Dr. Sylven Beck
Dr. Sylven Beck
Associate Professor, Curriculum and Pedagogy
School: Graduate School of Education and Human Development
Sylven Beck has made a career of influencing others. For the last 40 years, Dr. Beck has been a professor of elementary education at the George Washington University, instructing and mentoring some of the brightest aspiring teachers in the country. Her role at GW's Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD) is definitively prolific: she inspires and teaches students who then inspire and teach others, their own elementary students. And after 40 years and hundreds of students, Beck's impact extends nationwide. But her influence is not confined to the classroom. "Over the last 20 years, I've realized it's not about the content," she says. "Yes, you've got to teach these aspiring teachers how to teach children science and math and how to read. But first and foremost, they have to teach their children to be kind to one another, to take care of one another. This is the most important lesson I could leave with my students."
Beck's lessons of kindness permeate her life. A member of the GW Heritage Society, she donates to the university for the same reason she teaches: because one person can have a tremendous impact on the lives of others. Her strategy may not be typical in its approach, but it's exponential in its effect. She continues to teach from the heart and the Beck Endowment continues to provide much needed scholarship funds to deserving students. And the cycle of kindness endures.
"Everyone in this life can impact others for good," Beck says. "To what degree, is a decision entirely up to us."