Today we introduce you to our multi-talented, Global Head of Humanities and Teacher Consultant, Chris Higgins! Chris has been at EP for 1.5 years and has an extensive background in Philosophy, Theology and Education. He’s helping to support teachers and students as well as continue to grow our EP Humanities content. Enjoy discovering what drives Chris, his loves and what he is most excited about.

Meet Chris

Before joining EP I was a teacher for 11 years. I began my teaching career in a small town on the West Coast of Scotland where I am originally from. As schools all over Scotland began to have their funding cut due to the Global Financial Crisis in the mid-2000s, I and many young teachers struggled to secure employment. For me, that meant doing what many others did and I sought work elsewhere. I then spent the next 3 years in Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, and China, teaching English and Humanities and travelling! I knew I eventually wanted to call Australia home and I settled here 7 years ago and worked in a large, co-educational, independent school in Melbourne, where I held positions of responsibility in both curriculum and pastoral roles.

I originally studied an undergraduate in Philosophy and Theology. I had a real passion for Philosophy, Theology and History when I was at school. They were my favourite subjects and when it came time to think about going to university, all I knew was that I wanted to study those subjects! I ended up with a Master’s in Philosophy and Theology from the University of Glasgow. During that time, I also worked part-time in youth projects for the government, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I always wondered how I could combine my two passions, so I embarked on a Post-Grad Diploma in Education at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, which is renowned for their Education department. Once I was in Australia and had a few years of teaching under my belt, I decided that I wanted to do further study. I had become very passionate about supporting all learners, so undertook a Master’s in Special Education, Inclusion and Intervention at the University of Melbourne. It helped to provide me with skills and strategies I still use to this very day.

Why EP?

Over the course of my career, and especially once I was a Head of Department, I became increasingly conscious of the role that technology and innovation played in education. I worked with my colleagues to develop multiple programs and courses at our school to foster 21st century skills, which contributed to becoming a finalist in the Australian Education Awards for Curriculum Innovation! I knew I could have a bigger impact on students across Australia, and even globally, by moving into a similar role but outside of a school. When I saw the position at EP, I jumped at the chance to become a member of the team!

A day in the life

My role at EP can be split into two! Firstly, I am a Teacher Consultant, assisting to look after a portfolio of schools predominantly around Melbourne and some regional areas of Victoria. The TC team provides professional development, pedagogical advice, and any support our schools need to facilitate their use of EP in their contexts. Secondly, I am also the Global Head of Humanities and drive the strategic vision of our Humanities content on EP and the prioritisation of projects. We are currently working on building out our Year 9 and 10 History offerings with new lessons on WWI, WWII and the Industrial Revolution. If you haven’t seen them, check them out in the Content Library!

Most excited about

The joy of showing a teacher a feature of EP or content they didn’t know existed, then seeing their enthusiasm when they discuss all the different ways it will support their students’ learning. I love seeing and knowing that what we do is making a real difference, not just to teacher workloads and practice, but ultimately improving student outcomes across the globe.

I am excited to see EP continue to grow and support students all over the world. Not only does our curriculum-aligned content keep expanding, but the features and tools we make available to teachers do as well. It’s exciting to know that all of our continued growth will help to support more teachers to deliver their teaching and learning programs as well as support student growth. I’m a firm believer that a quality education is how we support a successful future, and EP is helping to achieve this.

Magic moment

One of my favourite stories that happened recently was when I was working with a teacher who works with students who have additional support needs. She knew her school had access to EP but wasn’t too sure how she could best use it with her students. Once I showed her all the literacy, numeracy, cross-curricular resources and features of EP such as text-to-speech, immediate feedback and model answers, she was over the moon! She came back to me a few weeks later with so many stories of how it had helped individual students she worked with and how engaged many of them now were with their learning as a result of using the platform.

A big influence

Interestingly, it was a book called ‘The Easy Way to Enjoy Flying’ by Allen Carr. I had a very strong and quite debilitating fear of flying. I had once tried to go on a holiday when I was about 18 and couldn’t get on the flight. I read this book, recommended by a friend, and it completely changed the way I thought. Without it, I wouldn’t have travelled, met the people I did, worked in the places I did, and now live here in Australia. It has led me to have all the amazing and formative experiences that I have had over the last 11 years of my life.

Secret talent

I have an absolute love of cooking. I enjoy nothing more than trying new recipes. It is a regular occurrence on a Saturday for me to invite friends over for a 3-course dinner. I will spend the day cooking and trying out new recipes. I find it very therapeutic and it is my meditation in many ways. Then, I get to enjoy it all with the great company of those closest and dearest to me.

Thanks for sharing, Chris! We’re lucky to have you as part of the EP family. For more of Chris’ insights, follow him on Instagram: @ep_chris_higgins.