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The Future is Now!

Co-creating meaningful education
The 5-6th of June 2019 - Pre-conference June 4, 2019
Hogeschool de Kempel, The Netherlands

Keynote Speakers

The Youth (NED): The Future are We!
The Future are We! It is so important to give our Youth a voice at the conference.
Children and students from the regio will open with an inspiring keynote: The Future are We. Just listen!
Kenneth Gergen (USA): Co-creating Meaningfull Education for the Future
Professor Kenneth J. Gergen. is a founding member, President of the Taos Institute and Chair of the Board, and the Mustin Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College. He has served as president of two divisions of the American Psychological Association, and the Associate Editor of both the American Psychologist, and Theory and Psychology. Gergen has been a major contributor to social constructionist theory and organizational change practices. Among his major works are Realities and relationships, soundings in social construction; The Saturated Self; An invitation to social construction; An Invitation to Social Construction; and most recently, Relational being, beyond self and community. Gergen’s work has received numerous awards, including fellowships, foundation awards, and honorary degrees in both Europe and the U.S.

The pace of life continues to quicken. New ideas, innovations, movements, and challenges rapidly circle the globe. New technologies transform the landscape of cultural life. Our children and youth live in an unprecedented swirl of information, opinion, and values. The need for re-thinking education has never been more critical. Yet, our educational institutions remain largely fixed to ideas of a century ago. How can we prepare our children and youth for the future, when the future is now?
While the challenges are complex and far-reaching, the present learning festival will be focally concerned with the relational dimension of education. If relationships are central to teaching, learning, motivation, and human well-being, then relationships should figure importantly in re-charting the future. Future education must also move beyond tradition to enable future generations to work together in collaborative, productive and mutually respectful ways. If not, the global future is imperiled.
This concern with relationships is also echoed in the conference proceedings. We hope to engage a wide group of people – including educators, researchers, learners and the general public – in reconsidering current practices, and exploring the challenge of rebuilding, and in creating new ideas. Discussion should be extended to include means of supporting all players in the system- from teachers and learners through families, communities and educational policy leaders – to engage in the work of transformation. A spirit of collaboration will be invited as we explore how education might flourish in the 21st century world.
Rachel Bolstad (NZL): Whose Future?
Rachel is a Senior Researcher at the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER). She is a co-author of two books Key Competencies for the Future (NZCER, 2014) and Disciplining and drafting or 21st century learning? (NZCER, 2008). Rachel constantly strives to develop her own, and other people's thinking about how our learning and teaching systems may need to change to match the opportunities and demands of a complex and changing world. She co-developed a game called Curriculum for the Future, designed to engage diverse groups in these critical discussions. Rachel enjoys collaboration and draws inspiration and influence from game design and the creative arts. Her key interests include young people's views and experiences of schooling, environmental education/education for sustainability, school-based curriculum development and innovation, science education, education for enterprise, digital technologies, games, and game design for learning.

Whose future? Collaboratively rethinking education for worthwhile futures. 
What does it mean to be “future-focussed” in education? Who and what shapes the rhetoric about what young people will need to learn in order to lead successful and decent lives? How much input do teachers, learners, and communities have in these conversations? From a New Zealand perspective, I’ll discuss some of the opportunities and challenges for navigating “the future” in educational thinking and practice, and what I’ve learned from my efforts to support critical conversations about learning and the future with diverse groups including students, communities, teachers, researchers, and policymakers.
Monique van der Heijden (NED): Change Agents to bring Potential to Fruition
Monique van der Heijden is employed as a senior head teacher/researcher at De Kempel University of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool de Kempel) in Helmond. She has broad experience in different aspects of education, including 20 years of experience in training and supervising (future) teachers. She is (co) author of several scientific and professional publications. In the period 2014-2018 she was Academic Director of the Master in Learning and Innovation (Helmond location). In 2012, she won the NWO PhD Scholarship. In June 2017, Van der Heijden obtained her doctorate at the TU Eindhoven. Her PhD research discusses the identification of teachers as change agents in primary education.

Change Agents to bring the Potential of Pupils to Fruition.
Our society which is constantly changing requires teachers who continue to innovate, develop and reflect on how they can improve their education with the knowledge of today, in order to bring the potential of pupils to fruition. In other words, teachers are asked to use 'agency' in their work and to function as 'change agents'. Teachers who can be highly characterized as change agents exert influence on their own teaching practice (How can I improve education at class and school level?), on their own professional development (How can I improve my professional behavior?), and on the professional identity development (Who am I as a teacher and who do I want to be as a teacher?). Teachers can be identified to a greater or lesser extent as change agents on the basis of nine change agent characteristics. Four profiles can be distinguished in this respect. In order to adequately equip prospective teachers for the exercise of their future profession, it is important to prepare them during the training to become change agents. In addition, it is important to support teachers in educational practice in developing these change agent characteristics. Both personal and contextual factors affect the way teachers (are able) to act as change agents. By dialoging and collaborating with others – such as the school leader, colleagues and pupils and parents – teachers as change agents continuously redesign their education to enhance pupils’ learning!
Loek Schoenmakers (NED): Educational change is being in relation 
Loek Schoenmakers (1961), Ph.D., currently works as an educational specialist in the Netherlands, Aruba, Suriname, Slowakia, Czech republic, and Belgium. 37 years of experience within education as teacher, school leader, school advisor, trainer, teacher trainer, coach and educational specialist. Based on his working experiences in various roles and his research based on social constructionism (2011), he strongly believes that interconnectedness and the centering of the human element within educational change processes are crucial for sustainability. Studied at Nottingham University (MA, 2001) Educational Change and School Improvement; promoted at Tilburg University and Taos Institute (Ph.D., 2011) with Sustainable Educational Change is being in Relation.

Educational change is being in relation
Re humanizing educational change processes, where every voice is appreciated as important, seems to build strong and sustainable networks. Involving the whole school community or even a whole country for building better and hopeful educational futures leads towards change processes we believe in. Relational trust is the product of this working together.
Over and over again Loek experiences in his daily work as facilitor for educational change, that using the thought of social construction leads to an increase of unexpected ideas of many, which simply strengthens the change process as a whole. It is this which makes the change experience a 'we' adventure. Since 2006 Loek is associate of the Taos Institute trying to apply his insights in manu change projects in the Netherlands but also in many other countries.
Through Suriname, Loek introduces us to a successful experience, where a change process led to solutions for the many problems within the complex world of education. A successful experience that did not let him go and subsequently became the object of reflection and study in his doctoral research with the title: Sustainable Educational Change is Being in Relation. Many interesting insights emerge from the dissertation, in which the concepts of relational awareness, relational responsibility and relational reflection are crucial. 4 building blocks are also mentioned: (1) Appreciation, (2) Building Bridges, (3) Collaboration and (4) Dialoguing.
Change is human work and takes place within the social construct that is always unique and dynamic. Its the relation dimension which brings in a new sight within the approachi of change processes. From these insights, change is not feasible, planable or predictable. It is precisely the dynamic aspect that requires continuous improvisation from the leader and requires less half-open approaches that leave ample room for the spontaneous emergence of new ideas from co-creation. Trust is therefore the parameter that should receive much more attention within the change work. Building trust means: working on a better and hopeful future in which everyone can contribute.