Catch Ai Addyson-Zhang on the #PirateBroadcast
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Russ Johns 0:00
Welcome to the #piratebroadcast, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings where you can expand your connections, your community. #Kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let's get this party started.
It's a wonderful day for the #piratebroadcast. We have a special guest today. As you know #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. How are you, doctor? Hey, how are you?
Ai Addyson-Zhang 0:34
I'm doing great. Thank you so much for having me on the show. I'm really excited.
Russ Johns 0:39
Well, you've been on LinkedIn live and you've been broadcasting for some time now and you've got several initiatives going out there. You've got some amazing content. I want to talk a little bit about your journey. You've been a professor and now you have a huge initiative going on. I want to have you share that with the Pirate community here and talk about what you see taking place. Because right now I believe that now is the time to expand our skills and our understanding and things of what we want to pay attention to. What we want to share. So I'd love to get your perspective on that and kind of share with the audience. Also, who are you and why are you here a little bit about who you are.
Ai Addyson-Zhang 1:30
Yeah, definitely, definitely. So my name is Ai and I'm the founder of classroom without walls, which is an alternative school. So I called in higher education, oh my god for 10 plus years, and I officially resigned last year and decided to make a very audacious decision, which is to appeal to my own school. So I resigned last year in summer and started on this journey. To become a full time entrepreneur, and a key and to be able to my own school. The trigger for that was after teaching in the classroom for quite a few years. I realized the traditional educational model was not preparing our students for the future is actually hurting our children. It turns out their future, imagination decreases, creativity decreases, and the drive to learn also decreases because we do reward we do punishment. If we do that on regular basis for so many years, we are slowly killing our children's intrinsic Desire to Learn to grow to thrive. Those are just some quick examples and I realized the model was broken.
I really struggled. I try to teach classes differently. I embark on a journey I was like, Ai, Do you want to be part of the solution? Or you want to be part of the problem by perpetuating the system? or building a new one? I'm like, yeah. I'm brave person. I want to be part of the solution. I decided, I asked myself, What if? What if so what if I build a better model? And so that's kind of really how I resigned and why I resigned and to really be on this journey, and to create a better learning environment for the next generation. That is my why I'm slowly figuring this out. Last year, I had my very first program, we had a blast. Seeing the transformation in the students who join my program. Last year, like 10 days, they transformed I was like, wow, learning is fun, and can have so much potential can make so much impact on a person that has given me so much hope. I'm restarting on your program, which is our three months. I'm actually starting on Monday with students and professionals to really accelerate their life and help them be prepared for life and for their careers and for the future by teaching them what schools are not teaching them. That's kind of my journey and my story.
Russ Johns 4:18
Fantastic. Congratulations for launching another program on Monday. I've been fascinated about how you evolved here, because you must have had an inspirational teacher in your career and growing up in some place the trigger planted that seed that you could imagine a different outcome from education.
Ai Addyson-Zhang 4:45
Yeah. That's such a great question. I think for me. Was not really. I think there was one good teacher in my case, one she really believed in me and That was like, in middle school but I think for me to the trigger for me it was shorty. desperation like compassion, compassion for the students and desperation. Prior to my resignation every single semester I cried. I literally cried. I had so many pictures of me crying with my students and for my students, and most people, we chose to become a teacher, because we want you to see the spark in our students eyes, right? The lore for the sake of learning like a culture I teach me more. This is so fun. I don't say anything like that. What I got from my students was doctor Ai will this be on the exam? Doctor Ai go to your event, what can I get? How many points Dr. Ai, everything's like score, a GPA, ABC. I got so tired of that. Nobody asked me. Hey, let's talk about this for a second. They call intellectual discussion for the sake of learning. To me, that is the reason. The reason I became a teacher. I don't have that right every time I canceled the class. This is not just my class, like, across the board. Well class these consoles students like so well, like we don't think about it, they pay to be in the class. I was always shocked. Why you guys are so excited. Do you know your parents actually pay thousands of dollars for you to be in the classroom?
