media release

SFU educator recognized as unsung hero

December 21, 2011

Kieran Egan, 604.261.1533,
Carol Thorbes, PAMR, 778.782.3035,

Described by Harvard University professor Howard Gardner last February as “one of the most original big picture thinkers in education,” Simon Fraser University education professor Kieran Egan isn’t typically known as an unsung hero.

But in awarding the well-published educator a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, refers to Egan as “an unsung hero who is doing a gargantuan amount of work in terms of books, projects and other endeavors.”

Frequently ranked number one for its coverage of education, is a leading international online news source on educational, political, business and environmental issues, published at Eastern New Mexico University.

In choosing recipients of their annual Upton Sinclair award, writers seek out those who have put effort into ensuring that education issues are in the forefront. The award is named after Upton Sinclair, a 20th century American author who wrote close to 100 books in many genres. It honours education authors and professionals in other disciplines who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure children globally are given the best opportunities to succeed.

The Upton Award lauds Egan for pioneering projects aimed at giving children the best education possible, such as Learning in Depth, Imaginative Education Research Group, Whole School Projects and Dividing the School in Two.

These projects are based on Egan’s internationally celebrated theory that learning is optimized when teaching strategies and subject matter engage children’s imagination and thereby ensure better memorization. Egan theorizes this happens because imagination makes knowledge more meaningful.

Like Sinclair, whom writers describe as an unsung hero too, Egan has written a plethora of books that are changing how children are educated and have won him international accolades. Last February, Egan’s book The Future of Education: Reimagining Our Schools from the Ground Up (University Press, 2008) won him a 2011 Outstanding Book Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Egan is among 10 recipients of the 2011 Upton Sinclair award.

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