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Janni Nicol

- Steiner Waldorf education, UK
Janni Nicol is an advisor and writer on Steiner Waldorf education and creative play in the United Kingdom
HundrED
Janni Nicol is an advisor and writer on Steiner Waldorf education and creative play in the United Kingdom

What do you think the key challenges are for teachers?

I think teachers' creativity in the UK is somewhat deadened - they aren't able to be creative teachers. They are restricted in the way that they can teach and in the way they can be with children because of the curriculum that is imposed on them.

I think for Steiner teachers the challenge is continuous self-development, and how to provide an environment which is child sensitive and enabling while also promoting imagination and wonder. It is also, how to be a role model worthy of imitation by the child. That means in gesture, in speech, in action and in what they do. That's really hard - It's having high ideals for yourself.

Teachers should also be objective observers of the children in their care and should interact only when necessary to guide children's play and social interaction. They should be able to make formative and summative assessments of the children's learning and development, to be able to create an environment suitable for particular needs.

Another skill is to work together with the families, parents and carers. I think that’s quite a challenge today because parents and carers are so busy, and are so needy - often because there's so much information available. It's quite difficult to be able to narrow down the specifics on how to be with children and what their real needs are. Parenting is really difficult today, so to be able to encourage good parenting and to work together with the parents with the child at the centre is really important.

Content of the interview HundrED