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Market magazine special education

EDUCATION: 13 INFLUENTIAL ACTORS

The word education comes from the Latin «educare» that, in turn derives from «educere» which refers to the action of «to bring out, lead forth». In consequence, the teacher’s role is to develop the potential of the student, to broaden his horizons… In this 13th market influence index these teachers remind us of both the pleasure and the difficulties of teaching in an ever-changing world that forces them to continuously re-invent themselves to captivate their audience and accompany their students to achieve higher goals.

MAGALI WAHL

Director and Founder of Eden School

Magali Wahl is a true self-taught professional with a rich career. She began as a monitor in holiday camps in the late 1970’s, but she truly began to embrace the field of education in 1984, when she became a mother. Subsequently, in the early 2000’s, she functioned as an educational consultant for the Ness school, which lead to the creation of Eden School in 2007, and the Eden Foundation in 2009 of which she is currently the president.

Benjamin Franklin said: «All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move» I have always wanted to belong to the third category: the category of the people that criticize, analyze and act. I love building and undertaking new projects. To have an impact, to influence others is to try to find new ways of thinking, different ways to act. More specifically, in the field of education, it means to lead a team of teachers, educators, parents and students towards the pedagogical methods that are adequate for the world of today. I try to include them in this day and age that demands more and more, and is always changing.

Although I am self-taught, I think that my personality, my honesty, my integrity and my hard work have afforded me the recognition of my peers, and consequently, certain impact upon them. A few years ago I wanted to hurry things along: develop the school and put into place other structures to benefit as many children as possible. Now a day I am not in such a hurry, however, I am still impatient, as I would like to see education evolving faster.

However, Rome was not built in a day, thus, we must start by changing the parents – who are often afraid of changes – as are teachers when it comes to their practise and their view on education. This is the case at Eden School, where the teachers have changed their way of working. This is extremely beneficial for the children. They acquire strong academic skills; social skills and the possibility of growing while they put into practice their own ways of thinking. This is achieved thanks to the small amount of children in each group and by organizing the class in the form of workshops.

At Eden School, the role of the teacher is to accompany the child in his learning journey: she takes the children farther along in their learning in a kind and well- meaning manner. She works consistently together with a team of peers and is supported and well-informed thanks to regular teacher training courses. This transformation of the role of the teacher allows the students to become independent, to work in a team, to recognize their strengths and gain self-confidence.

I believe, above all, in universal values. I defend the value of respect, mutual trust, accountability,

Freedom of choice and of the spirit. These values are necessary to work and evolve together: they form an intrinsic part of Eden School.

I am fully aware of how lucky I am to have the freedom to open a private school in Switzerland. It allows us today, as it did in the past, to transition from theory to practice. However, I find that in Geneva, people are rather conservative. The world is changing at great speed, with a capital «S», so it is vital that education adapts quickly, that children are open to change in order to learn, dare and create.

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