Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thinking Global with TGS and Yong Zhao

Student and teachers at Beijing BISS International School are always open to learn from and with the world and embrace those who can bring a richer global perspective to our community.

This spring term at BISS we are delighted to welcome the Think Global School (TGS) as residents in the Language Center until the end of June. TGS is a school with an amazing vision, planning to learn in 12 different countries over 4 years, and developing globally minded individuals through experiential learning. Being in its first year students with TGS come from all over the world, are in Grade 9, and will continue through until the end of High School. So far this year they have been to Stockholm and Sydney. We are planning to connect and collaborate across the curriculum while they are here and hope to learn from and with them.  Recent joint activities include a ‘getting to know us’ buddy workshop, as well as the Global Issues, team based event.

As a direct result of TGS being resident at BISS we had the unique opportunity this week to welcome to the school  Dr Yong Zhao, who is currently the Presidential Chair and Associate Dean for Global and Online Education, University of Oregon, as well as the director of the Center for Advanced Technology in Education (CATE). He is a fellow of the International Academy for Education and the author of ‘Catching Up or Leading the Way’. TGS invited Yong to China to speak to the wider community on Monday evening here in Beijing, in a presentation entitled ‘Students as Global Entrepreneurs’. We invited him to come to a less formal gathering of BISS students and teachers and share his insights with us. 

Yong talked about the ‘death of distance’ and how technology now supports communication and learning in a variety of forms, cutting through isolation and broadening our opportunities. He talked about the impact of globalization on the future job market, and encouraged students to create their own jobs rather than be content to study for an occupation that may be obsolete soon.  His enthusiasm was infectious, and his message included words such as motivation, confidence, passion, innovation, entrepreneurship, global competencies, cultural intelligences….and more! 

I was particularly impressed with how Yong interacted with the younger audience and coaxed responses and ideas from individuals who were often reticent. He is also a great storyteller and shared experiences of his younger life in China. His perception of the China-USA education systems is intuitive.  After synthesizing other current day thinkers and writers such as Thomas Friedman (The World is Flat) and Daniel Pink (A Whole New Mind), Yong proposed his own interpretation of the need for creativity and global thinking, along with less meaningless and regimented testing, in education in order to cater for future social development and prosperity.

BISS and TGS students get to know each other through 'buddy' activities

Julie Lindsay, Dr Ettie Zilber and Dr Yong Zhao at BISS

Yong Zhao speaks with students at BISS

1 comment:

Rebecca Zook said...

Julie, thanks for letting us know about Think Global School! It looks amazing and kind of makes me want to go back to high school again which I didn't think was possible. :) Looks like a very exciting way of taking all of these ideas about flatness and putting them into action.