Education is about the uniqueness of each human being.

Featuring Dr. Yong Zhao.

Yong Zhao is a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas and a professor in Educational Leadership at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education in Australia. He has published over 100 articles and 30 books, served on numerous committees and held many influential academic and advisory positions all over the world.

He is an inspirational speaker and one of the leading voices for education reform. Please follow him at where he actively updates readers on his latest articles and books.

(Music by lesfm from Pixabay)

Episode notes:

  • We have been talking about giving students more agency, because of the pandemic students were learning without being together in the classroom, we don’t know how good that learning was but they were learning.
  • At least in the US schools are returning to where schools were.

Innovations are considered as disruptions instead of possible ways to transform schools.

  • I was hoping for change but I don’t see many possibilities of change now.
  • Can the grammar of schools change? Innovations can happen, personalized education can happen, technology can facilitate it, but we still have the old mindset.

We are still trying to do schools without doing education.

  • Why can’t we change? There are changes, but not large-scale. Massively speaking we have millions of schools around the world and they do not change.
  • There are a lot of people who have an invested interest in running schools as they are. Any change that takes place, unless you are very innovative and courageous, is very small.

Education is to create opportunities for people, not to impose on them what we think is right.

  • Traveling all over the world, in most places they want to change but the changes are not focused on students.
  • I think education has been looking at the wrong thing, what we can teach, instead of looking at our students themselves. We should be looking at how we make each individual grow, that is what the big message should be.
  • Children are the creators of future and as parents we make best guesses as to what education we should give them.
  • Schools can be places where we open up opportunities for children, to get them engaged.
  • Completing a project can be hard, but if it is driven by students’ interests it can be much more engaging.
  • I know a lot of PD sessions are wasted. We spend too much time training teachers to do technical things but we need teachers to understand children.
  • What is really important as teachers mindsets about children. I think teachers should be philosophers.

Am I teaching the curriculum or am I teaching children?

  • Am I helping each child to grow? I believe that is what human educators should do better than machines.
  • Teachers should look at their students as unique individual human beings and at what they can learn, today with technology they can learn anything they want.
  • Innovations don’t spread because of the system, so we need to rely on a few individuals who can be true innovators. You can have a great idea but the idea is going to be redeveloped, re-localized by the local principal.
  • It is a big mistake to work with schools if we expect 100% change, I don’t think that is possible.
  • We want everybody to do something, education reform is about adding options.
  • For countries and systems to change another 20 or 30 years at least.
  • Technologies connecting students, technology is connecting innovators from all over the world, it is key to change.
  • Education is about growth of human beings. Every human being can be uniquely great, uniquely wonderful in their own way.
  • We need to think about the uniqueness of human beings.

I wish every teacher to recognize every human being in front of them wants to learn, that they are natural born learners and they want to learn something different because they are different to each other. We have purposeful diverse and natural born learners.

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3 thoughts on “Education is about the uniqueness of each human being.”

  1. Comparto 100%. Sus ideas coinciden con las de Hannah Arendt en el capitulo 5 de “ENTRE EL PASADO Y EL FUTURO”. Desde que lo escribió en 1954, los “educadores” no han cambiado mucho, al contrario se han refugiado en la tecnología que, en la primera escolarización es perniciosa. Hasta Bill Gates y Steve Jobs coincidieron en esto como puede leerse en la parte final de las Memorias que con la conformidad de Jobs escribió Walter Isaacson en 2011.

  2. What a wonderful idea! These meaningful conversations are so necessary. Informative, interesting… All of these thoughts make us think and reflect.
    I totally agree with the following: we need teachers who understand/recognize students. We need to work with people who want to change, we need to work for a couple of years developing different plans but understanding we might not see immediate results. Change takes time. Innovation, as Yong mentioned, feels like disruption these times because teachers and Schools were forced to a change that should and could have happened a lot before. I do believe the Pandemic helped in a way and that students learnt, grew, acquired and developed different skills. We all did. But, we are normally reluctant to change. Naturally. The unknown causes fear, anxiety. We might need to work on emotions before working on anything else. We saw innovation, creativity and change in times of crisis. Now, as you say, we need to create a large-scale CHANGE. What a challenge! Thanks for sharing! Gabby

  3. ………we need to develop a “plan of Learning” as opposed to “teaching” each student….it could not be said any more clearly……..


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