Marjorie Brown has been named one of the 50 best teachers in the world. The teacher and head of the History Department at Roedean School in Johannesburg has been shortlisted for the 2018 Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize - the most prestigious accolade for teachers worldwide.
The winner will be announced in March 2018, and the prize is a whopping $1 million (around R13 million).
This year, more than 30 000 educators from 173 countries were nominated for the prize. The 50 shortlisted teachers are drawn from a diverse and talented global pool. The Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize acknowledges the impact of teachers on their students as well as on the communities in which they teacch.
“We have been privileged to see the wide ranging educational interests of Marj Brown. Firstly as a teacher of exceptional ability, and also as a citizen activist committed to improving the educational opportunities of children far beyond those sitting in her class. She has an inspiring work ethic and is deeply committed to both local, school based, and national, perhaps even universal concerns,” said Murray Thomas, Executive Head at Roedean.
Marjorie is committed to tackling the literacy issues which are hampering South African pupils.
“More than 20 years into democracy, South Africa is still a country of great inequality where only eight percent of public schools have well-resourced libraries,” Marjorie says. “It’s only through the rights afforded by improved literacy levels that South Africans can - and will - work to level the playing fields in education.”
“As a history teacher, she is unsurpassed,” Murray Thomas says. “She helps students learn from, and understand the past. But she goes further, too: by developing critical insights, she helps her pupils to understand what drove people to be resistors, bystanders, collaborators and perpetrators in different situations. She supplements the classroom materials with a wide network of guest speakers she has access to, alongside diverse and stimulating media from these periods and from her own personal experience, too. Marj was recently voted on to the Executive Committee of the South African Society of History Teachers and presented a paper for the 2017 conference of the International Society of History Didactics. She has written and published journal articles on teaching History through De Bono’s Thinking Maps and recently participated in a school-based teacher training initiative and completed the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s course on Visible Thinking.”
Brown also began the international Kids Lit Quiz, an initiative which grows children into passionate readers, in South Africa. She is National Coordinator of the Quiz in which 127 schools participate.