THE GREAT UNCERTAINTY. Teachers in search of values between global competence and national identity


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THE GREAT UNCERTAINTY. Teachers in search of values between global competence and national identity.

Humankind is facing unprecedented revolutions, all our old stories are crumbling and no new story has so far emerged to replace them. How can we prepare ourselves and our children for a world of such unprecedented transformations and radical uncertainties?” (Yuval Noah Harari).

Tough question!
We know that in an era of difficult transition this lack of future-oriented vision goes hand in hand with an immediate human reaction: if something doesn’t work let’s go back to the past. So almost anywhere nationalist and local views are back in vogue. Governments are increasingly restricting the flow of ideas, goods, money and people. Walls are popping up everywhere, both on the ground and in cyberspace. Immigration is out, tariffs are in.

But today humankind faces some common problems that make a mockery of all national borders, and that can only be solved through global cooperation. These are nuclear war, climate change and technological disruption. You cannot build a wall against nuclear winter or against global warming, and no nation can regulate artificial intelligence (AI) or bioengineering single-handedly. They are global problems that even large nations cannot solve by themselves, hence it makes sense to switch at least some of our loyalties to a global identity.

But we seem to be far away from reaching this goal.

So Harari’s question makes a dramatic return:
How can we prepare ourselves and our children for a world of such unprecedented transformations and radical uncertainties?”

Which the role of education?
Which visions, which values, which new ethical and cultural framework can give teachers a new impetus and passion towards educating a generation of children and teenagers whose future is so radically uncertain?
How can we be loyal to our national culture and identity and at the same time switch at least some of our loyalties to a global identity?

These are the big questions which this international meeting will try to deal with from various perspectives and different experiences.




The seminar will be divided into three plenary sessions: 1) February 22nd, Friday morning, 2) February 22nd, Friday afternoon, 3) February 23rd, Saturday morning. Below some information about each session, while news about the speakers can be found clicking on “Keynote speakers” in the index on the left.

First session: February 22nd, Friday morning
The challenge of curricula in an era of uncertainty


The first session has the difficult task of examining school curricula, their content and their organization, and show new possible strategies for adapting them to this era of uncertainty.

A baby born today will be about thirty in 2050. If all goes well, that baby will still be around in 2100, and might even be an active citizen of the 22nd century. What should we teach that baby that will help him or her survive and flourish in the world of 2050 or of the 22nd century? What kind of skills will he or she need in order to understand what is happening around them and navigate the maze of life? We know nothing about what the world will be like in 2050, we only know that we might live much longer than today and the human body itself might undergo an unprecedented revolution thanks to bioengineering and direct brain-computer interfaces. Much of what kids learn today will likely be irrelevant by 2050.

At present, almost all over the world, school curricula are characterized by a growing accumulation of knowledge and information. In the past this made sense, because information was scarce, but, in contrast, in the 21st century we are flooded by enormous amounts of information, and even misinformation. In such a world, the last thing a teacher needs to give her pupils is more information. They already have far too much of it. Instead, people need the ability to make sense of information, to tell the difference between what is important and what is unimportant, and above all to combine many bits of information into a broad picture of the world.
And, above all, curricula must find a new balance between local and national identity and global culture.

So, what can be done?

The presentations of the first session will give us some possible answers.

