Tue. Oct 22nd, 2019

Watch: William Smith awarded for his contribution to teaching [video]

william smith order of baobob teacher national orderWilliam Smith received the Order of the Baobab from President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday, 25 April, during his ceremony presenting national orders.

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William Smith received the honour for his contributions to maths and science. He appeared on the national broadcaster for years, teaching physics and chemistry in the time slot that kids were arriving home from school.

This idea is probably foreign for the generation who have grown up with the Internet in their pockets. But for the those from my generation, Smith was our YouTube and Google.

Smith is famous for his infectious enthusiasm, extravagant use of hand gestures and trademark fingers covered in ink.

While the Learning Channel was only on air during the 1990s, Smith made an advert in 2010 about the circle of child abuse in South Africa. The short video clip was filmed in the same manner as his Liberty Life Learning Channel segments.

Watch: William Smith – a basic math problem

The outpouring of gratitude and love for the teacher bears testimony to the enduring impact his work had on the education of millions of South Africans.

Smith himself credits the success his lessons enjoyed on the fact that he’s always been partial to using simple language. He explains:

“I am not a linguist which I think was an advantage. I tend to use simple language, and that is an important thing in broadcasting. A lot of people try and impress with words and the second you use a word that someone does not understand, you have lost them.”

Smith feels that often teachers can forget to put themselves in the learner’s shoes and lose their audience by moving too fast.

“I think a lot of intelligent people tend to make bad teachers because everything is obvious and it is not.”

Watch: William Smith honoured with the National Order of the Baobab


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