Insights from three expert sessions

May 10, 2017 - Context of Education / Mistakes in Education

This week I joined three (!) different expert sessions on making in education, mainly focussing on monitoring and assessments. In this post I share my first findings / notes on these sessions.

Monday: Learning group from teachers in universities of applied sciences.

A few years ago I started several learning communities in as well primary as secondary education. After the successes of these communities there was a great need for a similar approach in higher education. Due to my pregnancy in 2016 I could not started this community myself, but I handed over my knowledge to my colleagues. The made it their own and facilitated (and still do) several sessions with teachers on several subjects. This gave me the opportunity to join one of these communities as a full member instead of the facilitator. This already gained a lot of insights on my research. But the output keeps growing. Last monday we had a sessions with several learning communities throughout the university. (The initiative is growing!) This session was organized around three questions / statements:

  1. Tests are the essence of education. Therefore, students and teachers in (peer) learning situations give each other continuous feedback
    This statement is brought in by Kitt Bosman in the context of the film ‘Most likely to succeed’ on educating students for an “uncertain future” and how to prepare them for it.
  2. How do we make a significant experience of reviewing / assessing, which is contributes to personal interest, the process of learning and skills or competences?
    This question is illustrated by Bartel Dorhout and Manon Mostert – van der Sar.
  3. If design students learn outside the walls of the institute, in for example a citylab, how does this practice compare to monitors? Is it necessary?
    This question is explained by Annemarie Piscaer’s accompanying text: The Ignorant Schoolmaster, Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation.

Some discussed conditions of education:

  • Assessment is the acknowledgement of something you can
  • Unsafely may exist, we should embrace that and learn students to deal with that
  • Students choose their own timing and path in education
  • A lot of formative practices exist along the way
  • Assesment is over at least 30 ECTS (so that we can assess pragmaticly)
  • Scout differences
  • Monitor behaviour of students (and assess that)
  • Learning outside the school may exist and is acknowledged


Wednesday: The beautiful risk of research: making part 1

Art and design practices have a long history of research through close visual studies, prototyping, employing iterative design processes, experimenting with materials, and conversing with other historical, social and disciplinary frameworks. These efforts involve speculation, risk and at times failure, and stretch our work/thinking/doing beyond the conventional or known.

I attended to the workshops in the drawing station in which drawing is seen as an instrument to also conduct research. Both artists / teachers are designing new methods which fit their needs as a designer. In this approach we can de a lot more in educational settings. Drawing is a natural form to express thoughts. But we use it mainly as a form of prototyping (to talk about your idea) or as inspiration. But it can also help to gather and analyse if you see drawing as another expression of writing. I am not sure were making in education comes in in this discussion..

Some discussed conditions of education:

  • An atmosphere of empirical experiencing together (learning is a social process)
  • Not-knowing and failing is OK
  • Success can be limiting (at least striving for it can be)
  • Value-based


Wednesday: Hybrid learning community of teachers from secondary vocational education

In this group the relevance of monitoring was discussed in several groups. A quote that really got me thinking (from one of the professors on this session) was

Changing the system a little bit is harder dan change it rigorous

A lot of initiatives to change education (and monitoring as a part of that) seems to get stuck in the change management process. In initiatives were new schools are started these implementing issues seems to be a lot smaller than they are in existing schools. The hardest part of change is changing our mindset and behaviour, mostly as a teacher but also as a student and as a parent and as part of society. This shouldn’t stop us from trying to change, but we need to take notion of the resistance, because it can give us new insights.

What hit me was that the businesses around us are already changing and/or changed. Deutsche Bahn for example is hiring people not on what diploma they bring, but on what skills they want to accelerate. And we as educators still think in courses and diploma’s. The ambition to acknoledge earlier gained competences / skills failed miserably in Holland. It is interesting to find out that teachers in secondary vocational education (or at least the ones that joined the expert session) are very much willingly to change the way we educate. One of the teachers complained that his courses are experienced as bold because the students already knew the content. But he feels stuck in changing that. Were companies as KPN (provider of communications) are hiring (yes, they pay them) 8-year old kids to come up with new concepts because being cool is not good enough anymore. (These kids suggested that service desk employees should get payed the most, because they solve problems of the client)

When you compare life with a game you are in tutorial mode for 18 years and than start level 1. And if your lucky you can create tutorials when your old. Nobody wants to play a game like that.. – one of the teachers from secondary vocational education

Some discussed conditions of education:

  • Students learn to learn and learn to test themselves instead of learning (only) content
  • Companies learn students the content or skills and they create more time for education to work on the soft skills
  • More (acknowledged) learning situations and contexts outside the walls of the classroom
  • Students work and learn in real (local) contexts (that means for example when you follow education in Rotterdam you will visit the harbour a lot)
  • There is a database with all skills and competences of people so that we can hybridly switch in different groups (that also means we don’t necessarily need diplomas, we need to start thinking in systems badges)


References is in this post

› tags: expert /