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Mon 16 Mar 2015 11:09 AM

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US teacher wins $1m 'Nobel Prize for teaching'

Bill Clinton presents award to first recipient of the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize

US teacher wins $1m 'Nobel Prize for teaching'

A US teacher who founded her own school to develop and disseminate effective classroom practices was named as the first ever winner of the $1 million Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize.

Nancie Atwell, a teacher at The Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb, Maine, US, was named as the first winner of what has been widely referred to as the Nobel Prize for teaching and was set up to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.

In 1990, Nancie Atwell founded the  non-profit demonstration school create for the purpose of developing and disseminating effective classroom practices.

The faculty conducts seminars, publishes professional books and articles, and invites teachers from across the US and other countries to spend a week at the school to experience its methods first-hand.

A teacher since 1973, Atwell teaches English as a writing-reading workshop. In her workshop, students choose the subjects they write about and the books they read: an average of 20 pieces of publishable writing and 40 books each year. Her students experience a volume of practice that leads to engagement, stamina, and skill.

Atwell herself has written nine books, edited five collections, and delivered hundreds of keynote addresses and workshops about her teaching.

She was presented the prize at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) 2015 in Dubai, by Sheikh Mohammed, Ruler of Dubai, former US president and honorary chairman of the Varkey Foundation Bill Clinton and Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, in front of dignitaries, education ministers, international education experts and global business leaders.

Atwell was chosen from ten finalists by a global academy made up of prominent individuals including academy award winning actor Kevin Spacey; Tariq Al Gurg, chief executive officer, Dubai Cares; social activist Geoffrey Canada; entrepreneur Baroness Martha Lane Fox; Carina Wong, deputy director College Ready, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Wendy Kopp, CEO Teach for All; Brett Wigdortz, Founder and CEO of Teach First; Grammy award winning musician Esperanza Spalding and Jiang Xueqin, deputy principal, Tsinghua International School China.

The top ten finalists were narrowed down from the top 50 shortlisted candidates, which were chosen from over 5,000 nominations and 1,300 final applications from 127 countries including the US, UK, Italy, Kenya, Uganda, India, Afghanistan, Australia, Argentina Mexico and Jordan, amongst others.

The top ten finalists:

• Azizullah Royesh, Marefat High School, Kabul, Afghanistan

• Kiran Bir Sethi, The Riverside School, Ahmedabad, India

• Guy Etienne, College Catts Pressoir, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

• Jacqueline Jumbe-Kahura, Bofa Primary school, Kilifi, Kenya

• Nancie Atwell, The Center for Teaching and Learning, Edgecomb, Maine, USA

• Naomi Volain, Springfield Central High School, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA

• Phalla Neang, Phnom Penh Thmey, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

• Madenjit Singh, GDI - SOLS 247 School (in Cambodia), Malaysia

• Richard Spencer, Middlesbrough College, Middlesbrough, United Kingdom

• Stephen Ritz, Public School 55, Bronx, New York, USA

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SELWIN ILANGOVAN 5 years ago

Very nice.. Teachers are the best Characters in educating the Society.. They should be honored specifically in any field of promotion..

It is always good.. to encourage them .. They are the Ladders of the Society.. they bring the Light into the Society.. they remove the Darkness in the Society..

Our good wishes to all teachers and special wishes to the Nobel Prize winner.. Nancie Atwell, a teacher at The Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb, Maine, US, was named as the first winner of what has been widely referred to as the Nobel Prize for teaching and was set up to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.. and God Bless all Teachers.. God Bless Dubai and U.A.E. Regards.. Selwin Ilangovan