In Memory of Professor John G Geake (1948 – 2011)
Professor of Education at Westminster Institute of Education, 2000 – 2008
He contributed to the teaching on the undergraduate, post-graduate and higher degree courses in Education as well as leading the doctoral programme at the Westminster Institute.
While in Oxford he conducted neuroscientific research into high intelligence and creativity at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain, Department of Clinical Neurology, John Radcliffe Hospital. He co-founded the Oxford Cognitive Neuroscience-Education Forum, and was adviser to the House of Lords All Party Group on the Future of Science & ICT Research for Education.
John Geake received an Honours degree in Physics from the University of NSW, where he was President of the Students’ Union, an A.Mus.A. from the Australian Music Examinations Board with the flute, a Diploma of Education, a Master’s degree (with First-Class Honours) in Education, and a science PhD.
John’s passion for education led him from university to teach at the Sydney International Independent School, then on to Currumbena, an independent progressive school at Lane Cove. He joined the hundreds of young dreamers who went to the Nimbin Aquarius Festival in 1973 and was the first of the original communards to relocate from Sydney, firstly building a communal space, then his own house. Turning his attention to the wider community, John teamed up with teacher Dorothy Smith to open the Nimbin Community School, where he taught maths and science.
In the early 1980s John exchanged the hippy mantle for more academic robes and left Nimbin to pursue his own studies, learning to play the flute to concert standard in just two years while gaining further degrees in science, mathematics and education. By the late 1980s John was the Conservatorium director at Lismore and a college lecturer at the University of New England (Northern Rivers). Developing an interest – among his many passions in the sciences – for the teaching of gifted children, he taught at the new Southern Cross University in Lismore, and at the University of Melbourne, where he was a tenured Senior Lecturer. In 2002 he received an Eminent Gifted Educator award from the Australian Association for the Gifted and Talented. Professor Geake published more than 60 articles, book chapters and books on a wide range of educational issues, in addition to being a popular keynote speaker at international conferences. His latest publication was his book The Brain at School, while Explorations in mind: A collection of articles by John Geake, edited by Wilma Vialle, has been published posthumously.
John was Professor of Education – Learning and Teaching, in the University of New England’s Faculty of The Professions, when he died, aged 62, on the 8th of September, 2011. He has been described as “one of the very few absolute best in his field, who was held in the highest respect because of his wisdom”. He is survived by his wife Ann, his sister Helen, children Sally and Jonah, stepchildren Paul and Hollie, and grandchildren Tom and Sophie.