Pedagogies of the possible

Vlad Glaveanu

Webster University Geneva, Switzerland 

This talk will focus on the ways in which possibilities are being cultivated or, on the contrary, hindered in the process of schooling. The notion of pedagogies of the possible refers, in this context, to those forms of education that make us sensitive to differences in perspective and cultivate reflective dialogues among them. In proposing this notion, I am building on the psychology and philosophy of a diverse group of thinkers, from Lev Vygotsky and John Dewey to Paulo Freire and Jerome Bruner. I argue that possibility should be placed at the centre of education and discuss the many opportunities but also the challenges associated with developing such pedagogies inside and outside the classroom.

Read a Brief Biography

On the Power of Vision
Henry Tirri
InterDigital, USA, Finland
Intuitively a vision of the future is a mental picture of the result you want to achieve – something that is so clear and strong it will help make that result real. A powerful vision inspires action, pulls in ideas, and brings people and other resources together. It inspires individual creativity and organizations to commit and excel. Therefore, a vision for the future is vitally important for creative companies as it builds a strategic horizon against which short- and long-term organizational goals and objectives can be measured. Visionary leadership has built many of the world’s most valuable and admired companies. Is there a science behind a powerful vision? What is the role of vision in entrepreneurship? Can a good vision be created systematically?  Why are visionary leaders so rare? Dr. Henry Tirri will explore these issues, especially in the context of innovative technology companies.


Why and How to Evaluate Mathematical Creativity in Primary School?

Jacques Grégoire

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL); Belgium

Mathematical creativity is considered an essential skill for research. In this presentation, we will present several arguments for the development of mathematical creativity in primary school. To value mathematical creativity in primary school, it’s important to evaluate it. Measuring students' mathematical creativity in a standardized way should provide useful information to administrators and teachers in their classrooms. This information should be used to adapt curricula and teaching methods to promote the development of creative thinking in mathematics. But how to conduct a valid assessment of the mathematical creativity of primary students? From the example of the computerized test we developed, we will discuss the main methodological and metric issues raised by this evaluation.

Read a Brief Biography


Thinking Outside the Disciplines: Interdisciplinarity and Creativity

Frédéric Darbellay

Center for Children’s Rights Studies , University of Geneva, Switzerland 

Considering the urgent and wicked problems of our time – climate change, political, financial, social crises, bio-eco-technological transformations, artificial intelligence, etc. – mobilizes the explanatory and comprehension power of multiple disciplinary perspectives on these complex issues, while highlighting their limits or even their impossibility to propose a more global and integrated understanding. From the life and natural sciences to humanities and social sciences, the organization of knowledge in disjointed disciplines requires today a complementary inter- and transdisciplinary vision, in order to establish links between disciplines and reorganize them in a both creative and scientific, social and cultural innovation perspective. This lecture will draw on the progress of inter- and transdisciplinary research to define the main concepts that structure it and show the interweaving between interdisciplinary and creativity studies. It will also address the abilities and even the cognitive and pragmatic skills required for researchers and practitioners who venture out of marked pathways supporting the transformation of scientific and professional fields.

Read a Brief Biography


ADHD: Disorder or Gift?  

Ken and Andrea McCluskey

University of Winnipeg, Canada

As the term itself indicates, ADHD is typically viewed as a "disorder." And certainly, hyperactive and inattentive children present some interesting challenges at home, at school, and in the community. This session highlights many of the problems, and acknowledges that the prognosis for ADHD is sometimes "far from benign." However, an attempt is also made to put a more positive spin on things by recasting reality and pointing to the creative strengths that frequently go hand in hand with the condition. To illustrate, with proper support, might not stubborn behaviour in childhood grow into determination in adulthood? Might not inattentive daydreaming turn into creative invention, overactivity into productive energy, and off-the-wall behaviour into outside-the-box thinking? The overall intent here is to offer a humane, flexible approach to help educational caregivers turn negatives into positives, and identify and nurture the talents of an oft-misunderstood population.

Read a Brief Biography: Ken McCluskey

Read a Brief Biography: Andrea McCluskey


Not for the intellectually gifted (or anyone else)!

The uses and abuses of competition in education and society

Roland S. Persson

Jönköping University, School of Education & Communication

Few fields of study offer so many contradictions and such fervent conviction as competition. Not many would question that the human species is intrinsically competitive, but the understanding of what this means and how it impacts everything from local schools to the global economy differs to the extreme. A vast number of studies from a variety of disciplines have studied it empirically. Even more literature, without any claim to be scientific, has sung the glory and advantage of human ambition in all fields of endeavor. A few comprehensive efforts have been made to make sense of this extensive and very disparate knowledge base. However, a critical analysis of its published research is difficult to understand, if not impossible, unless the evolutionary origins of ambition, its conditions and effects on human existence are taken into consideration. Competition is arguably the dispassionate engine which drives phylogenetic evolution for all known living organisms. It is difficult to say anything valid about any human behaviour without considering it. The result of the analysis presented in this keynote is disheartening. Few assertions of claimed benefits made by researchers in education and psychology stand up to the knowledge base of biology and our evolutionary history. Most fail because they are studied on the tacit assumption that competitive processes, even if essentially detrimental, are always subject to control and can therefore be used instrumentally in all social settings for every conceivable endeavour in an always constructive way. No practitioner, and very few scholars in the social sciences, take the randomness by which we sometimes behave into account, nor that much of human behaviour is motivated by biological algorithms generating largely automatic and unaware actions. We do not always know when we compete or why. Competition as an evolutionary function does not easily translate into intellectually engineered strategies, especially not if they involve intellectual and creative endeavours. The only domain in which competing remains reasonably true to its evolutionary origin and function is the pursuit of physical prowess such as in sports. Competition has by natural selection over eons of time been designed to be primarily physical. This keynote concludes by comparing argued benefits as probable, occasional, doubtful or improbable to known facts of evolution in order to suggest what we may have understood correctly or what we most likely have misunderstood entirely.

Read a Brief Biography

Creative Learning through Student Research
Patrick Blessinger
St. John's University, New York City, USA
Keynote Abstract: In the modern era where creative industries represent a growing segment of society and the economy, developing creative thinking in student has become as important as critical thinking. Given this emerging reality, educational systems are seeking ways to foster creative learning in students. To this end, student research has become a promising approach to help cultivate both creative and critical thinking in an integrative and interdisciplinary way. This keynote address will discuss the principles, challenges, and advantages in designing and implementing interdisciplinary student research projects into the curriculum with the goal of fostering creative learning in students.