forces of demographic change, economic globalization, and technological innovation toward ever more demanding requirements for educational improvement in our schools. He shows that focusing excessively on test scores undermines the very kinds of creativity and initiative that are most badly needed for economic success, social well-being, and environmental sustainability."
(Dennis Shirley, Professor of Education 2012-06-25)"In this provocative book Professor Zhao argues that creativity and entrepreneurship, rather than test scores, ought to be the goals that mobilize societies as they improve education. He suggests that policies aimed at improving test scores harm the development of creativity and entrepreneurial skills. This is a fresh and important contribution to the global conversation on education reform, a compelling call for systematically generalizing the opportunities to develop creativity that are at the root of child centered education."
(Fernando M. Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of International Education 2012-07-06)"As the global economy becomes ever more connected, increasing attention is paid to preparing students to be competitive in the international marketplace. Zhao (Univ. of Oregon) sketches out a plan that will help create independent thinkers who are able to engage in the creative thinking process necessary to foster job creation and positive contributions to society. In ten chapters, Zhao explores a variety of themes that buttress his call for change, including the inadequacy of a common curriculum, the need for entrepreneurs, ways to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit, the achievement gap versus the entrepreneurial gap, how China encourages independent thought, ways to develop autonomy and leadership, product-orientaed learning, and ways of bringing the world to campus. Providing a host of charts and graphs, Zhao suggests that US schools need to concentrate on ways to build independence and creativity in students instead of emphasizing improving standardized test scores. Examples of schools that encourage creativity and entrepreneurship are included. A tremendous complement to Michael Fullan's
Stratosphere (2012) or Donald Treffinger, Scott Isaken, and Brian Dorval's
Creative Problem Solving (2000). Summing up: Highly recommended. General readers; upper-division undergraduate students and above."
About the Author
Yong Zhao is the Presidential Chair of Global Education and Online Learning at the University of Oregon, where he also serves as the Associate Dean for Global Education and Online Learning and the Director of Center for Advanced Technology in Education (CATE). He is also a full professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy, and Leadership (EMPL). He is a fellow of the International Academy for Education.
Before joining the University of Oregon, Zhao was previously University Distinguished Professor at the College of Education, Michigan State University, where he also served as the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Technology, executive director of the Confucius Institute, as well as the US-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence.
Zhao has published over 20 books and 100 articles. His most recent book is Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization. He has also developed computer software, including the award-winning New Chengo/ZON (http://enterzon.com), the world’s first massively multi-player online role-playing game for studying Chinese.
Zhao is an internationally known education expert. He has been invited to speak on educational issues in nearly 20 countries on six continents over 400 times over the past three years. He has been interviewed as an education expert on global education issues by international media outlets such as USA Today, The New York Times, NPR, China Xinhua News Agency, The Times Education Supplement, and Voice of America. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Education Week, Educational Leadership, and The Kappan. He maintains an active blog with a large audience at http://zhaolearning.com. One of his blog posts received over 10,000 views within a week of posting.
Zhao was born in China’s Sichuan Province. He received his B.A. in English Language Education from Sichuan Institute of Foreign Languages in Chongqing, China in 1986. After teaching English in China for six years, he came to Linfield College as a visiting scholar in 1992. He then began his graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1993. He received his A.M. in Education in 1994 and Ph.D. in 1996. He joined the faculty at MSU in 1996 after working as the Language Center Coordinator at Willamette University and a language specialist at Hamilton College.