REINVENTING.SCHOOL Episode 5: Curiosity and Individual Learning

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Host Howard Blumenthal welcomes Susan Engel, author of one of Howard's favorite books about curiosity, The Hungry Mind: The Origins of Curiosity in Childhood, and Yong Zhao is a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas, and a professor in Educational Leadership at the Melbourne Graduate Schooll of Education in Australia. As always, we will be joined by two students from the U.S. and elsewhere. More about this week's guests: Susan Engel is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Founding Director of the Program in Teaching at Williams College. She currently serves as the Williams College Gaudino Scholar, a position that creates and promotes opportunities for students to stretch beyond what they are familiar with. She has taught all ages from three-year-olds through college. Her research interests include the development of curiosity, children’s narratives, play, and more generally, teaching and learning. Her current research looks at the development of children’s ideas. Her scholarly work has appeared in journals such as Cognitive Development, Harvard Educational Review, and the American Education Research Journal. She is the author of seven previous books: The Stories Children Tell: Making Sense of the Narratives of Childhood, Context is Everything: The Nature of Memory, Real Kids: Making Sense in Everyday Life, Red Flags or Red Herrings: Predicting Who Your Child Will Become, The Hungry Mind: The Origins of Curiosity in Childhood, The End of the Rainbow: How Educating for Happiness (Not Money) Would Transform Our Schools, and most recently, A School of Our Own: The Story of the First Student-Run High School, and a New Vision for American Education which she co-wrote with her son Sam. Her writing on education has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, The Atlantic Monthly, Salon, The Huffington Post, and The Boston Globe. Susan is one of the founders of an experimental school in New York State, where she served as an educational advisor for eighteen years. She lives in New Marlborough, Massachusetts with her husband Tom Levin. They have three sons, Jake, Will, and Sam. Yong Zhao was born in China’s Sichuan Province. He received his B.A. in English Language Education from the Sichuan Institute of Foreign Languages in Chongqing, China in 1986. After teaching English in China for six years, he came to Linfield College as a visiting scholar in 1992. He then began his graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1993. He received his master's in Education in 1994 and Ph.D. in 1996. He joined the faculty at MSU in 1996 after working as the Language Center Coordinator at Willamette University and a language specialist at Hamilton College. His works focus on the implications of globalization and technology on education. He has published over 100 articles and 30 books, including An Education Crisis Is a Terrible Thing to Waste: How Radical Changes Can Spark Student Excitement and Success (2019) What Works May Hurt: Side Effects in Education (2018), Reach for Greatness: Personalizable Education for All Children (2018), Counting What Counts: Reframing Education Outcomes(2016), Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job: Correcting Top 5 Ed Tech Mistakes (2015), Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World (2014), Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization (2009)and World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students (2012). http://zhaolearning.com Howard Blumenthal created and produced the PBS television series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? He is currently a Senior Scholar at The University of Pennsylvania, studying learning and the lives of 21st-century children and teenagers. He travels the world, visiting K-12 schools, lecturing at universities, and interviewing young people for Kids on Earth, a global platform containing nearly 1,000 interview segments from Kentucky, Brazil, Sweden, India, and many other countries. Previously, he was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, and United Features. He is the author of 24 books and several hundred articles about technology, learning, business, and human progress. As an executive, Howard was the CEO of a public television operation and several television production companies, and a state government official. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President for divisions of two large media companies, Hearst and Bertelsmann, and a consultant or project lead for Energizer, General Electric, American Express, CompuServe, Warner Communications, Merriam-Webster, Atari, and other companies.

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