Stephen Khan (Date of Birth: 12th June 1942)
Trinidad and Tobago Icons Vol 2
Stephen Khan has been a role model and mentor for students in Winnipeg, Canada for over 31 years. He taught advanced problem-solving techniques and demonstrated how mathematics is linked to other areas like physics, chemistry, and general science. More than two-thirds of his Grade 12 students went on to pursue mathematics, engineering or computer science at university.
Born on 12th June, 1942 in San Fernando, Trinidad, Khan attended Mon Repos R.C. School and Presentation College. He was strongly influenced by his Form Six teachers at Presentation College, who inspired him to pursue his love of photography and music. After teaching science for one year at his alma mater, he moved to Canada where he graduated from the University of Manitoba with degrees in mathematics and physics in 1966, and in education in 1970.
As a mathematics and physics teacher, Stephen Khan made a significant contribution to the field of applied mathematics. His teaching style incorporated hands-on experiments, such as building amplifiers and guitars, which were based on his personal experiences. He allowed his students to explore their interests by incorporating topics such as sports, electronic devices and building rockets into his coursework.
Khan served as a member of the consortium that revised the mathematics curricula for the Western Provinces and the Territories in Canada, and was Chairperson of the Manitoba Applied Mathematics Curriculum Development Committee. He has co-authored three applied mathematics student and resource texts, and conducted hundreds of workshops to train teachers in the use of technology in teaching mathematics. He is also credited for his work in the design of an online web version of an applied mathematics course, and for collaborating in the development and implementation of one of the first computerised administrative and reporting systems for a Canadian high school.
Interestingly, mathematics is not the only subject to which Khan applied his energies and creativity in academia. In 1995, this dynamic and enthusiastic educator created a new programme called Media Applications. This innovative course taught students the skills necessary to produce a magazine. It involved researching, interviewing, writing, marketing, as well as learning photography and design skills using several computer programmes.
A man of many talents, Khan also expressed his two lifelong passions as a photographer and a guitarist through the clubs and musical soirees that he organised for his students. He was known for his sense of humour and the respect he showed to his students. His success as a teacher resulted in his nomination for Teacher of the Year on five occasions. In 1995, he was the recipient of the highly coveted Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in Science, Technology, and Mathematics in the province of Manitoba. In 1999, he received the Murray McPherson Award for his contribution to the development of mathematics education in the Manitoba schools. In 1991, he was selected to be an Associate Member of the National Institute, an arm of the non-profit educational organisation, the Canadian Centre for Creative Technology in Waterloo, Canada.
Since his retirement from teaching in 1997, Khan has operated an innovative and successful business in photography using digital and computerised equipment. A professional musician for over 30 years, he finally put aside his guitar to devote all his time to photography.
Stephen Khan uses a quote by Albert Einstein to advise students that: “logic will get you from A to B; imagination will take you everywhere.”