At Punahou School, children are encouraged to follow their passions and determine where their ingenuity takes them. Whether it’s kindergartners inspired to open their own classroom pizza shop, or Academy students creating an iPhone app to navigate Carnival, students transform their great ideas into concrete learning that is useful to others.
Nurturing such creativity and entrepreneurship in students of all ages is just what internationally renowned scholar and author Dr. Yong Zhao recommends, and during a recent campus visit he encouraged the School to do even more to help develop confident, highly skilled students capable of leading the global economy.
Future entrepreneurs will create jobs and better products, governmental policies, business models and human services, especially if they are allowed as children to follow their passions and take the risks necessary to blaze new trails, Zhao told faculty, administrators, staff, parents, students and the broader community during his visit from Dec. 3 – 5, 2012.
“My challenge to you is: If your kids are not there to create jobs, who else will be?,” he said during a free, public talk at Wo International Center’s Luke Lecture Hall.
Zhao, the presidential chair and associate dean for global and online education at the University of Oregon’s College of Education, is the author of more than 20 books, including “World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students,” and “Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization.”
Technology makes it easier than ever for students to delve deeply into personal areas of interest from the earliest grades, and to share their learning globally, he said. Such autonomy is essential to creating authentic, useful schoolwork — what Zhao terms product-oriented learning — and inspires students to put in the time and effort required to transform the merely adequate into the truly great.
“Students want, and need, to create works that matter. When they have a real audience they get a lot more serious about the work,” he said. “They get feedback and revise, revise, revise. That’s how you get from good to great.”
Zhao’s visit to Punahou was made in conjunction with the School’s Institute for Teaching, Learning and Instructional Innovation and Wo International Center.