21 February 2011

Meet the teacher: Xavier Zylstra

Renée Leeuwner
Xavier with a group of young biologists

Xavier Zylstra is a senior educator at the Environmental Education Centre and calls the Upper Discovery Centre his second home.

Born and bred in Cape Town, Xavier received his bachelor of science and higher diploma in education, concentrating on natural sciences, from the University of Cape Town. He has taught high school biology at several prominent Cape Town schools, such as Rondebosch Boys’ High School and Reddam House in Constantia, and joined the staff at the Two Oceans Aquarium in April 2009.

Xavier is a keen outdoors man, mountain biking and surfing in his spare time. This connection with nature is obvious in his lessons, and what he most enjoys about teaching at the Aquarium is, he says, “promoting environmental awareness”.

His two favourite lessons are those on underwater wonders and sharks. He feels that the underwater wonders lesson is the best mix of exciting information and multisensory learning, well suited to groups that do not have prior knowledge of marine animals and the ocean.

Besides teaching, Xavier has many other responsibilities, such as overseeing our job shadowing and community service programmes as well as looking after all of our animals in the two Discovery Centres.

He also organises and runs the Young Biologist Course, which takes place during the September school holidays.

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