  1. The presentation, Teaching for a glocal world, given by the great Italian sociologist Alessandro Cavalli, will discuss the need for a balance in the school curriculum between national and global loyalties. Being part of the global village does not mean abolishing obligations and loyalties towards our own country, our cultural, religious and national identity, on the contrary it means we need switch some of our loyalties to a global identity as well.
  1. Jeff Holte, Director of Education at Liger Leadership Academy in Cambodia, will illustrate the curriculum and the methodology of this extraordinary school, the mission of which is to develop socially conscious, entrepreneurial democratic leaders of tomorrow in a country ravaged by genocide. With 65 percent of the population under 30 years old, Cambodia’s future rests in the hands of its youth. LLA is committed to nurturing highly-skilled entrepreneurial thinkers who are globally-minded, determined, ethical, passionate, and effective.
  1. The presentation, Self-organizing Schools: towards innovative Learning Environments, given by Alberto De Toni, Rector of the University of Udine, will deal with the courage and necessity of fostering school self-organization. Self-organizing schools have the power to change the traditional model of planning and controlling teaching towards a re-creation of curricula and innovative learning environments. Self-organization is founded on participation and distributed responsibility in a context of intra- entrepreneurship.
  1. Marius Felderhof, Senior Research Fellow in teology and religion at the University of Birmingham, will deal with the issue Global Education Challenges: exploring religious dimension. Religious institutions play significant parts in national and international education systems in many countries, sometimes as critical partners or significant critics. Understanding religious differences is increasingly understood as central to citizenship and peaceful societies. In his main theology programme Marius Felderhof has always included Judaism, Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism, and he fostered a very innovative syllabus for religious education in Birmingham with the participation of all the main religions in the city.
  1. Raini Sipilä is a teacher at Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu, one of the best schools in Finland. She will illustrate the new Finnish curriculum, which became compulsory in August 2016. The aim of this new way of teaching – known as phenomenon-based learning (PBL) – is to equip children with skills necessary to flourish in the 21st Century. But is it true that subjects could soon be a thing of the past in Finland? We’ll know from Raini Sipilä.

Second session: February 22nd, Friday afternoon
The role of education in promoting human values


The role of education in promoting human values is the title of the second session.

The word “values” has not been very popular among teachers and students for a long time, because it has often been associated with the idea of indoctrinating young people’s minds, in some form or another.

But what about the present situation?

Are our attitudes towards “values” in schools changing ? We believe they are. But how?
There is a dramatic need for universal values, for shared dispositions towards an inclusive and sustainable world.

But schools also feel the need for more ordinary values such as a more respectful learning environment with good classroom discipline.

This session will deal with this important and controversial issue.

  1. The first presentation is given by the OECD analyst Mario Piacentini. He will illustrate the OECD framework on global competency, Preparing our youth for an inclusive and sustainable world. What is “global competency”, how can it be evaluated, which are its aims? Mario Piacentini will give us some interesting answers.
  1. The second presentation will be given by Sister Núria Miró, principal of Col.legi Montserrat, one of the best schools in Spain. Sr. Núria is an amazing person, whose mission is to empower students with a holistic and integrated education, that is a “global” education aiming at providing each of them with the tools they need to achieve physical, intellectual, spiritual and social excellence.
  1. Donato Speroni, editor of the site of the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development, ASviS, will deal with the theme Agenda 2030: sustainable innovation at school. Sustainable development requires major cultural and behavioral changes, and schools face the great task of empowering young people with new global awareness, which means a profound understanding of the interdependence of all living and environmental phenomena. Then the question is: Which are schools’ actions and commitments towards this enormous global challenge?
  1. Giuseppe Paschetto and his pupils, Some pupils at the Junior School A. Garbacci (Biella) with their smart teacher, Giuseppe Paschetto, one of the Global Teacher Prize 2019 Top finalist, will tell us how they learn engaging their heads, hearts and hands and how they pursue a better sustainable world.
  1. Mark Moorhouse, the headteacher at Matthew Moss High School in Rochdale Manchester, will tell us how his school, situated in one of the poorest communities in England, has become a place for educating changemakers, students with the ambition to change the world. What the school does is, first of all, to empower young people for a life of learning both satisfying to themselves and of significant value to others.

Third session: february 23rd, Saturday morning
Education: looking forward to a better future


The third and last session aspires to communicate all the participants in the meeting a renewed enthusiasm and passion for making our schools better places in which to live and study.
A strong and positive momentum for all.
Change is possible even in an era of great uncertainty!

