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Dutch Wednesday 2011

Programma 2011

Developmental education: some strategies for teaching in the context of a play-based curriculum, Prof. Dr. Bert van Oers, 13.04.2011

Prof. Dr. Bert van Oers, VU University Amsterdam

The lecture gives a general introduction to the educational approach called “Developmental Education”, as it was developed in the Netherlands on the basis of the Cultural-historical theory of Vygotskij. Developmental Education aims at the promotion of meaningful learning in pupils and teachers. The educational approach is usually profiled as a play-based curriculum and it will be explained what this means, starting out from an elaborated concept of the Vygotskian notion of play (Vygotskij-Leont’ev-El’konin). It will be argued that the notions of imitative participation and role-appropriation are core issues for the understanding of how the play-based curriculum works, and how it integrates classroom talk, intertextuality, and direct instructions in a meaningful way, both in early and upper grades of primary school. Some clips of classroom examples will be presented.

The Netherlands: an immigration country, but not a multicultural society, Prof. Dr. Paul Schnabel, 11.05.2011

 Prof. Dr. Paul Schnabel, University of Utrecht

 In the Netherlands in less than fifty years the number of ethnic minorities (Turks, Moroccans, Surinamese, Caribbeans, etc.) rose from 1% to 11% of the Dutch population. In the major cities complete neighbourhoods have changed colour or as the Dutch use to say have turned ‘black’. The integration of so many newcomers is a major challenge for all parties involved. Especially the Muslim population is seen as not very keen to become an integral part of Dutch society. The idea of a multicultural society is no longer popular and a traditional liberal migration– and integration policy has been replaced by a much more restrictive and controlling approach.

Paul Schnabel, Ph.D. (1948), sociologist, is General Director of the Netherlands Institute for Social Research/SCP (Social and Cultural Planning Office), the social science research unit and social policy advisory agency of the Dutch cabinet. 

Paul Schnabel is also one of 8 ‘university professors’ at Utrecht University and a columnist to the leading Dutch newspapers ‘NRC-Handelsblad’ and ‘Het Financieele Dagblad’. He is member of the supervisory board of Shell Netherlands; other appointments include among others the Netherlands Institute for Art History RKD (chair), Museum Catharijneconvent (member of the board), Museum Bredius (chair), Foundation Praemium Erasmianum (member of the board), Duitsland Instituut (chairman/Institute for German Studies, Univ. of Amsterdam) and the Scientific Council for Government Policy WRR (Advisory member).

In the ‘top 200’ list of Erasmus University and ‘De Volkskrant’ he is listed among the twenty most influential persons in Dutch society. In 2010 he received the ‘Academy Medal’ award of The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Neither Fish nor Flesh, prof. Dr. Louise Fresco, 07.09.2011

Prof. Dr. Louise Fresco, University of Amsterdam

No food has such a strong moral connation as meat, or animal proteins. Today, in our secularized society, meat is the touchstone of politically correct behavior and presents major personal and social dilemmas. Are we allowed to eat meat? And if so, what type of meat should it be? From cows grazing happily in flowery meadows, or a miniscule slice of wild deer? Is fish a better alternative? But are there still fish species that are not threatened with extinction, or are we doomed to raising fish in aquaculture with major environmental problems? Perhaps we should convert collectively to a diet of artificial meat produced from soy bean, algae or insects. Others are convinced that only a vegetarian life style can rescue the planet, for the sake of our won health and the wellbeing of animals. But if that really is the solution for a world where nearly half the population still consumes too little protein, remains to be seen.

Louise O. Fresco's exciting career has involved more ten years of field work in tropical countries, travel to over 80 countries, a PhD cum laude in tropical agronomy (Wageningen), chairs and lectureships at prestigious universities such as Wageningen, Uppsala, Louvain and Stanford. She held several leading positions within the FAO of the UN. The permanent theme of her life is a strong commitment to international development, agriculture and food. She also published eight books (of which three acclaimed novels) and over one hundred scientific articles. Currently, as a university professor in Amsterdam, she writes a syndicated newspaper column, is an adviser to the Dutch government on socio-economic policy, science and sustainability, including sea level rise. In May 2010 she became a member of the independent review committee of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the InterAcademy Council at the request of the United Nations.

She is involved in a large number of cultural and social activities. She appears regularly in the media and talked at TED 2009.

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In conversation with our brain, prof. dr. Peter Hagoort, 05.10.2011

Prof. dr. Peter Hagoort, Radboud University Nijmegen

With more than a hundred billion neurons, and more than 100.000 kilometers of connecting wires inside our skull, the human brain is the most complex organ in the known universe. Recent developments of brain imaging techniques, allow unprecedented previews of the human brain in action. What happens in our brain when we learn, when we change our opinion, when we speak, when we experience emotion; it will all be discussed in this lecture. How increased insights into brain function will impact society will be discussed as well.

Peter Hagoort is director of the Max Planck Instute for Psycholinguistics (since November 2006), and the founding director of the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (1999), a cognitive neuroscience research centre at the Radboud University Nijmegen, with participation of the Universities of Maastricht, Twente, and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. In addition, he is professor in cognitive neuroscience at the Radboud University Nijmegen. His own research interests relate to the domain of the human language faculty and how it is instantiated in the brain. In his research he applies neuroimaging techniques such as ERP, MEG, PET and fMRI to investigate the language system and its impairments as in aphasia, dyslexia and autism. At the Donders Centre he is currently heading the research group Neurocognition of Language. At the Max Planck Institute he is heading a department on the Neurobiology of Language. For his scientific contributions, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts Sciences (KNAW) awarded him with the Hendrik Mullerprijs in 2003. In 2004 he was awarded by the Dutch Queen with the “Knighthood of the Dutch Lion.” In 2005 he received the NWO-Spinoza Prize. Peter Hagoort is fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).


Quest for fire – news from our deep past., prof. Dr. Wil Roebroeks, 09.11.2011

Prof. Dr. Wil Roebroeks, Leiden University

Humans and chimpanzees shared a last common ancestor approximately six to seven million years ago. Geologically speaking that is a short time period. Nevertheless, over this brief time span early humans developed into extraordinary primates, with – for instance - brains three times as large as those of chimpanzees, a heavy dependence on material culture and a presence in all corners of the world. Archaeology is one of the disciplines which study the development of these human characteristics. Through the integration of data from the fields of archaeology, physical anthropology, genetics and other biomolecular methods our knowledge of the deep human past has increased enormously, as I will briefly illustrate in my lecture. Many puzzles remain though and a big one relates to the role of fire in early human evolution. All humans use fire, no other primate does. When did humans begin to use fire, and how important may it have been in the development of our characteristics? I will use this hotly debated issue as a case study to show how archaeologists study the deep past, with sometimes puzzling results.

Wil Roebroeks (1955) is Professor of Palaeolithic Archaeology at Leiden University. Roebroeks studied history at Nijmegen (MA cum laude 1979) and prehistory at Leiden University (MA 1982). In 1989 he defended his PhD thesis (cum laude), which was awarded the W.A. van Es-prize in 1990, while his Oermensen in Nederland. De Archeologie van de Oude Steentijd yielded the Kijk/Wetenschapsweek-prijs for the best Dutch popular science book in 1991. In 1992 he initiated the European Science Foundation network on ' The Palaeolithic Occupation of Europe', of which he became scientific secretary, as well as general editor of the series of volumes resulting from this network. In 1996 Roebroeks obtained a personal chair for Palaeolithic Archaeology at Leiden University.