Keynote Speakers

Markku Niemivirta

2017-present: Professor, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Oslo, Norway

2017-present: Research Director, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki

Academic Interests

  • Developmental relationships between motivation, achievement and subjective well-being
  • Situational dynamics in motivation and task engagement
  • Mathematics learning and its antecedents and outcomes
  • Brain activity related to error processing and its association with individual differences in motivation, temperament and neurocognitive functioning

Striving for achievement – A double-edged sword?

The model of adaptive learning argues that in learning and performance situations, students balance between the goals of increasing competence and maintaining well-being. Both goals serve an adaptive function, but for different reasons and through different mechanisms. Thus, success in learning activity has different meaning depending on what one seeks to attain in a situation and for what purpose. Students’ appraisals of learning and performance situations are a function of the beliefs they hold about themselves and how “the world operates” as well as how they perceive and interpret the situation and its features. In this presentation, I will examine the patterning of goals and beliefs that constitutes the motivational lens through which the students view achievement-related situations as well as the antecedents, correlates and consequences of such patterning. I will draw on various sources of findings ranging from neuroscientific studies to cross-cultural comparative studies in order to identify a network of variables that contribute to how students approach learning tasks and how they engage in them. The key questions are: i) how should we understand the striving for achievement, and ii) is there a price for success?


Meg Maguire

Professor of Sociology of Education, King’s College, London

Education Values in Policy and Practice

Education values are always at play in education practices. They underpin the work of schools, even if they are only sometimes glimpsed and are somewhat inchoate in practice. They steer policy directives and influence how policies are interpreted and enacted in practice in primary and secondary schools. In the process of enactment, when education policies are made sense of, mediated and sometimes struggled over through the sense-making of a range of teachers, leaders and other adults in schools who have to make things work, different sets of values can be involved. In the daily life of the school, policy actors use ‘the lenses they have developed through experience to filter their awareness’ (Spillane, 2004, p.7) and to enact policies in practice in relation to their values, beliefs and educational commitments.

Drawing on research in four secondary schools and in two primary schools, the presentation will consider some of the ethical dilemmas that emerge because of a values clash or because of prioritising different values. The focus will mainly explore the ‘work’ undertaken to ‘boost’ children’s attainment and the ways in which teachers’ attempt to hold onto their beliefs while meeting accountability demands in high stakes arenas.  At the centre of this presentation is a concern with a values shift that may be eroding and erasing much of what has stood as core in education practice in relation to the emotional, social and academic needs of the child/student and the subjectivity of the teacher.

Spillane, J. P. (2004) Standards Deviation. How Schools Misunderstand Education Policy, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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