Russ Johns 6:36
Ai Addyson-Zhang 6:37
I really lost interest in teaching because this was not the perfection that I had innovation, my mind that I got myself into. I was running softball, then also lots of compassion for the students. You know, like to this they came to me and the good students, the bad students, they literally cry like 30 minutes for 40 minutes. I'm a caring person. So maybe that's why they came to me. Then it just lost. I don't know what to do. I'm depressed, clinically depressed, I'm depressed. I have no sense of direction. I have no purpose. I don't know what to do. When you asked me what was my trigger trigger was really not because of a good teacher, which I didn't even have in middle school, but really, because of the compassion for the students what can I do, and a large part was desperation. This is not working. I didn't enjoy teaching the students they were miserable. I was also miserable. All of us. We were miserable. Like, what can I do. I don't want to spend the rest of my life preparing the status score. Tthe only way for me is to either make teeny tiny changes within the system or build a new one. I decided to just kind of say goodbye to that and build a new one. So that was really My trigger and motivation.
Russ Johns 8:02
So on this journey, one of the things that I've discovered there's, it's kind of disturbing to think how many people after they leave high school or college or any kind of education, that's probably the last book they'll read in their entire life. I cannot, why would you not learn that? Why would you not continue to learn because, for me, learning is life. It's like, okay, I want to learn something every day I want to learn something new, I want to discover something new. That idea and that concept is foreign to some people. How do we plant the seed in the ones that have been discouraged by the numbers and the statistics and the social pressure of performing a certain level because it's not the right model, in my opinion, and it's not something that we should be teaching is crativity is a lifetime goal. it has really built our ability to create and continue to create an evolve.
Ai Addyson-Zhang 9:09
I see myself as a lifelong student lifelong learner by totally God, what you're saying. The reason is like, even for me, after I go to my PhD, what we call that a terminal degree. When you have a terminal degree, and it means like the end of learning, I literally stopped learning, I was like, Oh my god, I'm at the top there's no more degrees for me to earn. That really stopped me from learning from pursuing from growing myself. I think for many students, we kind of instilled that message into them right? at graduation like our graduation that I have been to so many graduation days, and they throw away their hat, like somebody will throw away their bugs.
Russ Johns 9:13
They will burn.
Ai Addyson-Zhang 9:58
It will burn they will literally firing a bird or book they aren't like over learning is over. I think that is kind of the message the system is sending to the students. To really stop that we have to start at a much, much, much younger age. Because what you know what today's information is tomorrow's Misinformation. When we send a kid to a school, they're not learning. Their job is not to learn the content, because by the time they graduate, the content is going to be updated. Our job as a teacher, as a parent, is to train our students, how to learn how to unlearn and how to relearn. This is something that I start to implement in my own children, homeschooling. I don't teach what I do is I show up as a facilitator, I still coach and he will they will figure things out. Right now my my older son, eight years old, he started selling on eBay. As he was doing that he was practicing research skills, communication skills and math. Right. He didn't enjoy doing the workbook. I agreed It's so boring. Like, you don't really see any relevance because learning has to be personal.
Russ Johns 11:16
Ai Addyson-Zhang 11:16
What he did for me, why do I have to learn this? When the learning is personal, and they will go So I think, you know, to really instill that lifelong learning the concept of becoming a lifelong student. Our job is not to teach our children Hey, no lecture, they need to learn, learn, learn all the time, that is not working. What we need to do is to really help them inspire them to discover their interests. What are they interested in learning to practice? We call this the pedagogy of listening to really listen Okay, my children are my students. They are really into podcasts, help them discover that once The heart is ready they are unstoppable they will want to walk, they want to learn. You have this podcast you have this live streaming you love doing this right so you are on this mission every day to learn what is new with LinkedIn what is new with stream yard I want to learn like I'm the same because I love this so if you asked me to fix up like a computer become the IT person I'm not interested in that I'm not going to engage in lifelong learning right so for our children's to really help them discover what is their purpose in life what is calling. Maybe not the long term for the younger kids felt like for them like like my son right he used to struggle getting up early in the morning like go to school like oh, like God I can't. Today, like he literally jumped off the bed to start working on his YouTube channel. He's really into Minecraft. He wants to teach other people how to play Minecraft. I didn't push him. I didn't say time to get up. He was like he was up.
