Table Top Inventing Podcast

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Yong Zhao - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow do we create young adults that do NOT come back to live in our basements? What is role of parents in creating opportunities for their children? How important is it to hold children accountable for their decisions? Today’s podcast will shed light on these questions.

Hey there, Innovation Nation! Today’s show is both profound and practical. If you have been wondering, “How in the world can I get my kids to become independent thinkers–to take action on their own without being micromanaged?”, you have tuned into the right episode! As parents and educators, we are often plagued with an unwillingness of children to think for themselves or else to take responsibility for their thinking and actions. You will hear today’s guest relate conversations he had with his own children, saying things like,

“We can expand your horizons. We will be there to support you, but you have to take responsibility for your own choices.”

It can be a tricky thing as an adult responsible for children to say on the one hand, “I can help you do that better/easier/faster,” while on the other hand saying, “You’ll have to figure that out on your own.” Which decisions do we encourage children to make on their own, and which ones do we help them navigate?

This delicate balance between fostering independence and opening the door to opportunity takes practice to perfect. If we don’t give children enough rope, they never get the opportunity to make the necessary mistakes to learn complex tasks. On the other hand if we never intervene or help them, they make miss grand opportunities to take giant steps forward.

This tension between “You should try that on your own” and “Here can I show you a different way?” is precisely the experience we strive to create in the Inventor’s Bootcamp. Cassie was a student in one of our camps last summer. At first, she stood back while one of the other members of her group did all the computer programming. To be fair, she wasn’t particularly interested in programming, but then the other team member had some extenuating circumstances and couldn’t show up to finish the project. Suddenly, Cassie needed to learn the coding for their group’s project to succeed. She stepped up to the challenge because we didn’t rush in to solve her problem.

At other times, students may be facing a challenge for which they have no framework. In these moments, we introduce the basic concepts, help them get their feet wet, and then step back to see how far they can run on their own. We are always amazed at what students can do on their own. To get your students connected this summer, visit, and declare your child’s independence!

Our guest today is an expert on this subject of independent thinking and student choices in education. Dr. Yong Zhao started his educational career in the unlikeliest of places: the Sichuan province in China in the home of a poor peasant farmer. Let’s follow his journey to independent thinking to find clues for our own children.

Original Release Date: 6/25/15

Direct download: 041_-_Inspiring_Independence_with_Yong_Zhao.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 6:00pm PST

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