Scientific programme

Keynote Speakers

Alex Kozulin, Achva College & Feuerstein Institute, Israel

The topic of his keynote speech

Still unrealized potential of the learning potential model

  • The purpose of this presentation is to explore the still unrealized potential of the dynamic assessment (DA) approach. As a starting point of this exploration I take Feuerstein’s papers of the 1960s which, to the best of my knowledge, constitute his earliest published attempts at formulating the methodology of the Learning Potential Assessment (LPAD). The proposed analysis takes into account both theoretical and practical goals of DA formulated by Feuerstein in the 1960s, the broader theoretical context within which these goals were formulated, and the proposed structure of LPAD. Special attention is given to such rarely mentioned source of Feuerstein’s LPAD as Guttman’s (1959) facet design theory.  The initial proposal for LPAD included the following parameters of the assessment: 1) The capacity of the examinee to acquire a given cognitive principle; 2) Evaluating the examinee’s ability to apply this principle to the tasks progressively more remote from the initial one in terms of content, modality, and complexity; 3) The amount of mediational investment required for modifying the level of examinee’s functioning ; 4) The degree of  transferability.  This initial proposal is compared to the LPAD battery and the set of LPAD procedures eventually developed by Feuerstein, Rand, & Hoffman (1979). Differences between the initial proposal and the final battery are discussed while still unrealized elements of the initial Feuerstein’s proposal are presented as a possible basis for further development of DA methodology.

Who is he?

  • Professor Alex Kozulin is Head of M.Ed. program in Special Education at Achva Academic College and the Academic Director of International Research and Training at the Feuerstein Institute in Jerusalem. He earned his Ph.D. in Psychology at the Psychological Institute in Moscow. In the 1980s he was teaching and conducting research at Boston University in the USA. He was a visiting scholar at Harvard University and a visiting professor at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa and University of Exeter in the UK. The area of his interests includes dynamic assessment, cognitive education and cross-cultural studies. He is one of the major specialists in Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory and theory of mediated learning. His publications include: Vygotsky’s Psychology: A Biography of Ideas (Harvard University Press, 1990); Psychological Tools: A Sociocultural Approach to Education (Harvard University Press, 1998); Experience of Mediated Learning, co-edited with Yaacov Rand (Pergamon Press, 2000); Vygotsky’s Educational Theory in Cultural Context, co-edited with Gindis, Ageyev, and Miller (Cambridge University Press, 2003); Rigorous Mathematical Thinking: Conceptual formation in mathematics classroom, James Kinard , co-author (Cambridge University Press, 2008) and a number of translations of Vygotsky’s papers.


Alexander Minnaert, Groningen University, The Netherlands

The topic of his keynote speech

Voices from psycho-educational practice in reaching the potentials of children and youngsters: the challenging gap between assessment, diagnosis and intervention


  • In contemporary psycho-educational practice, psychological (intelligence) assessments remain widely employed. In this keynote lecture I will illustrate the often existing disconnection between the psychometric testing, the diagnosis evolving from that testing and the subsequent provision of educational guidance for children experiencing difficulties in learning. In this lecture I will first report on some in vivo studies indicating that after the administration of the psychological (intelligence) assessment a gap between diagnosis and intervention appeared far too often. This will be elucidated with respect to the needs for children with specific learning disabilities and twice-exceptional children (i.e., gifted children with ASD or with specific learning disabilities). Second, I will explore whether dynamic assessment procedures in psycho-educational practice might bridge the well-known gap between diagnosis and intervention. Due to a learning phase included in the testing procedure, qualitative information about the child’s learning needs can be revealed by means of dynamic assessment. The question is, however, what the consequential validity, i.e. the extent to which assessment influences instructional and learning processes, of dynamic assessment procedures really is. In order to design child-tailored interventions following dynamic assessment, there is a need for more explicitness of learning phases and types of feedback in the development of these instruments. Finally, I will ground the plea for making use of a variety of assessments across cognitive, metacognitive and conative (motivation, emotion, social) domains in order to build up a strengths and weaknesses profile of a child. This profile should pave the way to bridge theory to practice, strengths to development, and weaknesses to targeted educational interventions.

