The first theme that we identified within the book Catching Up or Leading the way was “ensuring that students have access to instruction in a broad range of skill areas—including creativity, ingenuity, innovation and technology.Dr. Yong Zhao believes that schools should offer a comprehensive, balanced curriculum that includes opportunities for students to explore and develop both left and right brain thinking. They should also help children develop a global awareness, an appreciation for differences, an understanding and an ability to interact with the digital world, and the knowledge to develop a healthy mind and body. Schools must also allow children to study what interests them, what they are passionate about, and what they are good at. We avoid developing skills that are available at a cheaper price elsewhere or those that can be done by machines. Creativity, high level cognitive skills, and emotional intelligence are also important.
Research found that in individualist cultures such as the United States, creativity is considered the expression of a unique individual and thus should be respected and valued. In the book, Zhao states that American children are less exposed to the creativity killing machine that we call school. Parents of talented students in the united states are less likely to emphasize external standards. This may not lead to high test scores, but it helps preserve and protect individuality and creativity. American parents have a broader definition of success. creativity cannot be taught, but it can definitely be stifled.
By all accounts, the United States has been the world leader in scientific innovations for most of modern times. These innovations have powered economic growth not only at home but also elsewhere in the world. Innovation comes from innovative people (pg. 68). The key to scientific and technological innovations is talents, excellent scientists and groups of science and technology talents are a decisive factor of a nation’s science and technology advancementThe core innovations that drove the digital revolution were created in the United States; the leaders of the computer and internet industries are from the US. Nearly 2/3 of the 300,000 patents issued in 2002 went to Americans. With the all facts presented by Dr. Yong Zhao it is truly a wonder why we are attempting to stray away from what is making the United States a top competitor in the global market. Ingenuity and innovation are focal points within our current educational system, but are slowly being pushed aside for standardization. Zhao makes the argument that we need to continue fostering students’ ingenuity in order to remain competitive.
The United States remains a superpower, dominating the world as the most scientifically and technologically advanced nation. The united States ranked number 1 out of 131 countries on the 2007-2008 global competitiveness index, which measures “the ability of countries to provide high levels of prosperity to their citizens. In 2008, researchers at the RAND corporation found that the United States continued to lead the world in science and technology, accounting for 40% of total world spending on research and development and receiving 38% of the patents for new technology inventions issued in the industrialized nations and employing 70% of the world’s nobel prize winners. We are truly innovative in terms of technological advances, but we have to work to promote technological proficiency within our schools. Zhao admits that American schools are well equipped to do this. But in order to properly prepare students for the digital world, we must teach them how to live in, make a living in, and shape the virtual world.
Ties to Leadership: Finally, it is extremely important for current leaders to realize that the United States remains the number one competitor in the global marketplace. What makes us unique is that we promote creativity and ingenuity and as leaders in our schools we need to work on maintaining a balance between high-stakes testing and standardization yet work to create opportunities for our students to remain competitive in a global marketplace. This is a big task for leaders and one that requires a lot of work and commitment to see it through, but as leaders we all have to understand that not everything we have been doing has had a negative impact on our students—it has had the opposite affect in some cases—hence the innovations and technology advances that are coming from our United States educated students.
The U.S. educational system has traditionally worked to foster individual talents and creativity in students. This has positively served American society by allowing a diverse pool of talents to be valued and appreciated, and developed unique individuals who can creatively approach and solve problems. The belief that every child can “pop”, can learn, and can prosper is deeply ingrained in the mind of American teachers. As a result of this belief, American students are given many “second chances” instead of being judged and sorted into different groups based on their performance at a very early stage…the American system is characterized by “contest mobility” [where] everyone is assumed to be equal and participates in the same contest for upward social mobility…In contrast, in systems of sponsored mobility, an individual’s admission to the elite groups is sponsored by the existing elites…(Zhao, 2009, p. 54-55).
In addition to fostering individuality in students, American education has traditionally developed students based on their natural talents and abilities while allowing them to also discover and develop other skills and abilities. The Montessori method is embraced in the U.S. and the American Montessori System (AMS) operates on these foundational elements: Mixed age classrooms; student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options; uninterrupted blocks of work time; aConstructivist or "discovery" model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction; and, specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators. This method aims to allow children to develop at their own paces independently as well as progress with societal technology.
