Hafiz Printer: Learning comes to life via simulations, games and healthy

Year: 2018 – Province: Ontario

Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Hafiz Printer

Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board Canada
49 Wynford Drive
Toronto, ON M3C 1K1

School telephone: 416-646-6965
School website: n/a


Subjects and grades taught: History, Religions, Socials, grades 10–12

Hafiz Printer is revered by all the students at the multiple schools he teaches at for his unique ability to create long-lasting relationships with them. Every year, administrators receive numerous letters, emails and phone calls from parents (and students) requesting Mr. Printer be their child's teacher.

Teaching approach

Hafiz fosters a safe environment in which students can engage in healthy debate, learn from each other's perspectives and take healthy risks by way of sharing their opinions, fears, goals and hopes for the future.

In the Classroom

  • Encourages students to use their phones in class to access, as he says, "the collective knowledge and wisdom of mankind," including unfamiliar words in class readings and information on topics of study
  • Helps students overcome test anxiety by using apps that give immediate feedback and reward students with points for correct answers and getting several right in a row
  • Turns his classroom into a running simulation (such as the desert or a hospital) to bring history to life; has students use primary and secondary sources to solve a historical mystery in an escape room-style activity
  • Introduces Design Thinking to help students make sense of the world: instead of trying to just solve a problem such as water scarcity, they ask how people affected would address it, develop and test creative solutions, and then get feedback (from an international development expert, for example)

Outstanding achievements

  • Organized a TED-style student conference at the school: students (who normally are not interested in public speaking) delivered talks that conveyed complex curriculum content in a student-friendly manner to an audience of more than 500 people
  • Creates board games to help put students in the mind of historical figures: one involving various family dynasties battling for the same land sees students having to make strategic decisions and learning about overarching themes in history
  • Leads numerous innovative field trips—to various places of worship and a documentary making workshop, and on an immigrant walking tour of Toronto—to support development of cultural awareness and integrate content from across the curriculum

Rave reviews

"[Mr. Printer] really cares for his students and wants to see them succeed. He isn't someone who hands students work and then sits back and does nothing. He gets really engaged in his work and that in turn really helps the students get engaged in their learning as well."

Former student