Who is he?

  • After his graduation as Master in Educational, School and Medical Psychology at the University of Leuven, a teacher education certificate for secondary and for higher education (both in Belgium and in the Netherlands), and a post-graduate certificate in Learning and Instruction from the Friedrich-Schiller Universität Jena (Germany), Alexander Minnaert finished his PhD at the University of Leuven, Belgium, in 1996 on a longitudinal study among freshmen on academic performance, cognition, metacognition, and motivation. After a post-doc period at the Centre of School Psychology and the Centre of Research Methodology in Educational Sciences at the University of Leuven, he was appointed in 1997 as assistant and later as associate professor in instructional sciences and clinical education at the Department of Education, Leiden University, The Netherlands. From 2004, he became full professor in the domain of clinical educational research, student counselling, special needs education and educational research methodology at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. Further, he became a member of the Academy of Finland (2013) and was appointed as chair of the Academy of Finland (division Education) from 2014 till 2016. At the University of Groningen he is the research program leader of „Learning and education related problems“ focusing on the context of (inclusive) education and (remedial) teaching, aiming at the development, implementation and evaluation of conditions conducive for learning and development at various levels of (pre-school) education. The crux in his research program is situated in complex, multiple interactions between learner characteristics and education (mostly school) related factors (instructional methods, teachers, assessments, classes, schools, educational systems). He is author of more than 100 international, peer-reviewed articles (among 10 systematic review studies) within the field of inclusive education, teaching and learning, (meta)cognition and self-regulation, special education needs, motivation, social-emotional processes, giftedness (2E), and assessment.


Gabriela Seidlová Málková, Charles University, Czech Republic

The topic of her keynote speech

The efficacy of Pre-literacy Skills Interventions – Current Perspectives in Czech Republic

  • There is now a large body of evidence from international research that the most effective emergent literacy interventions invest into training of the key pre-literacy skills: either explicit phonological awareness training (Lundberg, Frost & Petersen 1988, Troia 1999) or structured phoneme awareness training combined with explicit letter knowledge instruction (Hatcher, Hulme & Snowling 2004, Regtvoort & van der Leij 2007; Castles, Coltheart, Wilson, Valpied & Wedgwood 2009, Lonigan, Farver, Phillips & Clancy-Menchetti 2011). It is also true that intervention studies are difficult to conduct in a real word settings and thus very vulnerable and sensitive to the troubles emerging within their implementation (Hatchder, Hulme & Ellis 1994, Lonigan et al 2011, Burden & Nichols, L. 2000 ). On the contrary, strategies to promote early literacy are of a great importance from the social impact perspective, both for typically developing children (Papadopoulos, Ktisti, Christoforou, & Loizou 2015, Seidlová Málková 2015) and even more for children at risk of literacy development (Heimann, Nelson, Tjus, & Gillberg, 1995; Tokárová 2015). The paper will introduce a recent research conducted in the Czech Republic in the field of literacy interventions (a longitudinal training study with preschool age children – Seidlová Málková 2015) and a semi-longitudinal training study with children at the onset of primary school attendance – Šedinová, Seidlová Málková 2017). It aspires to demonstrate the importance of research based practice in educational settings and preliminary suggestions relating to the so called “ecological validity” of intervention studies (human effort and time needed to bring efficiency in an implementation of intervention programmes and their applicability in a real word settings).

Who is she?

  • Gabriela Seidlová Málková is an assistant professor and researcher at the Faculty of Humanities, Charles University, Prague and at the Department of Psychology Faculty of Education, Charles University, Prague. Her research interests are in the development of language and literacy skills in preschool and primary school age, including disorders of literacy development. She is especially interested in relationship of phonological and orthographic processes in literacy acquisition and the ways to use research results for the purpose of creating assessment and intervention tools for psychological counselling practices. Specific aspect of her research interest is the role of human mediators in learning and development, particularly mediated learning experience approach. Her recent research addresses also strategies, methods and tools to study literacy from cross-linguistic perspective.



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