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World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1452203980
ISBN-10: 1452203989
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Editorial Reviews


"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." (CHOICE)

About the Author

Yong Zhao currently serves as the Presidential Chair and Director of the Institute for Global and Online Education in the College of Education, University of Oregon, where he is also a Professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy, and Leadership. He is also a professorial fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Health and Education Policy, Victoria University. His works focus on the implications of globalization and technology on education. He has published over 100 articles and 20 books, including Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the WorldCatching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization and World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students. He is a recipient of the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association and was named one of the 2012 10 most influential people in educational technology by the Tech & Learn Magazine. He is an elected fellow of the International Academy for Education. His latest book World Class Learners has won several awards including the Society of Professors of Education Book Award (2013), Association of Education Publishers’ (AEP) Judges’ Award and Distinguished Achievement Award in Education Leadership(2013).

See flyers for Zhao's books Never Send a Human to Do a Machine's Job and the World Class Learners bundle.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Corwin; 1 edition (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452203989
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452203980
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Let me start by stating that this book pretty felt like the ideas were taken from my head and Yong Zhao just brought clarity and data to support the ideas.

This book is a must read!

As the American Education System works towards spending billions of dollars in creating a Common Core curriculum, other countries are trying to emulate what America schools once were. I am not stating that the school system we had was perfect, but it allowed students to pursue their interests and there is a reason that we have more creative awards, innovators, Novel Laureates, and patents than any other country. Forcing everyone to teach the same way is going to cause schools to eliminate those opportunities for students to explore their passions.

This book discusses what America is doing wrong and questions why we want to be like a China education system that can have students pass tests, but cannot innovate? China is striving to be us and vice versa. We are in a pivotal moment right now in education and this book shows what can be if we continue down this path.

It is imperative that teachers have freedom within their classroom. When a teacher can no longer teach a project because other teachers in the subject field don't want to and teachers cannot add their own flare to their subject, then students lose out. This mindset is settling in not only with policy makers, but communities as well.

Parents want more work. More homework, harder classes, more tests, etc. At what point do we say enough! A child should not have to attend school for 6-7 hours a day and then go home to hours of homework each night. It is very important for kids to have time to explore, play, sports, art, music, drama, etc.
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Format: Paperback
If you are convinced No Child Left Behind, the Race to the Top, or the new Common Core Standards (which our state allocated some 5 million dollars to investigate how it might be implemented in our state) is the answer to education reform this is a book you should read.

If you are a teacher, administrator or a professor of education this is a book to read if you want to know what is really being planned for how to ensure that educational professionals play a major part in the economic and political failure of our democracy and the sure destruction of our children's dreams.

My father was a college president and head of the department of education in more than one college. Education was talked about at our dinner table. I have been an administrator of an apprentice program working with local high schools helping them prepare students for employment with the General Electric Company, have worked in corporate America, worked for an Indian tribe in the human resources department, have worked at the International headquarters for two major international companies responsible for the compensation and benefits of expatriates in more that 15 countries and have worked for years in alternative education.

Every CEO should read this book and think about helping to support the implementation of the paradigm proposed.

Every governor and legislature at the state and national level should read and study this book to gain an understanding of how the path currently being supported by politicians and many educators is a sure path to destruction.
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Format: Paperback
This is a must read for policy makers, business leaders, students, and parents!
Yong Zhao has written one of the best educational books to help all sectors of our society to rethink the purpose of education in a globalized world. It is written for all people who are concern about the present state of education in America. It helps to frame the arguments against the "blind" submission to the standardization of learning.

Robert Pirsig once pointed out in his famous book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, that if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. Zhao helps us to understand the consequences for the next generation, which are enormous if we are not willing to let go of our present assumptions that schools are still based on the factories that most of us attended. Those schools worked well for an industrial-based economy that is losing its relevancy in a highly interconnected planet. This book sets the baseline for a dialogue about new assumptions for the future of learning!

This should be required reading in classes for economics, education, business, policy, and any recent graduate from higher education that can not find a job.
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Yong Zhao's research is energizing to read -- for me, an educator -- because he challenges the current groupthink about the importance of test scores as the single most important indicator that our schools are on the right track. I appreciate the global perspective he brings to the discussion about what it means to be well educated. I found this book exhilarating. Watch him on Youtube to get a taste of his ideas. This would be a good book to read in a professional group or to share with over-anxious parents. I wish policy-makers would read it and broaden their perspectives!
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