Kazuya Takahashi: Global Teacher Prize 2016 – Top 10 Finalist

“I am convinced that a great teacher is a catalyst for transforming a school’s culture.”

Torn between whether to teach or undertake a PhD, Kazuya eventually studied in the US for a postgraduate qualification in learning science before returning to Japan. Using what he had learned along with LEGO-based instruction, he developed a programme to harness students’ creativity and, with help from the Japan Space Elevator Association and JAXA, organised the first space elevator competition for high school students.

Kazaya believes there should be no distinction between learning that takes place inside and outside of school. He encourages his students to be creative and independent and is pleased that so many of them have made positive choices following graduation, often opting to continue with their studies in a country where it is common to follow a more conventional career route. Academic performances at his school have improved as a result of his innovative and inclusive approach; he holds monthly workshops for his colleagues to share best practice

Kazuya encourages responsible learning and global citizenship. He organises opportunities for his students to volunteer abroad – at a children’s orphanage in Thailand, for example – and has developed a programme which enables students to visit Indonesia to help a social entrepreneur confront local issues. A project by his students concerning bullying and discrimination was covered by the Recruit magazine, Career Guidance.

  • Encourages students to be creative and independent in a culture where it is common to follow a ready-made career path
  • Uses LEGO-based instruction to harness students’ creativity
  • Helped to organise the first space elevator competition for high school student
  • Encourages global citizenship, offering voluntary opportunities in different countries

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