Reach for Greatness: Education in the Age of Smart Machines
Date and Time:
Feb 21 2019 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
New Trier High School, Northfield Campus, Cornog Auditorium
7 Happ Rd., Northfield, IL 60093
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Yong Zhao, Ph.D.

Foundations Distinguished Professor, School of Education ,University of Kansas and Global Chair Professor of Education, East China Normal University

Reach for Greatness: Education in the Age of Smart Machines

Education | Innovation

Yong Zhao, Ph.D., Foundations Distinguished Professor, School of Education (with appointment in the School of Business), University of Kansas, calls for a paradigm shift in education and brings extensive evidence to show that every child has both the potential and the need to become great. He advocates that the goal of education is to help each child discover and develop their unique strengths and passions so that they can be best prepared to meet the challenges of the modern world including globalization, technology, smart machines and the need to create value for others. To do so, educators need to make education personalized by the child, instead of personalized for the child. Together, we need to help each child find what uniquely makes them great.

In the introduction to his book Reach for Greatness, Prof. Zhao states: “Greatness comes from lots of efforts, but it can only be built on passion and strengths. If a person has no interest in a domain, it is unlikely that he or she would be intrinsically motivated to put in the necessary efforts needed for greatness. If a person spends the same effort on developing abilities in domains where he or she has neither talent nor rich resources, he or she is unlikely to become great either. Thus, an education that aims to cultivate greatness needs to be one that supports passion and enhances strengths, instead of fixing deficits or closing gaps.”

Prof. Zhao last appeared for FAN in 2011 for a talk titled “What Does a High-Quality Education Mean?” He is an immensely popular speaker who presses audience members to examine their assumptions and beliefs about American education, its strengths and challenges, and what it means to be a globally competent person.