  1. Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills at OECD, an international authority on education policy, will open the third and last session. His presentation has the same title as his latest fascinating book, World Class, how to build a 21st– century School system. Schleicher has accompanied education leaders in over 70 countries in their efforts to design and implement forward-looking policies and practices. In his presentation he will examine the many successes from which we can learn, but he will also debunk some myths, the many false assumptions that can stand in the way of improving education. Schleicher will take us on an awesome journey through the top education systems, engaging us to help design reform.
  1. The wellknown French sociologist, François Dubet, will tackle the theme Re-creating a quality school. In a world which is undergoing a complete transformation, the role of school is absolutely new: neither a change nor a restoration. What is needed is Re-creating Schools: equitable and inclusive schools for all, learning environments which become permanent innovation labs, in a continuous learning by doing.
  1. Dario Ianes, co-founder of Centro Studi Erickson, will discuss an issue which ADI has been dealing with for a long time: the development of a new professional career for teachers. Ianes will outline the key elements of a new Expert Teacher, ET, the competences he/she must master, the functions he/she must perform in an autonomous self-organizing school.
  1. Silvia Panzavolta and Maria Guida, researchers at INDIRE (National Institute for Documentation, innovation and Educational Research), will give the last presentation of the 2nd session: Making Learning and Thinking Visible. It is a project developed in collaboration with the Harvard Graduate School of Education – Project Zero, with the goal to create and sustain powerful cultures of learning in classrooms and across schools.
  1. Magnus Blixt, Rector of Glömstaskolan, one of the most innovative schools in Sweden, will give the last presentation of the session. Collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication are pillars of the school, whose motto is “With great freedom comes great responsibility”. What they mean is this: Freedom is not doing your own thing, but just the opposite. It means we are the authors of our own experience. It means we are accountable for the well being of all that is around us. It means we believe that we are constituting, or creating, the world in which we live“.

The invitation to the Minister Marco Bussetti

6We wish our Education Minister will accept our invitation to this International Seminar.

It would be very interesting and useful sharing ideas and proposals on themes which are so relevant to the future of our school.




1st Session, February 22nd, Friday morning 8:30 – 13:00

8:30 Registration
8:45 Opening Remarks
Alessandra Cenerini, President of ADI
9:00 Distinguished regards Stefano Versari, USR Emilia Romagna General Director


Chaired by Tiziana Pedrizzi

9:10 Introducing the session Tiziana Pedrizzi, ADI responsible for comparative education
9:20 Teaching and learning for a glocal world Alessandro Cavalli, sociologist, University of Pavia
9:40 Discussion
9:50 Cambodia: the renaissance after the genocide Flash of two italian presenters
10:00 Cambodia, the mission of the Liger Leadership Academy Jeff Holte, Director of Education, Liger Leadership Academy
10:20 Discussion
10:30 Self-organizing Schools: towards innovative learning environments Alberto De Toni, Rector University of Udine, Secretary General of Conference of Italian University Rectors
10:50 Discusssion
11:00 Coffee Break
11:15 Global Education Challenges: exploring religious dimension Marius Felderhof, Senior Research Fellow, University of Birmingham
11:35 Discussion
11:45 Finland adopted new curricula. Why? Too succesful! Flash of two italian presenters
11:55 The real nature of the new Finnish curriculum Raini Sipilä, Teacher at Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu
12:15 Discussion and conclusion of the session

2nd Session, February 22nd, Friday afternoon 14:30 – 18:30


Chaired by Giovanni Biondi

14:30 Introducing the session Giovanni Biondi, President of INDIRE
14:40 OECD: preparing our youth for an inclusive and sustainable world Mario Piacentini, Analyst in the PISA team at OECD
15:00 Discussion
15:10 Follow us to Barcelona: here’s an awesome school! Flash of two italian presenters
15:20 “Global” Education at Col·legi Montserrat Nùria Mirò, Principal at Col·legi Montserrat
15:40 Discussion
15:50 Agenda 2030: sustainable innovation at school Donato Speroni, Head Reporter of ASviS
16:10 Teaching and learning for a sustainable future Giuseppe Paschetto and his pupils, Junior school at Mosso (Biella)
16:25 Discussion
16:35 Coffee Break
16:50 Students’ wellbeing at Matthew Moss High School Flash of two italian presenters
17:00 Matthew Moss High School: Education for learners who will change the world Mark Moorhouse, Principal at Matthew Moss High School, Manchester
17:20 Discussion and conclusion of the session

