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
Meet Knowledge Bengu – Master of the SA Agulhas II

Meet Knowledge Bengu – Master of the SA Agulhas II

From a township in Durban to the command of a research vessel breaking through Antarctica ice - meet Captain Knowledge Bengu.

Meet Mteto Nyati: King of ICT transformation

Meet Mteto Nyati: King of ICT transformation

Meet Altron's CEO, the ICT powerhouse entrusted with the transformation of businesses across South Africa, and the continent.

Meet Melissa van Hoogstraten: Baking her way into SA’s heart

Meet Melissa van Hoogstraten: Baking her way into SA’s heart

From a tiny store in Cape Town to something of an empire within 20 years, Melissa’s has cemented itself in the hearts of SA.

Meet Marlene le Roux, the transformation stalwart who helms Artscape Theatre

Meet Marlene le Roux, the transformation stalwart who helms Artscape Theatre

From an upbringing in a time marked as our most tumultuous, Marlene has come through the trenches to rise above – and then pay it forward.

Meet Luke Dale-Roberts: Master of culinary invention

Meet Luke Dale-Roberts: Master of culinary invention

Meet The Test Kitchen's Luke Dale-Roberts, the man who is setting South Africa’s taste buds alight with high-end dining experiences that blow foodies out of the water.

Meet Brian Chesky: The sharing-economy hero

Meet Brian Chesky: The sharing-economy hero

A simple idea borne in late 2007 out of three broke guys’ need to make rent started a global revolution in the travel industry, and introduced the world to a new economy.

Popular articles
More South Africans on social grants than those earning an income

More South Africans on social grants than those earning an income

According to SAIRR researcher Gerbrandt van Heerden the number of people receiving social grants has increased by 328% since 2001.

5 facts about the new SA number plates being implemented this year

5 facts about the new SA number plates being implemented this year

No official date has been set for the roll out of SA's new number plate legislation, but here's what you need to know so long.

In case you hadn't noticed, Cape Town feels freezing cold (and here's why)

In case you hadn't noticed, Cape Town feels freezing cold (and here's why)

Capetonians are pulling out hot water bottles and mittens as a cold front is predicted to make landfall on Thursday morning.

Are you having panic attacks? Here's what you need to know

Are you having panic attacks? Here's what you need to know

Behavioural psychologist Dr Helgo Schomer explains the symptoms, treatments and tips for people who suffer panic attacks.

Don't be rude: 5 ways to practice cell phone etiquette

Don't be rude: 5 ways to practice cell phone etiquette

It's important to confront friends and family if they seem distracted by their phones, says Afro Protocol founder Courtenay Carey.

'The university degree is dead'

'The university degree is dead'

Flux Trends founder Dion Chang gives five reasons why he believes getting a degree is past its sell by date.