A young British man tries introduce 3D printing and hackathon teaching methods to the notoriously exam-heavy Chinese education system. Can he succeed?
Our guest for this episode says the fact that he went to an “unconventional, edgy” school that doesn’t give homework and sends students off to build dens in the woods has fundamentally shaped his perception about children’s education. Now 30 years old, Kit Harford, an educator and serial entrepreneur, has spent the majority of his adulthood in China exploring innovative ways to teach Chinese children the skills they need to thrive in today’s world.
As a fresh graduate, Kit went to a little-known city called Dongying (东营) deep in Shandong province to teach English. It wasn’t long before his keen business sense told him that the demand for quality English instruction in China’s “lower-tier” cities was not being met. At 24, he opened his first English teaching school. Before long, he had a hugely successful business, running six schools around Shandong and Anhui provinces.
But like many businesses in China, the schools were hit by a sudden change in regulations when the government decided to de-emphasize English in the country’s university entrance exam, or gaokao.
But that didn’t stop Kit. In fact, it pushed him to think harder — specifically, about what skills would be genuinely critical to the future success of his students. He began to focus on developing and delivering a fun, skills-focused tech course for young children, and founded a new company: Tech Trek.
“How to link teaching with experience is the key,” Kit says.
Today, Kit Harford, founder and CEO of Tech Trek, sits down with Jingjing and Yajun to candidly talk about his journey of being a foreign entrepreneur in China, why he loves education so much, and his unique approach to teaching children about technology.
Previous episodes of the Wǒ Men podcast can be found here, and you can find Wǒ Men on iTunes here.
Have thoughts or feedback to share? Want to join the discussion? Write to Yajun and Jingjing at [email protected].
Soundcloud embed (if you’re in China, turn your VPN on):
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