After winning the title of ‘Best Teacher in the World’, British-Cypriot Andria Zafirakou’s name hit the headlines last year. Among her impressive and thoughtful ways, greeting her students in 35 languages and walking them safely to bus stops to avoid gang violence, are but two traits that made Andria stand out.
Art needs to take up more space in Education: it was with the understanding that art nurtures and allows each child’s psyche and skills to grow, a theory she put into practice with the 1,400 pupils who passed through her classroom in Britain, that Andria was awarded the Global Teacher Prize in 2018.
With love, respect and meaningful communication with her students, the Greek Cypriot Art and Textiles teacher built relationships that give space to her students to excel, relate to knowledge and express themselves based on their own sensibilities and abilities.
Her victory in the Global Teacher Prize made it around the world, impressed Theresa May herself and thrilled Cypriots. Since March 2018 Andria’s life hasn’t been the same as she confessed to The Guardian in March last year. “My whole life has been transformed.”
Nearly 12 months after receiving the title, Andria is returning to Cyprus later this month for a talk that is sure to gather educators, students, academics and just about anyone interested in education.
The Youth Board of Cyprus, with IMH as a coordinator, has organised an evening with this now-recognised teacher, on Friday which will follow the theme of Art at the heart of education. Her love for the arts, school and her students from every corner of the world will make up the agenda of her presentation.
A discussion with Andria and Andri Savva, from the University of Cyprus’ Department of Educational Sciences, will follow after the presentation, allowing the audience to discover first-hand this teacher’s experiences and wisdom.
Teachers are not limited to the class or strictly in the teaching of a pre-determined school syllabus, believes Andria. The classroom becomes an experience, an interaction, accessible to each child in relation to its origins, culture and multicultural character as opposed to the up-to-now strict structure of the class, the teaching and the teacher’s profile.
Having impressed and inspired many, the event is bound to gather a big crowd. Held at Pallas Theatre, it is recommended that you register in advance to assure a place.
Art in the heart of education
Talk by Global Teacher Prize winner Andria Zafirakou. February 15. Pallas theatre, Nicosia. Free. 6pm-8pm. In English. Registration required: https://www.imhbusiness.com/events/events-list/free/art-at-the-heart-of-education Tel: 22-505580