April 20, 2004
Teachers – the best shall win prizes

I think that giving prizes to great teachers is a great idea.

Who was the best maths teacher in Britain, last year? Who was the best science teacher in Britain, last year? Is there any award ceremony which tries to find out? I seem to recall some kind of televised (in Britain) event at which teachers were given prizes and celebs took it in turns to recall their favourite teachers, but alas I missed it for some reason. Can anyone fill us (me) in on that?

We'll know when this process has worked. The great teachers will be celebs.

Oddly enough it was this prize, which has had an amazing effect (on space flight), which got me googling for teaching prizes.

A recent Glenn Reynolds TCS article about this X-Prize, and about prizes generally, ends thus:

NASA wonders too, and is establishing its own prize system called Centennial Challenges. At the moment the program is new and relatively small, but I hope that we'll see other government agencies – and private philanthropists – consider the prize approach. It's not a panacea, of course, but it's a way of bringing many minds to bear on a problem, and trying out many different approaches in parallel. I suspect that many of the 21st Century's problems will benefit from this sort of approach, and I hope that the X-Prize example will break new ground, not only in terms of spaceflight, but in terms of all sorts of other problems.

Why shouldn't that sort of thinking apply to teaching?

teachaward.jpgThis picture here is captioned as follows:

20 November 2001
Mrs Susan Burr from the Kyle Academy in Scotland wins the 'Most Inspiring TEACH SPACE 2001 Award'.

Well done TeachSPACE. I picked this picture simply because it looked nice, and illustrated the principle, of turning little known good teachers into slightly better known good teachers. It was pure coincidence that once again the space exploration angle asserted itself.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 03:49 PM
Category: MathsScience