3rd Session, February 23rd, Saturday morning 8:45 – 13:00


Chaired by Ludovico Albert

8:45 Introducing the session Ludovico Albert, Chair of Fondazione per la Scuola
8:55 World class: building a 21st century school system Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills
9:20 Discussion
9:30 Ri-creating quality education François Dubet, Sociologist, University of Bordeaux
9:50 Discussion
10:00 An Italian mirage: career paths for teachers Flash of two italian presenters
10:10 Challenges in teachers’ distributed leadership Dario Ianes, Co-founder of Centro Studi Erickson, Professor University of Bolzano
10:30 Discussion and information about two european projects TOOLVIP24 2018-1-IT01-KA202-006730-PIC948464934 and PLAY TO LEAD 2018-1-DK01-KA201-047082
10:40 Coffee Break
10:55 From Harvard Project Zero: making learning and thinking visible Silvia Panzavolta, Maria Guida, INDIRE researchers
11:10 Discussion
11:20 In Sweden a school of the future Flash of two italian presenters
11:30 Glömstaskolan: with great freedom comes great responsibility Magnus Blixt, Rector of Glömstaskolan, Stockholm
11:50 Discussion
Conclusion and delivery of participation certificates
The Secretary of Education, Marco Bussetti, has been invited



The challenge of curricula in an era of uncertainty

Alessandro Cavalli

1Alessandro Cavalli, is one of the best known Italian sociologists. He is Past Professor of Sociology at the University of Pavia and former vice-President of the AIS (Italian Sociological Association).
Among his study and research experiences are his in-depth study of some of the classics of sociological thought – Max Weber, Werner Sombart, Georg Simmel, Norbert Elias and Rainer Lepsius. He is wellknown for his empirical studies of youth in Italy, and the living and working conditions of teachers, his comparative research on education systems, and on the territorial divide in economic development in Italy and Germany.

Jeff Holte

2Jeff Holte is Director of Education at Liger Leadership Academy, an extraordinary educational experience in Cambodia, after the genocide. Liger Leadership Academy (LLA) educates promising youth of today to develop socially conscious, entrepreneurial leaders of tomorrow. It provides a residential scholarship program for economically disadvantaged students that combines a comprehensive, internationally competitive education with an innovative STEM and entrepreneurship curriculum.
Jeff Holte is an innovative, creative educator with nearly 40 years of experience as a teacher, principal, technology director, school director and designer of pioneering learning models. Originally from the United States, Jeff has been living in Qatar, China, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cambodia working in the field of education since 2006. He is passionate about education and the promise it provides to the learner, the community and the world. His goal is to ignite curiosity, inspire a love of learning, and motivate children to fulfill their potential through project-oriented and opportunity-based experiences.

Alberto Felice De Toni

3Alberto Felice De Toni is Rector of the University of Udine and Secretary General of CRUI, Conference of Rectors of Italian Universities.
He is full professor of “Organization of Production” and “Management of Complex Systems” in the degree course of Management Engineering.
He was President of the Reorganization of Technical and Professional Education committee of the National Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR). He is member of the National Committee for the Development of Scientific and Technological Culture of the Ministry of Education. He is author of over 280 scientific publications in national and international journals and books. His main research areas are Organization of Production, Innovation Management and Complexity Management.

