We learn to solve problems, we solve problems to learn: A Conversation with Yong Zhao, Ph.D. | Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

In this episode, I speak to Yong Zhao, Foundations Distinguished Professor in the School of Education with an appointment in the School of Business at the University of Kansas. He is also the Global Chair Professor of Education at East China Normal University, a global chair professor at the University of Bath in the U.K., and a Professorial Fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Education Policy at Victoria University, Australia. Yong Zhao has published over 100 articles and 30 books, including Reach for Greatness: Personalizable Education for all Children (2018), Counting What Counts: Reframing Education Outcomes (2016), and Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job: Correcting Top 5 Ed Tech Mistakes (2015).

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The need to cultivate every child’s uniqueness and define success based on that uniqueness, not some external standard;
  • How to convert our uniqueness into valuable contributions, which doesn’t happen in most school systems—contributions go beyond compliance;
  • How Entrepreneurial Product-Oriented Learning is the specificity that that might take PBL farther and deeper.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. is the co-founder of Coconut Thinking, which creates learning and action experiences where all learners have a common purpose; positive impact on the welfare of the bio-collective — any living thing, sentient or plant, that has an interest in the healthfulness of the planet. Benjamin also works as the Whole School Leader of Learning and Teaching at an International School in Thailand. He was the Academic Coordinator at Misk Schools, which, as the school of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is the most prestigious and high profile school in the kingdom. In 2018-2019, he was also the Head of Upper Primary and Middle School at Misk. Prior to this, he was Vice Principal of the Middle School and High School at the Harbour School in Hong Kong. He holds a Ph.D. in History, an MSc in Education, an MBA, an MA in International Relations, and a BA in International Affairs. Benjamin was born and grew up in Paris, France. He moved to the U.S. when he was 15 and spent 11 years there in different cities, before living in the U.K., Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, and now Thailand. He started his career in consulting for Internet start-ups in Silicon Valley in the late 1990s, working with people whose ambitions were no less than to change the world. This experience had a profound effect on Benjamin’s outlook on education, innovation, and entrepreneurialism.

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