Teaching tips from the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019 Top 10 finalists


"Every child deserves to be in school. It’s essential to take students who are passive and make them the centre of the learning process to allow innovation in class. Listen and let them make a change to their life story."
 
Technologies for Learning teacher Débora Garofalo (EMEF Almirante Ary Parreiras, São Paulo, Brazil) 
 
"My dream is for child participation and emancipation to be a norm in every school. Most of the time teachers want to decide for the children, and leaders want to decide for the schools. We have to flip the system and start from bottom up with the children. They’re the ones we’re educating so when we take their ideas, challenges, and solutions seriously, education will be better. It’s very important to involve children in the learning process because it gives them a sense of ownership. Teachers have to be open minded. Ask them questions so that they’re confident of who they are instead of being dependent on teachers. Ignite their creativity so that they know where their talents lie. Teaching a classroom with different nationalities is about focusing on the similarities." 
 
All subjects teacher Daisy Mertens (community-based school De Vuurvogel, Helmond, Netherlands) 

"Things are changing so rapidly. Teachers need time to work, and come together on a global scale for ideas to be shared. Teachers must feel valued so that they can give their best. Too often we hear of teachers burning out, and not continuing in the career. To have a successful education system, we must make sure that our teachers are qualified, supported, and mentored throughout their career and at every level, so that they can be the ones driving change. We must know our students and find ways in designing the curriculum and assessment to enable them to explore their heritage and background so that they feel like they’re part of the country’s history. Give them a voice to learn and share with each other. Happiness is crucial in class. It’s the only thing we need to measure success."
 
History, Society and Culture teacher Yasodai Selvakumaran (Rooty Hill High School, New South Wales, Australia) 
 
"Keeping kids in school is even more difficult that getting the formula for Coca Cola. Get to know your students. If you know their abilities and talents, you can hold their attention in class because you’ll know the strategies to keep them engaged. We need to make them the protagonists and ensure that the curriculum is relevant so that they can use it to become agents of change within their own communities. Creativity allows them to think, reflect, and be free."
 
Automotive Studies and Adult Professional Training head Martin Salvetti (EEST N°5 “2 de Abril” Temperley, Temperley, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
 
"We need a lot of time to master the language but we only teach it during English classes. English is just a tool. We can learn any subject with it. I collaborate with other subject teachers so that English can be used in many classes. People see Japan as a high-tech country but in education, it’s very low tech. No computers in classrooms. Students just sit quietly, take notes, and remember what’s taught in class for the test. But we have a lot of technology in our lives so it’s good to teach them how to use the computer and Internet properly. I use Minecraft in my English class because it’s a very popular game. But I don’t know how to play it. I get the students to teach each other. That’s the great thing about ICT. We don’t have to teach it. Just give students time to use it and they’ll master it themselves. Creativity is important because Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots cannot create. Only humans can."
 
English and ICT teacher Hidekazu Shoto (Ritsumeikan Primary School, Kyoto, Japan)

"When I was a student, I was afraid of my principal, classmates and teachers. I became a teacher to change that culture of fear. Being a teacher is like standing in front of many doors with different sets of keys. We must recognise their challenges to be able to communicate well with them. There are students with family problems so if they aren’t happy in school, it would be impossible for them to learn and grow. It’s a struggle but when we open the door, we can help them become better than us."
 
Civic Education teacher Vladimer Apkhazava (Chibati Public School, Tbilisi, Georgia) 
 
"My 5th grade teacher changed my life. I struggled in school and she gave me an opportunity to be a safety patrol - it’s just a hall monitor but that experience taught me to serve, and help lift others up. ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ is my life anthem. My dream is to see a Music programme in every school regardless of their socio-economic status. If you want to see a community of educated learners love school, make sure it has a Music programme. Beyond the barriers that divide us, music can unite us. It’s important to teach kids resilience in every subject. Teach them to endure the struggle, and to keep doing their best everyday. Take the time to listen, talk and compliment your students. Be genuine about it. Appreciate them. They’re worth the time."
 
Music teacher Melissa Salguero (P.S.48 Joseph R Drake elementary school, the Bronx, New York, United States)
 
"When I was six, I wasn’t like the other boys. I didn’t like football. There was a teacher who was very sporty and popular and I was in his class. I thougt he wouldn’t like me but on the last day of school he told me how he couldn’t wait to have me in his class again next year. It changed my life because he knew my name and he liked me. That was the kind of teacher I wanted to be. Inclusion’s important so every child feel like they belong. If we don’t teach that, we have things like the Christ­church (mosque killings) happening. We’ve got to teach and send a clear message to children that we’re different but we can still get along."  
 
Personal Social Health Education teacher Andrew Moffat (Parkfield Community School, Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom)  
 
"At 19 I was a dropout. I was Miss India and working in films. I started studying at 37 because I had two kids, and I saw how education was really stressing them out. I decided to go into the field and do something about it. I wanted to make children stronger and more resilient so I started working in life skill education. Understanding the self, managing emotions, problem solving, decision making, creative and critical thinking, effective communication and empathy, are skills we cannot do without. Children have to learn these through experiential learning, not in a lecture. That’s where ART (Action, Reflection, Transformation) comes in. A class should be filled with love, care and fun, otherwise it’s impossible to learn. You need to be relaxed to absorb. Learning is both cognitive and emotional."
 
Life Skills teacher Swaroop Rawal (Lavad Primary School, Gujarat, India)

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