BEATA KULL , CEO OF THE LÄRARGALAN FOUNDATION
“Many teachers never receive the attention and recognition they deserve”
The concept and basic structure of Lärargalan came about due to the lack of attention paid to teachers, the most important people in the world. The Lärargalan awards provide students in Sweden a unique channel to show everyone what aspects of teaching they really appreciate. The reflections of students and teachers form recipes for success on how to create good learning.
TEACHERS’ CONTRIBUTIONS TO SOCIETY TAKE CENTRE STAGE
Lärargalan Foundation has been presenting annual awards to the best teachers in Sweden since 2016. Initiator Beata Kull is aiming to reinforce the role of the profession by shining a light on teachers from all over Sweden. Lärargalan is now an important activity and platform for recognising the efforts of talented teachers, supporting their work and passing on their expertise to other teachers in the profession.
Founder Beata Kull recognised the importance of good teachers at an early stage. Kull discovered interests, learned new things and built up self-confidence in the classroom. But the Lärargalan concept first occurred to her when she visited the US when she was 18. This was where she encountered a culture that celebrated teachers’ efforts; Sweden had absolutely nothing like it at the time.
“I was a shy little girl, but my ambitious and talented teachers made sure I eventually was brave enough to do my own thing. But I felt many teachers never received the attention and recognition they deserved. So that’s why I was pleasantly surprised by the American view of the teaching profession, which went on highlighting and celebrating the role of teachers in society. That was when I decided this approach should be reinforced in Sweden – and that was the starting point for what happens now.”
The annual Lärargalan awards showcase the important work that all teachers in the country do. What makes the Lärargalan awards unique is the fact that students are involved in influencing and deciding which teachers should win. Giving students the opportunity to nominate their own teachers provides the school system and everybody else with an insight into the characteristics and qualities of teachers. This creates role models in the profession, and society can draw inspiration from them.
“It’s brilliant to see the commitment from students in Sweden. We received 700 nominations back in 2016, but now nearly 40,000 students are choosing to nominate their teachers for the Lärargalan awards. The ever-increasing number of nominations is an indicator of how much teachers mean to their students. The Lärargalan awards create a brand-building platform for the profession by presenting awards to the best teachers in Sweden. The teaching profession is complex. This profession has the greatest understanding of the situation, needs and abilities of each new generation. This has to be put to good use.”
DEVELOPING A SHARING PLATFORM FOR LESSONS
The foundation is working on a number of other activities besides the Lärargalan awards. Lärargalan has just launched a new platform, Masterteacher.se, which encourages expertise exchange between teachers. This platform will allow teachers to share their successful lesson plans with other teachers.
“We’ve been working on a voluntary basis at Lärargalan for the last couple of years in order to develop the platform. The reason why we’re developing the platform is that teachers’ efforts to create, interesting lessons can take a lot of time. So we wanted to make their work easier. Allowing teachers to save time, this platform will provide a way to build their own brand. We’re hoping that all teachers will join in and work together to take lessons to exciting new levels.”