Russ Johns 13:05
Yeah. Because he's passionate about it.
Ai Addyson-Zhang 13:07
Russ Johns 13:13
Yeah, I want to mention this because it's top of mind for me right now is it there's a piece of it that has to be, I think, curiosity because curiosity is a spark for innovation and discovery and research, and it's like, oh, I want an answer to this. Why does this work? How does this work? And I think that's a really big piece of the puzzle, that if we can get people to be curious, the symptom of that is learning right? I don't know how that plays into what you're doing or how it's impacted your life but
Ai Addyson-Zhang 13:54
I social and social is that he said that it's a miracle that curiosity is survived formal education? I coach. I really shows you because when you go to a school, and there is a much multiple choice, there's one answer to every question. But in real life, if you do that all the time, how can you think outside the box? So I my school will only do project based learning. We don't there's no grades, there's no like, I know I'm my boss, I decide how to run the class. Every lesson is taught through a project. I asked my students, for example, to do a live streaming interview. I said they are doing the live streaming interview, guess what? They're learning communication. They're learning adaptability, they are learning research. They are practice active listening. They are learning so many skills. That's why we do you know, and then be curious, like, I say work on a specific project. We are learning so many different skills, I suppose to I'm taking a class on communication. I'm taking a class on research. I'm taking class on math, but we do a project And that project involves multiple aspects of skills. That's how we should show up in the 21st century, I will work on project we don't just like I only do this, no, we need a multitude of skills and talents to work on just one project.
Russ Johns 15:16
Yeah, and the beautiful thing about that is that the connections between those skill sets are now all of a sudden, planted in the minds of the learner. It's like, Oh, I see the relationship between these skills and the how that's how it applies. Because how many times have you taken a class and saying, I'll never use this? And then you use it because you're using it with something else. Right?
Ai Addyson-Zhang 15:42
Exactly. And like most students, most people think. I mean, I talked about this. There's a model. I don't know if y'all need to be too technical, but there's a very common model I think everyone could benefit from this is called 70 2010. The model is really well known in our learning and development. What that motto means is that for any transformation to happen in students in adults in professionals and leaders 10% of that transformation comes from formal learning, like traditional learning, like textbook taking classes watching a live show, that's only 10%, my friend, that's only 10%. And 20% of that transformation comes from social working with a coach, like peer to peer discussion, the social aspect of learning. Guess what 70% of that transformation comes from application learning in real life. This model is really well known, but guess what schools, most schools and even parents malfi are probably also guilty of this. Will you ask your kids when they come back home? Hey, What's the score? That's the question. We ask the world to be a message to our children. That's the only thing I care about. Only 20% you're also missing 70%. So I my school will focus on the 70%. Yeah,
Russ Johns 17:08
Yeah. Well, I think the big tragedy and a lot of school organizations right now is the fact that they're teaching to pass a test. So their school can get grades. The school can get their grade, or passing students through the school. So they can get their funding.
Ai Addyson-Zhang 17:28
You know that yes, I recently had a conversation with some of my friends, who's actually a high school teacher, and he teaches math. He told me Ai this is ridiculous. Everyone's talking about improving like academic performance. I was, like so much pressure on him to improve the overall score. Now you're comparing all those kids in the US with children in China like oh, I look at their score. I came from that background. I was so damaged by that way of thinking only focused on I can your back while it's really hurting our children's imagination and risk taking. All those things. There's another, I don't know if you want to share it, but there's another very, very famous study and also reflect on our creativity. You were talking about creativity.
Russ Johns 18:19
Ai Addyson-Zhang 18:19
What he did is a group of researchers, they want to study, like how creative our children are over time as they become older. So they ask those children like paper clips, like, Hey, who cares? How many ways can you think of using a paper clip? I guess what do you notice like the younger children like three years old, four years old, say scored 98% genius, like, super genius level, right? Amazing, almost 100% and five years later, the same group of children. Guess what? jobs to 50% 50 that's like without like, like, Kind of young teenagers, and another five years later comes to a job. And by the time they become like my age like 30 or 40, like adults, guess what? 2%
Russ Johns 19:13
Oh, that's tragic. So what we're doing is we're reducing the creativity that we're used to being born with.
