Community educator recognised for inspirational teaching

Gail Harrison and Paul Goldsmith

Whanganui Learning Centre Trust manager and community educator, Gail Harrison has received a national Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award (TTEA) for her sustained contribution to learners, communities and Aotearoa New Zealand. The Awards were presented at a celebration dinner at Parliament.

Gail has been an educator and tireless advocate for inter-generational change for over three decades. She is recognised as an inspirational leader and a fine exponent of participatory learning and strength-based approaches to learning and teaching.

As lead educator and manager at the Whanganui Learning Centre Trust, Gail has had responsibility for up to 500 learners a year, of whom approximately 80% are indigenous students or students of other ethnicities. Her primary focus has been addressing inequality of education provision for indigenous and low income groups, and her success in helping people transition towards a life of positive and transformational change has become legendary.

Adult and Community Education (ACE) Aotearoa Director, Colin McGregor says Gail has made a huge contribution to community education in Aotearoa. She was Educator of the Year at the 2016 ACE Aotearoa Annual Awards and has shared her innovative practice at a number of ACE Conferences.

Colleagues have commented that Gail “gives students ownership of their learning processes and production,” while students have described leaving Whanganui Learning Centre programmes with heads held high, grasping hold of future goals and dreams.

This is the sixteenth year of the national Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards (TTEA). They are administered by Ako Aotearoa – the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, and celebrate Aotearoa’s finest tertiary teachers. The Awards are considered the pinnacle in recognition of tertiary teaching and learning. They provide opportunities for the winners to share their good teaching practice across Aotearoa and around the world while contributing significantly to their professional development and career opportunities.

Click here to found out more about Gail Harrison.