By making learning personalized to incorporate students’ unique experiences, interests, and talents, education is more relevant and meaningful to them on a personal level. U.S. education has worked to provide individual learning opportunities as well as projects within standard curriculum to reflect students own identities.
Promoting lateral thinking has been a primary facet of American education. From innovative classrooms designed to enhance creativity to involvement in external experiences outside of the classroom, developing the ability to “look outside of the box” has been fundamental to students’ education in the U.S.
The U.S. has a rich history of innovators from its inception to current day. From the Wright brothers and their early aircraft to Thomas Edison and his many inventions including the light bulb to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and their contributions to communication technology as we know it, the U.S. has been a global leader with its many innovations.
In addition to the light bulb, Mr. Edison also developed the phonograph, but there are so many other contributors to the many household items we still use today including Gillette’s razors; Wisconsin-native, Barbara Millicent Roberts’ Barbie Doll; James Spangler’s original vacuum from which William Hoover developed the model we know today; the electric iron invented by Henry W. Seeley in 1882; pull tab cans developed by an Iron City Brewery engineer in 1963; electric heating appliances, such as the toaster, which exist due to the alloy, chromel, invented by Conor Neeson of Detroit and William Hoskins of Chicago; and, the first dishwasher which Josephine Cochrane invented in 1886.
Photo Essay Zhao
By Yong ZhaoPresentation by Jineen McLemore-Torres, Michelle Talhami,Melissa Ernst, & Maxwell Long
Theme 1:Ensuring that students have access to instruction in a broad range of skillareas-creativity, ingenuity, innovation and technological
Theme 3: Cautioning against narrowingthe focus of standards based education to core subjects like reading, writing, and mathematics, while disregarding other skill areas.
Theme One ReferencesUnleash Creativity Photo. Retrieved from:http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/unleash-creativity-workplace/The Whole Child Photo. Retrieved from:http://blogs.adobe.com/ukchannelnews/tag/dave-forrester/Students (in blue shirts) and Teacher with Laptops Photo. Retrieved from:http://edudemic.com/2011/08/changing-educational-landscape/Up Close Photo of Student in Science Lab. Retrieved from:http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/health-sciences-and-technology/Engineering Technology Photo (2 women and yellow tech). Retrieved from:http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.nvudev.com/wp- content/uploads/2010/02/Engineering- Technology.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.nvudev.com/engineering- technology.html&h=1185&w=1980&sz=1851&tbnid=XsRkDo49VdLgJM:&tbnh=96&tb nw=160&zoom=1&usg=__0Dx7nQ7Cog_aCnjM6QZyGaE0A_U=&docid=EgElJ61i9e9 uqM&sa=X&ei=msm2UN7qHvCLyAHijIHgBA&ved=0CDcQ9QEwAg&dur=2907
Theme One ContinuedStudents quantifying power/energy from a classroom sized wind turbine Photo. Retrieved from:http://www.vernier.com/environmental-science/American Ingenuity in the Classroom and the Laboratory Photo (4 college men). Retrieved from:http://www.vt.edu/spotlight/impact/2012-06-25-morrill/150- years.htmlIpads in the Math Class Photo(2 boys). Retrieved from: http://blend2learn.org/2012/05/29/ipads-in-math-class/Globalization Photo. Retrieved from: http://www.bmhmcollege.com/23/the-eternal-existence-of- globalization.html
Theme Two ReferencesGoogle Image Result for http://www.rustycans.com/Graphics/7ziptops.jpg. (n.d.). Google. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://www.google.com/imgres?q=first+beer+with+ring+pulls&um=1&hl=en&tbo=d&biw=1192& bih=587&tbm=isch&tbnid=bPMvsmYN0AH0TM:&imgrefurl=http://www.rustycans.com/HISTORY/zi ps.html&docid=aNqbQpP_XbI81M&imgurl=http://www.rustycans.com/Graphics/7ziptops.jpg&w =47.Student Involvement | Allegheny College - Meadville, PA. (2012, October 19). Welcome to Allegheny College. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://sites.allegheny.edu/studentinvolvement/.1931 Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Classic Vintage Print Ad. (n.d.). Classic Car Ads: Copious Commercialism. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://www.adclassix.com/a5/31hoovervacuum.html.Alexander Street Montessori School. (n.d.). Alexander Street Montessori School. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.alexanderstreetmontessori.org/.Arts in Education - Isle of Man Arts Council. (n.d.). Home Page - Isle of Man Public Services. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.gov.im/artscouncil/artsineducation.xml.
