Face to Face with Success

Meet Gavin Keller: The principal who has reimagined the classroom

In 2015, Sun Valley Primary made headlines for ditching homework and adopting a unique approach to teaching. Now, meet the man at the helm of the school where kids are taught to think – not merely to regurgitate facts – and how to fail.

Gavin Keller has been the principal of Sun Valley Primary in Fish Hoek since 1993, and in his two-and-a-half decades in charge, has turned the traditional concept of education on its head.

His passion for education started when he was in grade nine, and met the teacher whose passion and style became the example he wanted to follow into his own career - much to his father's dismay, who warned him that teachers don't make money!

If the teacher knows how to touch the life of a young learner, and connect with them, and get them excited about learning, we could change the future of society.

Gavin Keller

“The tragedy in education is that there is a classical mindset of what a school needs to look like,” Keller told Charlotte Kilbane. “I think that that has to change.”

“We’ve created an education model that is so narrow that we are no longer creating innovative, creative thinkers.”

Keller believes in a “brain-based” way of learning that helps children build foundational neural pathways that grow and connect and help them to think, rather than force-feeding them information to parrot back - and which courts failure as a stepping stone to success.

Schools, Keller says, are all about the tick and the cross – but “life is not about I’ve got it right or I’ve got it wrong.”

Life is about "show me how I can do it better".

Gavin Keller

In this week’s episode of Face to Face with Success, Keller shares his definition of success, and discusses the model of education that has helped Sun Valley Primary learners earn a reputation of grit, resilience and

maturity.


CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
To play the (success) game well, get your game plan from the experts

To play the (success) game well, get your game plan from the experts

Ever wondered what the man who started Sorbet and a mathematical genius have in common?

Meet Kopano Matlwa Mabaso: Best-selling author and dedicated doctor

Meet Kopano Matlwa Mabaso: Best-selling author and dedicated doctor

At 21, she wrote a best-selling novel while studying medicine. Today, she's a doctor, a mother, and has three novels to her name.

Meet Helen Rees: Champion of public health

Meet Helen Rees: Champion of public health

Meet a champion fighting for the health of our nation!

Meet Maggie and Malebo Mokotedi: Queens of holistic healthcare

Meet Maggie and Malebo Mokotedi: Queens of holistic healthcare

Mother and daughter team Maggie and Malebo Mokotedi are making a difference with state-of-the-art healthcare in South Africa.

Meet Adri Williams: Changing lives, one cookie at a time

Meet Adri Williams: Changing lives, one cookie at a time

Khayelitsha Cookies is more than just a biscuit brand - it's the product of an inspiring journey of social entrepreneurship.

Meet multi-skilled rugby star Siya Kolisi

Meet multi-skilled rugby star Siya Kolisi

Growing up disadvantaged in the Eastern Cape, becoming an international rugby star was the furthest thing from Siya Kolisi’s mind.

Popular articles
Predictably awesome new Nando's ad reminds South Africans ‘we can fix our sh$t’

Predictably awesome new Nando's ad reminds South Africans ‘we can fix our sh$t’

Watch the Guptas pack their bags and run in Nando's inspiring new advertisement.

PSG Chair Jannie Mouton opens up (kind of) about Steinhoff

PSG Chair Jannie Mouton opens up (kind of) about Steinhoff

In 2012 Steinhoff acquired 20% of wealth manager PSG, reportedly infuriating Mouton. Bruce Whitfield interviews him.

[LISTEN] Sara-Jayne King overjoyed at finding her biological father

[LISTEN] Sara-Jayne King overjoyed at finding her biological father

After a 702/ CapeTalk interview, the author of the autobiographical book Killing Karoline spoke to her dad for the first time.

[LISTEN] Caller challenges Eusebius on land disposition

[LISTEN] Caller challenges Eusebius on land disposition

‘I need you to provide me with an answer' - John from Edenvale, Gauteng

Number of South Africans visiting the seaside has dropped

Number of South Africans visiting the seaside has dropped

Fedhasa's CEO is encouraging South Africans to take a look at the specials that are currently out there and make their bookings.

How businessman Max Lichaba struck gold with his jewellery company

How businessman Max Lichaba struck gold with his jewellery company

Entrepreneur Max Lichaba built his own empire and is the CEO of Lichaba Creations and several other businesses. This is his story.