Art teacher Olusegun Adeniyi, who teaches at Caleb British International School, Lagos, Nigeria, is not only renowned for bringing out the creative side of his fortunate students with two decades of nurturing new talent and creating stimulating art projects. With his blended classroom teaching methods he also engages them in activities that bolster skills demanded of a 21st Century workforce, improving their self-confidence and encouraging them to be lifelong learners, critical thinkers, and global citizens. To help with this global outlook, he has brought experts from around the world to his class to share their art and concepts.
He has established and coordinated a diverse set of after-school clubs to ensure students at his school have the best chances in life, including Art Club, Green School Club, Media Club and recently the Caleb STEAM Hub. He has sacrificed many hours outside official hours, spending his own money and sleepless nights to facilitate art projects and to put up exhibitions and converted empty classrooms in art studios He also volunteers at summer art and music programs outside Nigeria and brought organizations from the US to Nigeria for art activities engaging hundreds of orphans as a form of therapy, empowerment and to foster cultural understanding and tolerance. Most children in rural Nigeria don’t have access to quality art education or art teachers. Olusegun founded the “Teaching Visual Art” project to provide access to quality art education for children in these remote spots, offering free art supplies and free art lessons. He sets aside an amount from his salary every month to sustain the project and has reached a wider audience of children outside his classroom by being regularly featured with his art in TV programmes and newspapers in Nigeria.
Teacher welfare matters to him too and during the Covid-19 lockdown he volunteered with Microsoft Nigeria to provide “Productivity Tools for Remote Learning” training for about 1,350 teachers in Lagos public schools, helping 1,700 others migrate to remote learning. He has championed teacher’s awards and organized retreats for art teachers to improve their competencies. During lockdown he created the Art Educators’ Hangout platform bringing educators together virtually to discuss their works, interact and inspire one another towards advancing art education throughout Africa.
His students have recorded numerous successes on the global front, as two-time winners of the David Shepherd Award, Global Canvas Children’s Art Competition, 2020 and 2021; Winner, International Children’s Art Calendar, 2016, 17 and 2019; Winner, 2016 British Council “Your World” Video Contest (country stage: Nigeria); Winner, Commonwealth Science Class Competition, 2017, to mention just a few. He has also received many accolades for excellent work, including: Inspirational Teacher of the Year Award 2019 (Runner Up); Outstanding Staff Award 2019; and the President’s Teachers and Schools Excellence Award 2019. The global recognition and achievements have boosted his students’ confidence as they compete favourably with their peers from any part of the world, improving the value of art education, his school’s reputation and enrolment. In 2019 the school was presented with the prestigious “Outstanding School Award” by Lagos State Ministry of Education.