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teacher shortlisted for Million Dollar Global Teachers Award | Education

A British physical education teacher who pioneered new ways of teaching sports to visually impaired children at a special school in Liverpool has been shortlisted for this year’s prestigious global teachers’ award.

David Swanston, teacher at St Vincent’s School, is among the last 10 nominations and nominations out of 8,000 for this year’s $ 1million (£ 730,000) prize, which aims to showcase the work that teachers do to prepare young people for their future. It is funded by the Varkey Foundation and supported by Unesco.

He is joined by Elliott Lancaster, a 24-year-old graduate student at Keele University, who is shortlisted for the World’s First Student Award, a sister award that recognizes outstanding achievement in learning and extracurricular activities. , with a prize of $ 100,000.

Swanston has been teaching visually impaired children for over a decade at St Vincent’s, which is a special school for visually impaired children. In 2020, he was appointed deputy director.

Swanston specializes in physical education but teaches a range of subjects including geography and art. He has developed techniques that allow students with visual impairments to participate in sports, as they accumulate on average less than half of the recommended 60 minutes of moderate daily activity. Several of his students have become Paralympians.

His work has included modeling techniques and examples to help blind students understand how sports fields are laid out. He is developing a version of rugby specifically for blind children, which uses textures and electronics to model the game and create prototype balls.

If he wins the World Teachers’ Award, Swanston plans to use the funds to support physical activity, horticulture and wellness programs at neighboring Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, as well as to develop hockey. on inclusive and blind ice across the UK. He will also use the funds to support his charity, Sightbox, which aims to improve access to adapted sport for visually impaired students in developing countries.

Lancaster is a postgraduate student at Keele University and a sustainability activist. In 2016, he created a social enterprise app in Newcastle-under-Lyme called Utter Rubbish, which educates local residents about recycling policies in their area. It is now planned to deploy the service in other municipalities. It has also set up a network of sustainability volunteers, who lobby for organizations to become carbon neutral.

In his academic work, Elliott published two award-winning studies on interdisciplinary learning and the impact of the coronavirus on blended learning.

Sunny Varkey, the founder of the Varkey Foundation, said the appointments of Swanston and Lancaster “underscore the importance of education in meeting the great challenges ahead. from climate change to growing inequalities to global pandemics ”.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi congratulated Swanston and Lancaster on their appointments. He said after a recent meeting with Lancaster he had been “so impressed with his passion and commitment to issues such as sustainability”, and he praised Swanston for his “innovation” and “inspiring work”.

The winners of the two prizes will be announced on November 10 during a virtual ceremony organized at Unesco headquarters in Paris.

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