What can SA learn from the world's 'best' teacher?

An award-winning teacher from the UK is one of more than 2 000 delegates from around the world taking part in the YPO EDGE event in Cape Town this week.

Billed as the organization’s premier visionary showcase of thought leadership and innovation, attendees will address key issues in various sectors like business, politics, science, technology, philanthropy and the humanities.

One of the invitees is Andria Zafirakou, a teacher from the UK who was last year awarded the Global Teacher Prize, a million dollar recognition that is sometimes referred to as the Nobel Prize for Teaching.

In her classroom in London, students have over 30 different home languages and come from vastly different backgrounds.

My background has an impact on how I teach my students because I was raised in London and I have been constantly surrounded by different cultures.

Andria Zafirakou, Arts and technology teacher - Alperton Community School

She explains some of the techniques she has employed in order to better communicate in such a diverse classroom space.

I have learned a couple of phrases which is spoken in my pupil's homes because I want to make them feel welcome in my class. I know being a young child coming to the UK for the first time can be a very challenging experience, and by learning some phrases from their language it is my way of saying welcome.

Andria Zafirakou, Arts and technology teacher - Alperton Community School

And what advice does she have for teachers in South Africa?

What we do is, we're not an exam factory. It's not a conveyer belt - testing and retesting. It's about the holistic input that we provide for the children.

Andria Zafirakou, Arts and technology teacher - Alperton Community School

Click below to listen to the full interview:


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