Teachers in the US and Britain should fight back against "scripted" methods of teaching which turn them into technicians rather than practitioners, says the winner of the 'Nobel Prize for teaching', Nancy Atwell.
Atwell, who won the award last night at a star-studded ceremony in Dubai, told IBTimes that teachers should not wait to be told whether they can change their methods but should act first to improve their schools and education systems.
She won the award for her setting up of a school in Maine where students have access to more than ten thousand books and where the average number of books read per pupil is 40 per year – four times the American national average.
"It is a way of not waiting for permission and taking the lead. It is also a responsibility to share it, promote it and keep it alive," she said.
Asked if she was concerned about potential cuts to education budgets, she said: "I don't think it has to do with money, I think it has to do with teacher autonomy.
"Right now in the US the pressure is on for teachers to almost conform to a scripted form of teaching. I will look forward to sitting down with any policymaker (to discuss) what needs to happen so that teachers can be more like practitioners and less like technicians," she said.
She said she was aware that the same problem occurred in the UK, and said that the parallels between the America and Britain were "very sad".
Atwell's Centre for Teaching and Learning, a non-profit school in her home state of Maine, will now benefit from the $1m prize given out by the Global Teacher Prize, which she said she intended to spend on buying books and improving tuition.