Marius Felderhof

4Marius Felderhof is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham and the Executive Director of the Museum of World Religions project in Birmingham.
In his long career, he taught Christian Theology at Westhill College, Selly Oak, Birmingham. Working closely with the Muslim community, he was instrumental in initiating a B.Ed. degree with Islamic Studies and later developed a full undergraduate Islamic Studies degree programme. This did much to change the ethos of Westhill College so that it became renowned for training teachers from ethnic minorities in the City of Birmingham, not least because its main theology programme always included courses on Judaism, Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism.
In 2005 he was seconded by the University to the City of Birmingham to act as the drafting secretary to the Agreed Syllabus Conference which devised the groundbreaking 2007 Syllabus for Religious Education. This syllabus committed all the major faiths found in the City to supporting teachers in developing 24 dispositions in young people on the basis of their scriptures, traditions and practices.

Raini Sipilä

5Raini Sipilä is a Finnish primary school teacher. She obtained Master’s degree in Education from the University of Helsinki in 1994. She is also qualified to teach Finnish and literature in secondary school having a BA in Finnish and Literature.
Raini has been working as a Future School Ambassador in Finland on 2016. She was doing this on top of her full-time teaching in Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu, which is one of the best schools in Finland.
At the moment she is especially enthusiastic about the findings of educational research that show how beneficial music is to the brain and how it enhances learning; how drama methods provide the learners with a deeper understanding of things and how learning by doing is still a great way to learn. Also, being a mother of five children has given Raini a great insight into pupil’s everyday lives.
Raini’s own special interests are music, arts, literature and drama.



The role of education in promoting human values

Mario Piacentini

6Mario Piacentini is an Analyst at OECD.
He joined the OECD in 2009 as a Young Professional. Before moving to the PISA team in April 2015, he worked for the Public Governance Directorate and the Statistics Directorate of the OECD, the University of Geneva and the World Bank.
Mario Piacentini has contributed to several large OECD and inter-agency projects on gender and well-being, and led the definition and development of international indicators on metropolitan areas, inequality, entrepreneurship and trade.
He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Geneva – his doctoral research focused on the relationship between migration and education mobility. He speaks Italian, English, French and Spanish.

Núria Miró

7Sr. Núria Miró is the principal Principal of Col·legi Montserrat (Barcelona, Spain), one of the most innovative schools in Spain. At Col·legi Montserrat pedagogical decisions stem from the latest researches into neuroscience, psychology and sociology and draws heavily on the belief that each student can learn.
She has a Degree in Business Administration and a Professional Music Diploma (Piano). She finished the Leading Schools Program at High Tech High Graduate School of Education in San Diego (California) and has completed courses at Harvard Project Zero, the National Center for Teaching Thinking (Newton Center) at the University of Massachusetts and the Key Learning Community in Indianapolis.
She has been teaching for more than 20 years and has been leading schools for 10 years.

Donato Speroni

8Donato Speroni is a journalist. He is the editor of the site of the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS). The Alliance is a unique example in the Italian landscape. ASviS was established on 3rd February 2016 on the initiative of the Unipolis Foundation and the University of Rome Tor Vergata. Its aim is to increase the awareness of the Italian society, economic stakeholders and institutions about the importance of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, and to mobilize them in order to pursue the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed by the United Nations.
Donato Speroni teaches Economics and Statistics at the Institute of Journalism in Urbino University.
Among his most recent books: 2030 La tempesta perfetta – Come sopravvivere alla grande crisi”; “I numeri della felicità – dal Pil alla misura del benessere”; “Mestieri Elettrici. Electric Jobs”.

Giuseppe Paschetto and his pupils

peschettoGiuseppe Paschetto is a teacher of mathematics and science at the Junior School “A. Garbaccio “in Mosso (Biella). He is one of the Global Teacher Prize 2019 Top finalists.
His teaching methods perfectly integrate “head, heart and hand”: academic education, social and emotional learning and can-do education, by applying knowledge in different situations. So he teaches “MathEmotion” and ” ActiveScience”. His pupils have a mountain climbing group and a “Stars Hill” astronomy group which allows them to make observations of the constellations from a nearby hill where light pollution is low.
He has convinced his colleagues to measure the FIL of the school (Felicità Interna Lorda, Gross Internal Happiness).
His pupils are happy and comfortable at school. The school is like their home, at the end of the lessons they clean their classroom and put everything in order.
They are committed to Sustainable Development Goals.

