The nurture teacher: characteristics, challenges and training


  • Corinne Syrnyk

Address for correspondence:

 Dr Corinne Syrnyk

 Assistant Professor, Psychology

 St Mary's University College

 14500 Bannister Road

 Calgary, Alberta

 T2X 1Z4




The nurture approach is a form of educational intervention for children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD). Utilising a unique example of a state-run, special ‘nurturing’ primary school, Corinne Syrnyk, of St Mary's University College, Calgary, presents a case study of the experience of being a ‘nurture teacher’ in this distinctive environment. Findings suggest that nurture teachers value their role and are fulfilled by the challenge it presents. Nurture teachers tended to define their role according to personal qualities and described experiential learning as tantamount to the training process. This study illustrates the holistic approach adopted by nurture teachers and sheds light on the distinguishing features and experiences of nurture teachers. Implications for best practice concerning the support and training of existing and potential nurture teachers are discussed.