Theme Two ContinuedBankstreet - Tiorati Workshop for Environmental Learning. (n.d.). Bankstreet - Home. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://bankstreet.edu/professional- development-office/projects/tiorati-workshop-environmental-learning/.Bateman, P. (2012, July 10). Top 10 British Inventions That Changed the World | Listverse. Top 10 Lists - Listverse. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://listverse.com/2012/07/10/top-10-british-inventions-that-changed-the-worldBeaverton Montessori school joins celebration. (n.d.). Washington County Updates. Retrieved November 20, 2012 from http://blog.oregonlive.com/washingtoncounty/2007/09/beaverton_montessori_sch ool_jo.htm.Bellis, M. (n.d.). Thomas Edison - The Inventions of Thomas Edison. Inventors. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bledison.htm.Cerdon College Information. (n.d.). Cerdon College Home Page. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.cerdon.nsw.edu.au/X_collegeinfo.htm.
Theme Two ContinuedCivic Education Project :: About Us. (n.d.). Center for Talent Development: Welcome to Center for Talent Development. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.ctd.northwestern.edu/cep/about/.Clarke, S. A. (2012, July 12). Google Image Result for http://ninfield.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/richard_branson1.jpg. In through the outfield. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://www.google.com/imgres?q=promoting+lateral+thinking&hl=en&tb o=d&biw=1249&bih=615&tbm=isch&tbnid=lrc6sKLfZQBq2M:&imgrefurl=htt p://www.inoutfield.com/category/research/&docid=9BQSz4cMJOtEPM&i mgurl=http://ninfield.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/richard_br.Collier, C. (n.d.). Research: carolyn collier. home: carolyn collier. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://www.carolyn- collier.com/teaching/outside-project/.Gruen, N. (2011, July 25). Some thoughts on infrastructure in our cities | Club Troppo. Club Troppo | Fearlessly dispensing political, legal and economic analysis (and some whimsy) since 2002. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://clubtroppo.com.au/2011/07/25/some-thoughts-on- infrastructure-in-our-cities/.
Theme Two ContinuedGura, M. (2012, November 6). edtechdigest.com | 2010-2012 edtech digest. edtechdigest.com | 2010-2012 edtech digest. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://edtechdigest.wordpress.com/.Hillcroft Services/Client Garden Project-Watch Us Grow! (n.d.). Hillcroft Services. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.hillcroft.org/news/2012/07/01/therapy-services/client-garden-project- watch-us-grow/.Identifying Vintage Barbie Dolls 1959-1962. (n.d.). Doll Reference.com 1600s-1970s. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://www.dollreference.com/barbie1.html.Inventor of the Week: Archive. (n.d.). MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://web.mit.edu/invent/iow/cochrane.html.Kennedy, R. (n.d.). Boston Area Montessori and Waldorf Schools - Montessori and Waldorf Schools in Boston. Private Schools - How to Get Into and Succeed in Private School. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://privateschool.about.com/od/bostonschool1/ss/bostonschools_2.htm.•
Theme Two ContinuedKey to American Innovation? Incorporating Art and Design into Education. (2012, October 30). GOOD. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://www.good.is/posts/key-to-american-innovation-incorporating-art- and-design-into-education.Kingston - Montessori School of Kingston - Toddler Day Care, Pre-K, and Nursery School in Ulster County. (n.d.). Kingston - Montessori School of Kingston - Toddler Day Care, Pre-K, and Nursery School in Ulster County. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.montessorikingston.com/.Konrath, K. (n.d.). Get Fresh Minds: Lateral Thinking leads to Underwater Hockey. Get Fresh Minds. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://www.getfreshminds.com/2012/02/lateral-thinking-to-underwater- hockey.html.Lateral Thinking. (n.d.). Humour -Wikinut.com: write, share, earn. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://humour.wikinut.com/img/1c0zfse_beflxmn6/Lateral-Thinking.Lower School | Glen Urquhart School. (n.d.). Glen Urquhart School. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://gus.org/learning-at-gus/lower-school/.
