Hong Kong can learn from world’s top teacher Nancie Atwell

Hong Kong can learn from world’s top teacher Nancie Atwell

 Nancie Atwell, with former US president Bill Clinton and United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, at her award ceremony. Photo: AP

To be recognised as the world’s best in one’s profession is a great achievement, even more so when the career has a lasting impact on generations of people. For this, Nancie Atwell is a truly inspiring role model for teachers the world over. The American from a rural town in Maine has just defeated thousands of nominees from across the world to become the first winner of the Global Teacher Prize, an award dubbed the Nobel Prize of teaching.

Having graduated with a degree in English in the 1970s, she accepted a teaching job at a school in New York as a “fall-back” option. But what sets her apart from other teachers is the way she has revolutionised the classroom. Instead of imposing assignments and focusing on test scores, she encourages pupils to read and write what they like. Through such freedom, her pupils show the kind of initiative that other teachers can only dream of. Her students read about 40 books a year, well above the US national average.

Atwell’s success goes beyond her four decades of teaching and a number of inspiring publications. Not only has she broken free from a stringent teaching system to nurture a strong interest in learning, she has also redefined the idea of what constitutes success in education, from one being scores-oriented to one emphasising the pursuit of knowledge. Receiving her award at a ceremony in Dubai, she lamented the shift towards uniformity in classrooms. Teachers, she said, were little more than technicians reading out scripts in class these days.

The lesson is as much for Hong Kong as the rest of the world. Our education system is notoriously rigid, with students spoon-fed to score well in exams. Producing graduates for economic and social needs is placed before individual learning and development. Entrenched social values mean it may be unrealistic to expect our education system to be transformed into a giant, Atwell-style classroom where everyone can freely pursue their interests. But the learning process may bear better fruit if more teachers follow in her footsteps.

#NancieAtwell  #GlobalTeacherPrize

Published by

Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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