Join me in Amsterdam

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I will be presenting at the Make Shift Happen conference in Amsterdam on the 28th November this year. Other speakers include Daisy Christodoulou, Katherine Birbalsingh and E. D. Hirsch Jr. Which is pretty cool.

I might see you there.

The event is being run by Academica Business College and there is a link here to their website.


10 thoughts on “Join me in Amsterdam

  1. Excuse me! This is all Dutch to me! What shift are you talking about? From direct instruction (explicit) to constructivism (discovery, etc)? Or back again from constructivism to knowledge and skills?

    Given the lineup of speakers so far, I suspect it’s the latter. Nonetheless, would really appreciate knowing what the real intent of this event is. Thanks for any descriptions in English. (Not going, just interested.)

    And, given the lineup it doesn’t look like there’ll be much attention to the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) onslaught being imposed on school systems in the Western world. You know — the collaboration, empathy, self-esteem, creativity, and other time-robbing “soft skills”. How will this illustrious powerhouse of presenters deal with this latest progressive expansion of social engineering?

    Or, is there some altogether different shift being proposed?

  2. Wow given this lineup of speakers I would just love love love to be there. Tunya has asked same questions that I am curious about as well. I did take a look at the website yesterday on twitter, but I wasn’t able to figure out what it’s about. If you could please summarize, very briefly what the philosophy is behind this convention it would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

    1. Last year’s MSH17 line-up: Stellan Ohlsson (cutting edge cognitive psychology in the information traditio [Allen Newell & Herbert A. Smon]); Anders K. Ericsson, of 2016 ‘Peak‘ fame (expertise, deliberate practice as the source of talent); Yana Weinstein (Learning Scientists‘); and teachers David Didau (‘What if everything you knew about education was wrong?’) and Lucy Crehan (‘Clever Lands’).
      Characteristics: giving science its due (not a platform for pseudoscience or eduquacks); teacher voice (opposite 18th and 19th century inspired educational ideologies).

      Making Shift Happens itself underwent a major shift from 2015 to 2016, from social-constructivism to science-informed.

      1. I think the shift is also motivated by the ‘evidence informed’ movement having become more popular, and the insight that some money is to be made there, with people loving a line-up like this. Nothing wrong with that, but it is a form of opportunism.

  3. @ Peter. Opportunism? That’s too easy a judgment. The educational climate in the Netherlands is not very different from that in most other Western countries: it is dominated by ideologies, quackery, OECD/PISA imperialism. In other words: Dutch politicians, ed. institutions, ed. organizations are still in a state of denial regarding scientific evidence. A major attempt at ‘progressivist’ reform ‘Education 2032’ [] is underway. Opposition to this educational complex is a not a business opportunity at all; it is a courageous attempt to offer evidence-informed alternatives to the educational establishment’s snake oils.
    Info, for example:

    1. I guess it’s mainly ‘business college’ I dislike. Quick Google news search did not really ‘comfort’ me. No reason to think ‘courageous attempt’ but I’ll have a better look.

    2. Yes, I see this shift as a very positive move in education. It is more than a paradigm shift, but equivalent to a “correction” when things go astray. Embracing concrete evidence to advance education practice is so welcome. Obviously! No other field of human enterprise has so consistently defied evidence and research, as has the education field. Not engineering, medicine, etc.

      After a quick visit to the link provided — the echo chamber of progressivist ideas — I am now reading it more fully. It is comprehensive and remarkable. Will respond again. Great background reading for both presenters and attendees to help see the issues. Looking forward, in due course, to hearing more about the building blocks to positive change

      1. My anxiety grows with each attempt to get education on track to professional rigor. The capture of the field by non-scientific belief mindsets is troubling and in any other field (eg – medicine, engineering, chemistry) would be malpractice. Thus, this conference in Amsterdam, with the philosophy of embracing evidence-based practice, is so encouraging. Yesterday, I got bushwhacked by Martin Robinson’s post
        on art being used for political purposes in the UK and wrote this comment:

        “The hijacking of art education for political purposes was highlighted 6 years ago.

        Aristos is an online review of the arts and its April 2010 issue had an article entitled “The Hijacking of Art Education” by Michelle Marder Kamhi. This is the opening statement:

        “Parents and others who think that children are mainly learning about painting and drawing in today’s art classrooms should consider this: a movement has for some time been afoot to hijack art education for purposes of often radical political indoctrination”.

        After attending a convention of the National Art Education Association (US) she wrote her analysis. She describes some of the left professors who are forefront in the movement to use art education as a vehicle for social justice — a move linked to critical theory and critical pedagogy. This is not to be confused with critical thinking, she says, whose aim is to develop students’ powers of reasoning.

        An abbreviated form of the article was published in the Wall Street Journal, with strong responses, mainly in support of the author’s views.

        A follow-up Forum in Aristos months later provided a reasonable balance of opinions from teachers and professors in the field of art education. Some argued for integrity to art discipline and adherence to the understood principle that teachers should teach how to think, not what. Others saw them selves as “cultural workers” and felt that art could be used to “change the world”. (See Aristos archives.)

        The author concluded in 2010: “Though a social justice approach to art education is not yet widespread in K-12 classrooms, it would be inaccurate to suggest that it is non-existent.”

        Well, here we are now. Martin Robinson quotes from The Guardian that in the UK “in some schools, teachers are embracing . . . [the arts] . . . as a tool to teach the environment.” The children “learn the ‘compost and growing’ song and produce artwork in relation to it, too. The arts and other curriculum areas are continually connected. Teaching the children to be sustainable has nice science, humanities and responsible citizenship links.”

        This is an issue that needs broad discussion. Perhaps that august lineup (EDHirsch, DChristodoulou, GAshman, KBirbalsingh) that is to meet in Nov in Amsterdam (topic: Shift from social-constructivism to science-informed education) might touch on the issue raised here.”

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