Inspirational mathematics educator Dr Kevin Larkin, from the School of Education and Professional Studies, has been named 2018 Australian University Teacher of the Year.
Dr Larkin, who was announced as the winner by Universities Australia Chair, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, at a ceremony in Canberra, has more than 35 years of teaching experience. He has spent the past seven years inspiring and motivating pre-service teachers and transformed how mathematics education is taught.
He inspires preservice teachers to overcome negative perceptions of mathematics, to learn to their full potential, and begin their careers with confidence in their ability to teach mathematics.
Dr Larkin said his overarching goal was to inspire the next generation of creative, motivated and knowledgeable teachers who recognise the importance of developing numerate citizens.
“I achieve this with a deliberate blend of theory and practice, by modelling mathematics education pedagogy to create personally, socially and educationally-rich learning and teaching contexts.
“It is an incredibly powerful experience teaching a person and then sharing in the joy of them discovering new things. I have been a teacher for 37 years and I still get goose bumps when this happens – whether the students are six or 36.
“The power of good teaching lies in its ability to change people’s lives. Education is critical for everyone in our society – it gives them the skills to create a better Australia and a better world.”
He aptly sums up his teaching philosophy with an equation:
positive relationships + innovative pedagogy + purposeful evaluation + sustained scholarship = maximum learning.
Dr Larkin also received an AAUT Award for Teaching Excellence in the Social and Behavioural Sciences category. He is the fourth Griffith academic to win Australian Teacher of the Year since the awards’ inception in 1997. Previous winners are: Associate Professor Halim Rane (2015), Associate Professor Brydie-Leigh Bartleet (2014) and Professor Keithia Wilson (2007).
Griffith’s teaching and learning excellence was also recognised in the award for Programs and Teams that Enhance Learning.
The Go Health Go Griffith Program from Griffith Health implemented by Associate Professor Suzzanne Owen (Lead), Associate Professor Helen Massa, Lyn Armit (Queensland Health) and Education Queensland received an AAUT Award in this category.
The program is an innovative tripartite educational and health career partnership, building educational aspiration for high school students from diverse backgrounds, and preparing them for university and career success.