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The World's Best Teacher Tells the World Art Matters

posted on January 22 2019

LCB Creativity Award Winner Andria Zafirakou with her students from Alperton Community School.

Best Teacher in the World Claims Art is Most Important

We made an amazing discovery this morning-- there is a $1 million prize for the World's Best Teacher. Isn't that terrific? Don't teachers deserve amazingly big prizes like this one Global Teacher Prize by the Education charity the Varkey Foundation.

The recipient this year is a teacher called Andria Zafirakou, from Alperton Community School in Brent, northwest London. Andria's students are among the most disadvantaged children in the UK.

Her focus on how art allows kids to express themselves, tell their stories and build their confidence has demonstrated what an effect art can have on the kid's wellbeing and studies. At Alperton 85% of kids speak English as a second language but art is universal and all of them even if they don't have the words, can express themselves in this way.

Zafirakou won the award not only because of her passion and dedication to her field, but also because of the enormous effort she puts into creating an inclusive and cohesive classroom.

She explains that, “with art it’s not about the end product, it’s the process, the journey, it’s the skills and knowledge children learn on the way to get to that final outcome. From that, they are able to identify who they are, what excites them, what triggers them and they can make their own mark in school and in society.”

But it’s not just inclusivity that art fosters, it also helps children develop the skills they need in order to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. But governments and education leaders seem to be chasing PISA (Programme for International Assessment) scores and, in the UK and some other countries favour rote learning of maths, creativity seems to scarily have taken a back seat.

“Some countries and leaders still don’t understand the importance of the creative arts and it’s really worrying,” Zafirakou says. “It’s a very exciting time – what will the next generation be able to achieve with new technology? But it also brings lots of problems with it. We need children to be the problem-solving generation, and unless we teach them problem-solving skills, which come from the creative subjects, it won’t happen.”

You can read more about Andria Zafirakou, the prize money and the message which we hope will trickle into more schools at the World Economic Forum website here.

We'd like to add another title to Andria's roster and make her the recipient of our LCB Creativity Award. In the spirit of Su Pollard and Dominique Ansel before her, this is the third individual that we feel like punches creativity into the public sphere, bringing more fun and goodness into the world. Thank you Andria. 

And below an example of the diverse work from the students at Alperton School. 

Artwork from Alperton Community School in Brent, northwest London are among the most disadvantaged children in the UK.

If you love your child's teacher, send them this link to apply for the next Global Teacher Prize.


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