Ai Addyson-Zhang 19:25
Russ Johns 19:26
By the time you get to adult, you have only 2% of your creativity left.
Ai Addyson-Zhang 19:31
Exactly, exactly. And that's why I know some of my friends, they focus on training like creativity, you know what they do? They teach you how to play, but it's so funny. Now people are spending like thousands of dollars, the corporate and learning how to play, but will you just look at two years old? Oh, wait, we stopped that. Now we have to spend money to learn how to play which is really sad. If you are watching this right now or our replay if you have children really try to preserve that, don't make everything become so uncomfortable, especially in terms of you know, A or B or C Guess what, there's another book, A students work for C students, B students work for the government. Like academic performance, I in my school, we have an iceberg model is only the tip of the iceberg to prepare our children for the future, there are a lot more that you need to really worry about if you want your children to, to succeed in life.
Russ Johns 20:35
You have this initiative going on and you have this passion and this spark to really change a lot of lives. How can others surround you and support you and how is this initiative going to be allowed to grow? Are you getting pushback by some people and support by other people?
Ai Addyson-Zhang 21:00
It's interesting, I asked this question. So the pushback I got are is mainly from peoples who are still in the traditional system. By right after I got started on this journey, I love my dear friends, she bullied me online and blocked me and kick me off like a group of many educators. I mean like it is what it is. They don't want to hear my message maybe or maybe I'm too radical. I don't know. I don't care. Those people are just not in my network. I do have people like you like Vicki, and many parents who think this model is broken. In fact, a few weeks ago, I interviewed a very well known disruptive educator, and he came to my show to talk about his new book, why are you still sending your children to school? That's the people I hang out with. I'm really happy and so we support each other. And I see this as part of the movement and now so much anti school diversity anti the system, anti the old system of learning you think everything happens inside the walls.
That's why I'm like a breaking outside of the classroom. There are, as more and more people realizing the traditional educational model is not working. There are so many alternative schools. I was shocked by how many they are. I'm just one of them many there are actually a lot so there are a lot yeah. So this is the tribe that I had with I invite him to be on my show. For those of you if you want to support it, definitely come to my show. I have one focuses on social media marketing. Actually, Neil Patel is coming to my show on the coming Wednesday. We're excited talking about ICO. I have another show dedicated to education, talking about education, discuss, debate and disrupt education on Friday, which is tomorrow. I have the parents of a seven figure entrepreneur to come to the show to share with us how they raised a seven figure like 20 year old entrepreneur. Really amazing.
Russ Johns 23:12
Oh that's fantastic
Ai Addyson-Zhang 23:13
Russ Johns 23:14
You know, who's an advocate for change in education is Seth Godin.
Ai Addyson-Zhang 23:19
He has come to my show, he actually inspires me to launch this. What is school for a show? So I love, love.
Russ Johns 23:30
I was just gonna say, I think you're in alignment with some of the things that he's mentioned on occasion.
Ai Addyson-Zhang 23:37
Exactly. He said, there's no good textbook, on marketing, like why listen to that, like, I agree. I like reach out to him. It's like, Yeah, I love your message. Let me guide you on your show. So it's really not hard for me to book him to be on my show. And I took like, 10 minutes. I sent him an email. 10 minutes later, he said, Yes, let's do this, which was very stressful for me. It was He wants to play like three days later. I feel like I needed three weeks to be prepared.
Russ Johns 24:10
I just think it's amazing and I just love what you're doing and I love your energy. What I teach a lot of times is that you are the media you are the message, you have the ability to produce and promote shows and share your gifts and ideas. That's what I think a lot of kids young adults especially need to understand is that it's not about the numbers. It's not about Instagram famous. It's more about how we can build relationships, how can we learn and get creative witht what we have in front of us? The tools are amazing these days. There's so much technology and everything that's going on around us and if you hit attention to what you have available in your hands right now, the creative process can emerge. In so many different directions and I just think it's, it's an opportunity to share this and broadcast this to wherever we can. So thank you.