Mark Moorhouse

9Mark Moorhouse, is the headteacher at Matthew Moss High School in Rochdale, a suburb of Manchester, and one of the poorest communities in England.
The school was showcased in 2017 as an example of best practice in the government’s Parliamentary Review.
Matthew Moss High School is a very effective example of “slow education”, a type of education which believes that deep understanding cannot be achieved by rushing: “More haste, less heed”.
Matthew Moss High School is well known for its program D6 (D6 is Saturday). D6 isn’t a typical Saturday School initiative. There are no schedules, no teachers, no uniforms and no compulsory classes – and students aren’t required to attend. Students, between 13 and 16, come to school on Saturday because they want to get academic assistance, their coaches are A Level students from the local sixth form college who are paid as learning coaches.
The intention is to allow coaches and learners to work it out for themselves; to form study groups and explore learning at their own pace, and in their own direction.



Education: looking forward to a better future

Andreas Schleicher

11Andreas Schleicher is Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris.
As a key member of the OECD Senior Management team, Mr. Schleicher supports the Secretary-General’s strategy to produce analysis and policy advice that advances economic growth and social progress. He promotes the work of the Directorate for Education and Skills on a global stage and fosters co-operation both within and outside the OECD. In addition to policy and country reviews, the work of the Directorate includes the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), and the development and analysis of benchmarks on the performance of education systems (INES).

François Dubet

12François Dubet is a French sociologist, professor emeritus at the University of Bordeaux II and director of studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He is the author of numerous works devoted to youth marginalisation, social movements, school and institutions and has led Le Collège 2000 study for the French Education Ministry.
His principal idea, largely developed in many of his works, is inherited from the sociology of Alain Touraine. According to Dubet, we have entered late modernity, a long socio-historic process promoting the subjective figure and responsible for the deconstruction of the institution.

Dario Ianes

13Dario Ianes is full professor in the Free University of Bolzano. He teaches and researches in the field of Inclusive Education and Special Education.
Member of various academic bodies such as EERA, European Education Research Association, SIPeS Società Italiana di Pedagogia Speciale, SIPED Società Italiana di Pedagogia Memberships of editorial boards.
He is co-founder (1984) of Edizioni Centro Studi Erickson, a Publishig Company and Research Institute specialized in publishing, software creation and research in the fields of teaching, education, psychology, social work and welfare. Erickson is also a research center and organizes every year a variety of seminars, workshops and international conference.

Silvia Panzavolta

10Silvia Panzavolta is a researcher at INDIRE (National Institute for Documentation, innovation and Educational Research) and is specialized in developmental psychology and education.
At present she is collaborating with the Harvard Graduate School of Education – Project Zero for the project Making Learning and Thinking Visible, which she is now experimenting in Italian secondary schools.
She is a tutor in Developmental psychology courses at IUL university. IUL – Italian University Line- is a private e-learning university, founded by Ministerial decree on 2 December in 2005. The university is sponsored by the IUL Consortium, consisting of: The National Institute for Documentation, innovation and Educational Research (INDIRE) and the University of Florence.

Magnus Blixt

14Magnus Blixt is the principal of Glömstaskolan, one of the most innovative schools in Sweden. With almost 20 years of experience from the teaching profession, he has been with Glömstaskolan’s exciting journey from the beginning. He was a teacher before he became Deputy Principal, and then Principal. He has been a member of Skolporten’s teacher’s panel for more than 10 years and brings with him experiences from the Teachers ‘Responsibility Board as well as the teachers’ professional councils and union work. With a commitment to the school that goes far beyond the walls of his own classroom, for twenty years Magnus Blixt has challenged, debated, communicated and demonstrated the possibilities for adapting the school to today’s needs. For example it is about taking advantage of the potential of the physical environment, which clearly influences learning opportunities – “How we furnish the schoolroom determines what we can do” Magnus says. And Glömstaskolan is the right example.


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