“Preparing children to be global citizens is very much a case of influencing their attitude to life and the world around them.”–Richard Johnson
On the 17th of February, Stephen Hawking announced the Top 10 Global Teacher Prize finalists. The ten finalists are truly incredible and inspiring. They are a diverse group of people representing 5 continents, 9 countries, a wide range of subjects and teaching in diverse settings. In the build up to the event and announcement of the winner, in Dubai on the 13th of March, we will be featuring each of our top 10 teachers on their own special day.
Today we feature Richard Johnson
Transforming STEM teaching in Australia
Step into Richard Johnson’s STEM lab at at Rostrata Primary in Perth, Western Australian and it’s like entering a wonderland. One group of children is working with robots while another explores augmented reality. Tropical fish swim around the aquarium, a 3D printer is busy producing the children’s designs for a holographic projector while everything is being filmed for Richard’s latest videos. Everyone’s busy, everyone’s hand-on and everyone’s excited.
It’s a far cry from Richard’s own schooling. Science was low on the list of priorities and although he was fascinated by scientific experiments, he wasn’t allowed to take the exams. It was how own determination that gained him the necessary qualifications to become a teacher.
He started as a general teacher but noticed that his science lessons seemed to engage the children most. He resolved to explore teaching the subject in new ways and his headteacher backed him. Together they set up the first Australian school science laboratory specifically designed for young children.
Richard has been tireless in his efforts to secure the best equipment and provide inspiration for his pupils. Crowd funding platforms help him secure some of the most desirable STEM equipment in the world. He also invites inspirational people to meet the students including local Nobel Laureate, Dr Robin Warren.
His is proving inspirational himself. Richard’s website links important innovations developed for children by other teachers around the globe and has received 320.000 page views. He has been honoured to receive Australia’s most prestigious teaching award, the Prime Ministers Prize for Science Teaching.
“Preparing children to be global citizens is very much a case of influencing their attitude to lie and the world around them”, says Richard. At Rostrata Primary, the world around them is certainly a very exciting place.