East London teacher makes 'world’s best teacher' award top-10 shortlist

  • Shafina Vohra sat down with ITV London

A Newham based psychology teacher is in the running to win the 'world's best teacher' award.

Shafina Vohra is a teacher at the London Design and Engineering University Technical College (LDE).

She has reached the top-10 final shortlist for the eight-year-old Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize, which was set up to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.

She has been shortlisted for her experimentation with LEGO in teaching.

What began as a way to engage a fidgety Year 7 science class became an everyday tool to aid keyword recall, recreate studies in psychology, understand methodology, make links between topics, and support game-based learning. 

This led to her developing the curriculum at her school, using LEGO as a delivery tool across departments.

Over the last five years, this free programme has reached over 8000 people and over 4000 children directly through the workshops.

Shafina's students, aged 16 to 18, run these sessions for children and young children at the same time.

Shafina Vohra has developed a new form of teaching using LEGO. Credit: PA Images

She had a difficult road to becoming a teacher; a car accident in her second-to-last year of university left her with the loss of her father and multiple fractures of the spine, right femur and pelvis. 

Just eight years later Shafina had a psychology degree and two young children, but was still having surgical operations.

As she had been awarded a distinction in her undergraduate project, she was invited to teach a course at the university, and soon after began to teach psychology at a local Sixth Form college.

Shafina could be in with a chance of winning a prize of one million US dollars (£819,390) if she takes the top spot.

The winner will be announced on 8 November at an awards ceremony taking place at UNESCO's general conference in Paris.