Book Review: World class learners

Zhao, Y. (2012). World class learners: Educating creative and entrepreneurial students. Corwin Press.        


As a student in Learning Sciences program, I was attracted by the title of the book: World class Learner. I see this book as very interesting book since it raised the concept of “World Class” Moreover, it does not only define creativity and entrepreneurial learners and how paradigm can better support the development of entrepreneurs, it also addresses diversity in global education which is very crucial in 21st century. The author as a Chinese American did not focus on education in one area, instead, he provided lots of practical examples of education in China, Singapore, the States, and the U.K., and compared these paradigms cross the world to support educator and scholars to link that education with students have successful academic performance and education/ paradigm raise successful businessman and singer who represent CREATIVITY. This is very helpful for educators, scholars want to reflect on what they miss in their own education and learn from other countries. It is a very practical book and I had fun reading it, I would recommend it to who is interested in global education, creativity, the difference cross countries and want to learn about what other countries are doing and reflect on what part they can transfer to their own context.


The book contains 10 chapters, in first three chapters, the author starts with the explanation of “entrepreneurs”, what is entrepreneurs, the essential elements of entrepreneurial capabilities, and the connection between entrepreneurs and educators. From chapter 4 to chapter 6, the author provides an example to compare how education in different countries influences the development of creativity. In chapter 4, the author used the example of education in China and Singapore, two countries represent the “education giant” which raised the successful students in the standard test but dwarfs in creativity. In chapter 5, the author discussed the gap between the high standard test-orientated education and the education that raised high creativity person (even includes the “accidentally” produced successful person in the States) and then it leads to Chapter 6 which focused if the happy accidents which brought Lady GAGA and Steve Jobs could be turned to paradigm. The author compared two different approaches of educational paradigms: employment-oriented and child-centered. In the third section, chapter 7,8, and 9, the author presents examples of current paradigm across the world in the United States and the U.K. There’re several practical examples in these three chapters, especially chapter 8, which focused on Product-orientated Learning, which is a new concept for me. I’ve learned project-based learning, collaborative learning, cooperative learning, but I’ve never heard about product-oriented learning. Comparing to the other learning model, the product-oriented learning (POL) seems to be a similar model to project-based learning, while it is a broader concept that also including market the product and post-product management and maintenance. These additional sections in POL is part need to cultivate entrepreneurs. This book opens my insight about how we learn and what is learned through a different paradigm. Even though the author didn’t go depth about the maker movement and paradigm in schools, but those changes happened in and outside schools in past 5 years can fill this gap and I’m looking forward the author to publish a new book with what happened in this year.


Chapter 4 and chapter 5 are the most interesting chapters for me since the author used Chinese education as an example of the education used high stake test and standard test orientated education. As the first, I was confused why the mentioned that even though praise is all from outside to China, Chinese are not satisfied with their education. After reading the whole chapter, I thought the author is trying to remind us that even though we saw Chinese education is successful in test score, the American shouldn’t just mimic the paradigm or curriculum to the States. This chapter is interesting also because the author stated how American educator and Chinese educator praise each other while they are not satisfied with their current paradigm.


Overall, I would recommend this book as a MUST READ to those who want to broad their insight of global education. And I was surprised by the insight of the author, he mentioned the maker movement in 2012, while the maker movement came to Taiwan and become popular in 2014, and the maker movement and entrepreneurs was hot in China in 2016-2017. It seems that what the author mentioned or expected is now happening and changing in Chinese education, which is exciting. It inspired me a lot that how we as international scholars in the States can be a bridge to the education from diverse cultures and different systems.



Thanks 话说这书最近出了新版加入了自主学习,等我先读读感受一下