Academic experts and their role


On the symposium we will bring together academic experts from different kinds of backgrounds and expertises: education practice, management, policy, research, and media.

On the 8th & 9th of February we will welcome (for more information click on the name):

Prof Ferre Laevers (University of Leuven, Belgium)
Prof Michael Fielding (Emeritus Professor of Education, UCL Institute of Education at London, England, UK)
Prof Colleen Mclaughlin (University of Cambridge, UK)
Prof Paulien Meijer (Radboud University, Nijmegen)
Prof Gert Biesta (Brunel University London, UK & University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht)
Dr Tone Saevi (NLA University College Bergen, Norway)
Linda O’Toole (Universal Education Foundation)
Prof Edith Hooge (University of Tilburg)
Prof Günther Opp (Martin Luther University, Halle, Germany)
Prof Rob Martens (Open University of the Netherlands)

The expertise of academic experts that we asked is the conceptual perspective.

What theories and insights from current research help to organise the complexity of questions that emerge from the confrontation of all the viewpoints brought forward at the tables?

This question is aimed not so much at solving all inconsistencies and giving a final, ‘best’ answer, but at providing some points of reference, some helpful guidance that could organise our thinking.

For each chapter, we have invited some experts who we ask to share their reflections on that specific theme. Also, we have asked three academic experts to inform the general dialogue with their general reflections in the last half hour of each chapter-session. In this way, we aim to connect ‘deep’ dialogue for every chapter, with the ‘broad’ reflections on the general conference theme.

The main idea of the symposium is, to create the circumstances, in which new perspectives can emerge. Our aim is, that the ongoing reflection on practice examples and short, improvised reflections from different (scientific) viewpoints, will lead to the interaction that is needed to generate the new insights.

Ferre Laevers (University of Leuven, Belgium)

Prof. dr. Ferre Laevers is professor of Experiental Education at University of Leuven, Belgium. He laid the foundations of ErvaringsGericht Onderwijs (i.e. ‘experiental education’), a comprehensive educational concept that gives centre stage to children’s well-being and engagement. The idea behind this concept is that, in order for children to learn and develop  in an optimal way, they need to experience joy and well-being within the school environment, and to feel experientially engaged with the learning process. At the symposium, Ferre Laevers will be reflecting on theme 1, ‘interaction and learning in education.’

Michael Fielding (UCL Institute of Education at London, UK)

Prof. dr. Michael Fielding is professor emeritus of the Institute of Education of University College London, UK. His research work concentrates on student voice and the development of democratic education. He is a leading authority on enhancing student engagement in school development through action research. Before becoming a lecturer and researcher at the Universities of Cambridge, London and Sussex, Fielding taught for 19 years in some of the UK’s pioneer radical secondary comprehensive schools. His perspective has been strongly influenced by democratic school traditions, with a special role for the personal dimension.

Colleen Mclaughlin (University of Cambridge, UK

Professor Colleen McLaughlin is director of Educational Innovation at the University of Cambridge. She taught in secondary schools, worked as an advisor in a local education authority and worked at the University of Sussex, before coming to Cambridge in 1985. Her recent research has focused on wellbeing in schools; relationships in schools; sexuality and HIV-related education in Africa; bullying and pupils with special educational needs and disabilities; counselling in schools; and aspects of personal, social and emotional development in schools. Support for international educational reform is also now a major area of work. She has been involved as an advisor to governments and NGOs on the personal and social dimensions of schooling.

Paulien Meijer (Radboud University, the Netherlands)

Paulien Meijer has been professor of Teacher learning and development at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen since 2013, as well as academic director of the Radboud Teachers Academy (ILS). Furthermore, Meijer works as the VELON-affiliate professor of teacher education at the Open University, Heerlen, and senior lecturer and research leader at the University of Utrecht. Her research interests include: (student) teacher learning, development of teachers’ professional identity, teacher education, workplace learning, teaching for creative learning.

Gert Biesta (Brunel University London, UK & University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht)

Gert Biesta is Professor of Education and Director of Research in the Department of Education of Brunel University London and, for one day a week, NIVOZ Professor for Education at the University of Humanistic Studies, the Netherlands. In addition he is Visiting Professor at NLA University College Bergen and a member of the Education Council of the Netherlands, the advisory body of the Dutch government and parliament. His work focuses on the theory and philosophy of education and the theory and philosophy of educational and social research. Recent books include: The Beautiful Risk of Education (Routledge, 2014) and Teacher Agency: An Ecological Approach (with Mark Priestley and Sarah Robinson; Bloomsbury 2015). In 2017 he will publish The Rediscovery of Teaching (Routledge) and Letting Art Teach (ArtEZ Press).

Tone Saevi (NLA University College Bergen, Norway)

Toni Saevi is Professor of Education at NLA (School of Religion, Education and Intercultural Studies) University College in Bergen, Norway. Hermeneutic phenomenology and education are Dr Saevi’s main research interests. Hermeneutic phenomenology or ‘phenomenology of practice’ (Max van Manen, 2014) is a methodic and methodological approach to education, mainly practiced by non-philosophers. She leans strongly towards a Continental approach of education and educational thinking – be it called “Pädagogik” in German or “pedagogikk” in Norwegian.

Linda O’Toole (Universal Education Foundation

Linda O’Toole is a consultant to the Universal Education Foundation (UEF) which functions as a catalyst for the Learning for Well-being community ( She brings over 30 years of experience in the human development field to her role as a well-being and inner diversity specialist. She began working with UEF in early 2006 and has participated in creating the Voice of Children surveys, various communication strategies and materials, and youth and adult workshops for cultivating capacities that contribute to physical, emotional, mental and spiritual development.

Edith Hooge (TIAS School for Business and Society, University of Tilburg, NL)

Prof. dr. Edith Hooge is vice dean and full professor at TIAS School for Business and Society. With her chair ‘Boards and Governance in Education’, she participates in the TIAS GovernanceLAB and in several educational programs. Edith has more than twenty years of experience with academic research and teaching. She is member of the editorial board of the European Journal of Education (EJE) and of the Dutch journal NTOR. During her career Edith always has connected science, policy and practice. Hooge is the chairperson of the NIVOZ Board of Governance, which she has called ‘an institute that emphatically champions the importance of pedagogical values in education, also in times with a rather one-sided result-driven view on education.’

Günther Opp (Martin Luther University, Halle, Germany)

Dr. Günther Opp is professor for the education of emotionally and behaviorally disordered children at the Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg. His research interests are focused on practices of inclusive education and resilience. He also has a strong interest in the theoretical foundations and the practice of positive peer culture with children and youth. Before becoming a professor in Halle, he was a special needs education teacher and worked in an assistant professor position at the University of Munich.

Rob Martens (Open University, the Netherlands)

Professor dr. Rob Martens was educated as an education psychologist. Currently he holds a professorship at the Welten-Instituut of the Open University, and is the chairman of the department of Teaching and Teacher Professionalization. He specialises in educational reform, processes of motivation and teacher professionalization. Since 2015, he also is the academic director of the Centre of Expertise for vocational education (ecbo) of CINOP. Martens has held various academic positions and professorships at different universities and academic institutes across the Netherlands, and held the honorary Francqui Chair at the University of Leuven, Belgium, in 2012.