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Reach for Greatness
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Reach for Greatness
Personalizable Education for All Children



January 2018 | 120 pages | Corwin

Make education personalizable - Every child can be great when they own their learning

For years, focusing on the achievement gap has led to the same result: We hope for greatness and settle for competence. But why settle? It’s time to recognize that the potential for greatness lies in a unique form within each child, and that the goal of education should be to encourage and develop it. 

This inspiring manifesto brings in research from different disciplines to show where children’s strengths and passions can be found, and how personalizable education uncovers them. Also included:

  • Strategies for implementing personalizable education
  • Examples showing practices that have gone wrong—and right
  • Guidance for teaching disadvantaged students 

Every child has the potential to be great. Teaching for greatness gives students control of their own learning—and guides them toward future happiness and success.

Are you tired of gimmicks like "personalized learning" that have become empty slogans, but keen for the real depth and substance of an education that helps all students to reach their full potential?  If so, Yong Zhao's Reaching for Greatness is the book for you!  With vivid examples and carefully scaffolded argumentation, Zhao shows how what he calls "personalizable education" offers an exciting and practical future for all of our students truly to become great.  Zhao's writing is full of whimsy and humor, so that you can't wait to see what this wonderful alchemist of educational change is going to say next. Best of all, this gem of a book is one that not only all teachers, but also a rising generation of students, will cherish as well.

--Dennis Shirley, Professor, Lynch School of Education, Boston College, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Educational Change.

Once again Yong pulls us from our narrow view of what education is and reminds us what it needs to be. Personalized education (as opposed to the ubiquitous and limited notion of personalized learning) is essential for a time in which we need to recognize and cultivate the diverse strengths of our students for their own good and our shared future on earth. Poignant stories from Yong's global travels to schools make the research in this call to action relatable and accessible for all educational stakeholders. This is an important read!  

--Emily McCarren, Academy Principal, Punahou School, co-author of The Take Action Guides to World Class Learners book series.



 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
Introduction: Stop Looking at My Bad Leg
 
Chapter 1: The Ambitious Pursuit of Mediocrity: How Education Curtails Children’s Potential for Greatness
 
Chapter 2: All Children Are Above the Average: The Potential for Greatness
 
Chapter 3: A Musician Must Make Music: The Need to Be Great
 
Chapter 4: Take Control: Personalizable Education for Greatness
 
Chapter 5: Trust Me: Realizing Personalizable Education
 
References
 
Index

Yong Zhao, ever the engaging education contrarian, delivers a compelling read that systematically outlines how to break away from educational systems that narrow, dictate, and sort learners, and readjust to focus on students’ unique skills, needs, and passions. It brings the role of education - in society and for the individual - to the forefront and, in doing so, has the reader reappraise its purpose. Moving beyond just a recommendation of personalization, Yong promotes the idea of education personalized by, not for, the leaner.

Sean Slade, Senior Director of Global Outreach
ASCD

Yong Zhao pulls us from our narrow view of what education is and reminds us what it needs to be. Personalized education (as opposed to the ubiquitous and limited notion of personalized learning) is essential for recognizing and cultivating the diverse strengths of our students for their own good and the good of society. Poignant stories from Yong's global travels to schools make the research in this call to action relatable and accessible for all educational stakeholders. This is an important read!  

Emily McCarren, Academy Principal
Punahou School

In Reach for Greatness, Yong Zhao makes the urgent case for empowering every young person to recognize their strengths, realize their talents, and follow their passions. Furthermore, his idea of empowerment is centered on the young person taking control of their own learning – a critical shift from the dominant model in which education is done to the student. Clear, compelling, evidence-based, and practical, this is an important book.

Ross Hall, Director of Education; Founder
Ashoka; The Global Change Leaders
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Key features
This is one of a series of brief books that highlight key actions school leaders can undertake right away to inform and improve their practice. Each book should be 45-60 pages and all will be developed by the very best experts in the field. This book is richly detailed with examples and vignettes from around the world and has an absorbing personal and narrative style.

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ISBN: 9781506316093
$20.95

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