The Greenville News recently gave Five Oaks Academy recognition of our 10th Anniversary by saying, “One Upstate school is trying to change education, and not just in the way it teaches kids inside its own walls.” One of Five Oaks Academy’s missions is to improve education for all children and for this reason we invited Dr. Yong Zhao to the Upstate to speak to the Greenville community. Our goal was to open a community-wide dialogue on “how” we are educating our countries children.
Dr. Zhao, an internationally known scholar, writer, and speaker, has studied education globally and presents a unique cross-cultural perspective on education. Dr. Zhao’s examination of educational systems worldwide has given him insight into China’s educational struggles. On his recent visit to Greenville, he pointed out that by looking at the international test scores alone you would think that American children are significantly behind their Chinese counterparts and by these reports should not be as successful as the Chinese students. However, if you look at that data and compare it to the amount of patent applications the Chinese have applied for versus the American’s patent application for the same time period, then you can start to look at the significance of testing a little differently. Americans actually applied for significantly more patents than the Chinese. Dr. Zhao has examined why China has failed to produce the creative and entrepreneurial talents that have been found in the United States and if the Chinese students being spoon fed material has prohibited them from learning how to learn.
Dr. Zhao cautions educators against putting so much emphasis on standardized testing because of the narrow focus of these tests. He believes that the standardized tests are not an accurate indication of a child’s success. Because of their narrow focus, they lack the ability to gauge the child’s creativity and own personal strengths. With the introduction of technology, the jobs and the skill sets needed to be successful have become very different for the 21st century work force. Technology has replaced many of the jobs that have traditionally employed our middle class workers. Dr. Zhao believes that “To succeed in this ever-changing world, students need to be able to think like entrepreneurs: resourcefully, flexibly, creatively, and globally.” To read more on what Dr Yong Zhao has to say, you can pick up his latest books World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students and Catching Up or Leading the Way.
Dr. Maria Montessori was far ahead of her time when she developed the Montessori method of learning. Her astute understanding of how children learn aided her scientific approach to designing the materials the children use. She developed a method that allows children to authentically learn how to problem solve, use critical thinking skills and to think flexibly and creatively. The Montessori method also has the ability to address the needs of each individual child and can propel a child forward in areas in which they excel while giving additional support in areas in which they are weak. For more information on the Montessori method, please contact us for a tour of Five Oaks Academy.
To read the article in the Greenville News go to http://www.greenvilleonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013309190006&nclick_check=1