Ai Addyson-Zhang 25:10
Thank you. Totally, yeah Thank you for having me.
Russ Johns 25:15
Well, it's yeah and you've been streaming for longer than I have you been on for a while now.
Ai Addyson-Zhang 25:26
I think I started in 2017
Russ Johns 25:30
Ai Addyson-Zhang 25:30
For 3 years yeah. Yeah. So okay. I started was really my compassion for the students. I was like, You guys need to learn not only from me, who is this act them and you also need to learn from practitioners, because I was teaching PR public relations, communication and social media classes. I was like, you need to learn from the professionals who are actually practicing this on a daily basis. That intention To be a better teacher to serve my students better I started this show. That's the Social Media Marketing Show to professionals and my students, they were able to network with so many amazing people. I loved seeing that. That's how I got started. Yeah.
Russ Johns 26:18
Well, you're only one conversation away from changing things, right? Really in social media has offered the opportunity for us to actually have conversations with people around the world. If you want to learn about a subject or you're curious about a subject. You can connect with somebody that's an authority in that arena. You can actually ask them questions and you have conversations with people. People are willing to help people are willing to have conversations like this all the time, if you just take the initiative to reach out and get started. I love that you had his name's Mark Marvel. He left college when he found out his business teacher didn't actually run a business.
Ai Addyson-Zhang 27:06
Russ Johns 27:09
Ai Addyson-Zhang 27:10
It's really funny this story.
Russ Johns 27:12
Ai Addyson-Zhang 27:13
So after this class, he took a business school class outfits nice. So after the class, and he walked up to the professor very innocent genuinely
Russ Johns 27:23
Ai Addyson-Zhang 27:24
What bussiness do you run professor, fellow professors like, Ah, what do you mean? I know this book is like it. What is the business that this book is based off? The professor got really pissed off, and it's really interesting, he actually shared so when he went back home, and his mom asked him, Hey, Marsan, what did you learn today? And he said, Mom, I learned professors do not have to practice what they teach in the classroom.
Russ Johns 27:52
Ai Addyson-Zhang 27:52
That hurts right? Your like, Wow, that is so true. Why is that why has to be disrupted? Yeah, but it's so funny. He never went back to that class.
Russ Johns 28:02
Yeah, he didn't venture back to the class. He went on to create million dollar companies.
Ai Addyson-Zhang 28:07
Exactly. He has quite a few. He built and scaled quite a few multi million dollar companies and sold them so we discussed how to build a skill and sell companies it was running quite a while I my husband actually said that some of the best interviews because you can really hear, like everything he shared, he has done this is very in depth very, very thorough, like, I literally after running, hosting 200 episodes, I can tell he actually has done this himself now. It's just like fluff. There's like no fluff. Yeah.
Russ Johns 28:42
Well, and that's what I loved about it is the fact that, that is the kind of information that is available to all of us, right. It's insane that we're not taking advantage of it. I mean, YouTube has more content in it. The information is free. If you want to go find it, the Curiosity has to be inside of you. You have to have that spark of curiosity go out and that's what we need to foster is the curiosity to go back and become a learning individual, somebody that really wants to go out and learn something new. So I applaud you, thank you so much for what you're doing.
Ai Addyson-Zhang 29:22
That means so much to me. Thank you so much. Yeah,
Russ Johns 29:25
yeah. Well, I know that you've got a busy day going on. We've got all kinds of people in here, Vicki, Wendy, Angie, all of these individuals that are just really a supportive community and thank you for being a pirate now you're now officially a pirate. I can learn from you I can continue to learn from you and we can collaborate on some, maybe some future opportunities when you've got something to share. I'd love to be able to help you promote your ideas and your gifts. Expand your community out as far as it can go. Thank you so much for being here.
Ai Addyson-Zhang 30:05
Thank you for having me, Russ and really honored and thank you, everyone for for joining us live. Yeah,
Russ Johns 30:12
yeah. Thank you so much for joining another episode of the #piratebroadcast. Thank you for being in the pirate community. As always, #kindnessiscool, #smilesarefree, and you #enjoyth day.
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