Policeman-turned-teacher Ali Alzahrani is deeply committed to fostering his students’ creativity and helping them reach their full potential, regardless of their ethnicity or background. He has invested his own time and resources into creating a positive learning environment for his pupils, from painting the walls of his classroom to filling the school’s library with books. He installed a small device onto his blackboard which turned it into a smart board, and purchased an iPad on which teach children.
To get the best out of his students, Ali has implemented a series of innovative teaching methods. ‘Me and my Father’ is a programme that invites children’s fathers into the classroom to present lessons. ‘Class Dojo’ is a competition designed to motivate students by awarding them points for excellence and good behaviour. The Learning Leaders Program lets students lead lessons, and has been duplicated across Ali’s school. Moreover, Ali is in regular contact with his pupils’ parents, to make clear to them the importance of primary school education and adapting to children’s needs. These efforts have paid off, and for the last three years, Ali’s students have achieved a 100% success rate.
Ali is keen to pass on his love of volunteer work to his students, and demonstrate how education can bring people together. Each year, Ali and his pupils participate in the Mubaderoon project, aimed at promoting social enterprise initiatives to combat poverty and exclusion in Jordan. Ali also implemented a volunteer programme in elderly care homes, and teaches Arabic to non-native speakers. Understanding the pivotal role that teachers have played in his life, Ali takes his students to visit his former educators, in a sign of love and appreciation.
Ali frequently attends conferences, forums and seminars to hone his teaching skills, and dedicates much of his time to helping train his fellow teachers and pass on his learnings to education professionals at his school and at the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Education. Ali has received Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Education Excellence and the Abdul Samad Al-Qurashi Award.
Ali’s mission in life is to provide educational opportunities for underprivileged children in Saudi Arabia and around the world. If he wins the Global Teacher Prize, he will use part of the funds to open a school in an impoverished country. He will share the rest of the money with his fellow finalists, his students and their parents, and his own family.