Theme Two ContinuedOrr, S. (2011, October 12). In Depth Topics: America Innovators - Engaging the World - America.gov. Blogs at America.gov, where you can join in conversation with topic experts and writers in several important fields. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://blogs.america.gov/indepth1/2011/10/12/photo-gallery-america-innovators/.Our People | Capgemini India. (n.d.). Capgemini India - Consulting, Technology and Outsourcing Services | Capgemini India. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.in.capgemini.com/about_us/our_people/.Reid, R. W. (2010, April 20). Raleigh Montessori School | Wake Forest Montessori Preschool for the Gifted and Talented. Wake Forest Montessori Preschool and Kindergarten. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.wakeforestmontessori.com/tag/raleigh-montessori-school/.Roots and Shoots. (n.d.). Roots and Shoots | Training young people to achieve their potential. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.rootsandshoots.org.uk/education/introduction/.Sheffield, H. (2011, July 1). Strengthening the American Brand: Innovation and Opportunity. BostInno. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://bostinno.com/all- series/fundraise-com-making-it-easy-for-nonprofits-to-be-social-savvy/.
Theme Two ContinuedSt Andrews Cathedral School. (n.d.). St Andrews Cathedral School. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.sacs.nsw.edu.au/contentpages/Philosophy- of-Teaching-and-Learning.Survivor | Outdoor team building activity | Corporate Challenge. (n.d.). Team building events & activities Australia-wide | Corporate Challenge. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://www.corporatechallenge.com.au/team-building/survivor.The original Gillette safety razor from 1904 | TheShaveDen. (2012, October 9). The Shave Den. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://theshaveden.com/forums/threads/the-original-gillette-safety-razor-from- 1904.30450/.Touro Law Center Career Services Office Blog. (n.d.). Touro Law Center Career Services Office Blog. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://tourolawcso.blogspot.com/.Upper Student Life | Hawthorn School for Girls. (n.d.). Hawthorn School for Girls | Catholic Education from Preschool to Grade 12. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.hawthornschool.com/upper-student-life.Vintage Consumer Reports: Steam irons didnt impress in October 1951. (2009, October 27). Consumer Reports News. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://news.consumerreports.org/home/2009/10/best-steam-irons-consumer- reports-reviews-black-and-decker-silex-rowenta-hamilton-beach.html.
Theme Two ContinuedWarren, J. (2011, January 4). Tattling Toddler: Krista - My Kindergarten. Tattling Toddler. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://satyajothey.blogspot.com/2011/01/krista-my-kindergarten.html.Waterdown HS Develops Curricula inspired by Dan Eldon. (n.d.). Dan Eldon. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.daneldon.org/education/waterdown-hs-develops-curricula- inspired-by-dan-eldon/.What Came First? Electric Appliances Timeline-The Invitation Shop. com. (2012, May 20). Invitations | Party Invitations | Holiday Photo Cards. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://www.announcingit.com/invitations-blog/what-came-first-electric- appliances-timeline/.Wiseman, R. (2009, March 3). How to play chess anywhere. Quirky Mind Stuff, Richard Wiseman. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://richardwiseman.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/how-to-play-chess- anywhere/.Zhao, Y. (2009). Catching up or leading the way: American education in the age of globalization. Alexandria, Va.: ASCD.
Theme Three ReferencesReading, Writing, Mathematics. November 26, 2012, from http://msp.ehe.osu.edu/wiki/index.php/MSP:MiddleSchoolPortal/Reading_and_Writing_M athematicsNo Child Left Behind. November 26, 2012, from http://polhudson.lohudblogs.com/2012/02/13/new-york-seeking-nclb-waiver-10-other- states-approved-so-far/Testing Comic. November 26, 2012, from. http://americansocietytoday.blogspot.com/2011/10/no-child-left-behind-effect.htmlHead filled with words. November 26, 2012, from http://alliesconsulting.com/services/strategic.htmlClock. November 26, 2012, from http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/10/mf-do-the- right-things-at-the-right-time/Art palate. November 26, 2012, from http://www.artinstitute.info/OurFaculty.htm
Theme Three ContinuedMusic Notes. November 26, 2012, from http://mustech.pbworks.com/w/page/21952707/FrontPageGym CLass. November 26, 2012, from http://lewisburgservicesociety.blogspot.com/2010/03/stuff-to- do-with-kids-gymnastics-gym.htmlFamily and Consumer Education Class. November 26, 2012, fromhttp://www.kansascity.com/2012/11/19/3926239/family-and- consumer-sciences-classes.htmlBalance. November 26, 2012, fromhttp://www.allivytutoring.com/math/balance-problem/