Hartger Wassink

Head of NIVOZ Think tank, NIVOZ Foundation


Knowledge about education: facts, stories and values

Education is a moral practice, and that is why educational decisions are always also moral decisions. In educational research (as well as in teacher education) this moral dimension of education and teaching practice is seldomly discussed. Evidence-based, or evidence-informed, education, is generally aimed just one type of educational knowledge: what we consider to be facts. I’d like to propose, that in addition to these facts, stories also have their importance: stories of students and of teachers. These narrative accounts provide context and give insight in when some facts are more relevant than others.
These narratives are an important way to shed light on the underlying values that are at stake. For instance, equality, unfolding of potential, relationship, and trust are all important educational values that are widely recognised. However, it is still unclear in what way teachers ‘use’ these values in their daily work.
By combining facts, stories and values in studying education practice, we can fully explore the depth and breadth of teachers’ day-to-day professional decisions. In that way, teachers will be able engage in development of the moral dimension of education. In this workshop I will further discuss these ideas and we’ll consider some cases from teaching practice to explore what the added value of this perspective could be.

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Organizational psychologist with experience in academic research as well as consultancy. Focus on ‘professional dialogue’, distributed leadership in schools, (professional) identity development of teachers, and values in management and board (Policy Governance).
Experienced in working with boards and management teams within single educational organizations, training groups with participants from different organisations, as well as indvidual coaching of executives.
Researcher on domain of leadership and teacher professional development. Current focus on meaningful educational research, distributed leadership, and governance.


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