A different style of teaching
Audrey Taylor-Akwenye is the Director and Founder of the Gardner Academy a private school which offers an academic journey for children by combining modern teaching techniques in a stimulating environment, to ensure the individual success of every child.
A teacher by profession, Taylor-Akwenye opened Gardner Academy because she felt Namibian families needed more variety in choice for learning environments for their children. “We are constantly pushing ourselves to offer more unique and special academic experiences to our student without placing high financial strain on the parents,” she explained.
She has experienced poverty and she knows first hand how difficult it is for individuals to break free of the poverty cycle.
“This is why I believe a high quality education is the best tool a society can use to eradicate poverty and I am motivated by my belief that every child is capable of success and that the environment in which you were born does not determine your potential for success,” she said.
She feels fulfilled when she sees their philosophy and approaches take shape in their students, parents and staff. Taylor-Akwenye said, “When I see a child that can express his or her opinion a link it to facts or materials they have learned in class, I know that child is better equipped to handle the demands of his or her future adult career”.
She explained that the best part about her work is when they develop teachers who understand and believe in the approaches to education and learning that they have at the Academy. “It takes a lot of training and passion for our teachers to rethink about how they interact with the students and it fulfils me to see them appreciate more deeply the learning journey each child is on and when they better understand their role in that journey,” she said.
Taylor-Akwenye said, even though they are progressing well at the Academy one of the main challenges they face is the staff complement.
“Our structure is different than most schools in Namibia and it takes a lot of training and support for new teachers to fully understand our approach and philosophy, therefore finding the right staff is always a challenge,” she added.
In the future, Taylor-Akwenye said the sky is the limit and she forsees a bright for Gardner Academy. “We plan to graduate our first matrics by 2026. We are not going to stop at primary education but will see our students all the way to matriculation, we also hope to expand to other regions in Namibia”.
The Gardner Academy will be hosting a two day workshop from 26-27 May 2016, at the Village Opera House, designed to give inspiration to passionate and dedicated Namibian teachers. The aim of the workshop is to inspire teachers and give them tools to grow 21st century adults.