Head of Department at the Bilingual Montessori School of Lund, Sweden, and Overseas Director of the International Society for the Advancement of STEAM, Canadian-born History, Geography and Technology teacher Philippe Longchamps has had worldwide exposure of his teaching methods through speaking at numerous conferences, talks and seminars from Portugal to South Korea, Canada and the Nobel Prize Museum in Stockholm. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Southern Sweden acclaimed him Sweden’s Best Teacher 2020.
Drawing on influences and educational techniques from as far afield as South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong, Philippe encourages students to develop their own way of thinking and to challenge their ideas about the world around them. His interdisciplinary teaching approach sees science, technology, art, mathematics and engineering interact, sparking great curiosity and enthusiastic classroom participation. It adds up to an innovative and dynamic way of working that creates meaningful teaching to enhance each student's individual ability.
Project-based workshops help his students learn to innovate and be stimulated to come up with solutions for real-life problems as well as experientially learning why and how past inventions such as the Greek ballista, catapult, odometer or Archimedes’ screw came into being by actually building replicas of them collaboratively to highlight the connections between the evolution of technology and history.
He uses teamwork to embed a sense of global citizenship and the projects and competitions he and his students take part in are often concerned with tackling real-world problems such as energy and water shortages. Helping his students appreciate these global issues inspires and emboldens them to become active promoters for a more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable world. He has counselled students to help them deal with any personal problems (for instance Sweden’s long winters and dark nights with their prolonged inactivity and indoor confinement are known for triggering higher than usual depression rates and suicide attempts) and instigated training and career development for fellow teachers, as well as advocating for the cause of innovative and inclusive education internationally.
This invention and investment in education has paid off. Since he joined his school they have achieved the best academic results, with top gender-equity, for the whole of Sweden for their 16-year-olds – both in grades and their annual national tests. Philippe is especially proud of seeing his students’ multiple wins at national and international level in various competitions including the International Mathematics and Science Creativity Competition (IMSCC) in South Korea, 4DFrame-Mechatronics, Enlightening Imagination, Spänningssökarna, the International Language Competition in three of the languages spoken at the school and the European Day of Languages Competition.
Briefly hospitalised himself with COVID-19, but not prevented for long from continuing teaching online, Philippe hopes alongside other progressive teachers that we will all be able to look back on the coronavirus crisis as a launchpad, from which new and much more sustainable, integrative and active teaching took off and prevailed globally.