Wellness, Engagement and Futures of Education
in Post-Pandemic Societies:
Global Perspectives and Local Initiatives
8-10 December 2023
6th – 7th December 2023 Pre-Conference Activities

Keynote Speeches and Keynote Speakers
Keynote Speeches

Keynote Speech 1
Student Wellness in the Post-Pandemic Era: Seven Reflections for Educators and Allied Professionals
Daniel SHEK, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Abstract: Under the COVID-19 pandemic, children and adolescents have faced many challenges in different psychosocial domains. With the ease of the pandemic, educators and allied professionals are invited to have several reflections. Reflection 1: adolescent mental health problems do not disappear overnight. Reflection 2: use an ecological system perspective in understanding student wellness. Reflection 3: appreciate the importance of positive psychological attributes. Reflection 4: intervention and prevention at different levels are indispensable. Reflection 5: besides financial capital, human capital and social capital are vital components of well-being under adversity. Reflection 6: it is important to promote psychosocial competence, particularly individual resilience, of young people. Reflection 7: while social capital (particularly family resilience and social support) shapes adolescent developmental outcomes, it is largely neglected. It is argued that human capital (psychosocial competencies and well-being) and social capital (particularly family resilience) are essential ingredients of true happiness, particularly in times of difficulty.
Keynote Speech 2
Addressing the Challenge of Diversity in Education - Lessons Learned from the Pandemic?
Ingrid GOGOLIN, Universität Hamburg

Abstract: There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has created huge challenges for education systems worldwide. Phases of school closure had to be managed. The closures required forms of teaching and learning that were new to most education systems. In education, as in most fields of fundamental social provision, the balance of the pandemic is predominantly negative. As is often the case in times of crisis, students in particularly disadvantaged living conditions were especially affected. The research available so far has brought weaknesses of the education systems to light – as if under a magnifying glass.

However, research in the sciences dealing with crises and disasters also points to the other side of the coin: Forces can be unleashed, existing potential can be strengthened, new ideas can be given space and forward-looking measures can be established. In a survey of schools and teachers in Germany, we determined which impulses for innovation - beyond all negative experiences - were triggered by the pandemic from their point of view. This was an online survey with data collections in 2020, 2021 and 2022. About 1,000 head teachers were reached per survey; furthermore about 1,000 teachers of the same schools in 2021 and 2022. We applied a questionnaire with closed and open questions. In the analyses, we are mainly interested in additional coverage of information about stimuli of COVID-19 related activities on future teaching in socio-economic, culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms.

In my contribution I will present first results of this mixed-methods study. The focus is on inspirations for increasing educational equity in the context of diversity, in particular by support for learners from disadvantaged migrant backgrounds. One result of our analyses so far is that the schools were primarily concerned with overcoming technical challenges posed by remote teaching and the use of new media. Nevertheless, initial approaches are becoming visible that could develop into beneficial strategies for teaching underprivileged pupils. In particular, they concern modes of individualised communication and interaction with children whose parents do not have the means to support them in their learning.
Keynote Speech 3
Debunking Neoliberal Governance in School Systems and Individual Subjectivity:
Data-Driven Dismantling and Discursive Deconstruction

Moosung LEE, Yonsei University

Abstract: In this keynote speech, I will present several studies, drawn from my own work and collaborations, that delve into how neoliberal governance has shaped our school systems and individual subjectivity. In the first half of my speech, I will empirically demonstrate whether neoliberal governance, particularly emphasizing accountability and autonomy in schools, is effective across different countries. Using fuzzy set analysis with OECD PISA data, I will present contrasting findings against OECD's neoliberal policy advice, which is closely aligned with new public management perspectives. In doing so, I will emphasize the crucial role of educational equality in making school systems effective, while also revealing that educational equality has gradually worsened in many countries and societies since 2003. To place this global phenomenon in a local context, I will provide an emerging overview of the education inequality situation in Hong Kong, focusing on its connection to international schooling, particularly IB schools.
In the second part of my speech, I will shift the focus to discuss individual subjectivity under neoliberal influences. I will concentrate on debunking neoliberal discourses embedded in the concepts of lifelong learners and global citizens, which are often prioritized as primary educational goals and missions in many school organizations. I will explicate how innovative ideas such as lifelong learning and global citizenship have been appropriated as best-selling education commodities. Through my keynote speech, I aim to provide insights into exploring alternative perspectives and voices to bring about change in our schools and society.
Keynote Speech 4
Co-constructing a Culturally Sustaining Framework for Social Emotional Learning and Wellbeing
Letitia FICKEL, University of Canterbury

Abstract: International data provide evidence of the strong association between social emotional learning (SEL) and social emotional wellbeing (SEW) in students. Although SEL programmes are generally viewed as effective in developing students’ social emotional capacities, they have been critiqued for too often ignoring the role of culture. This shortcoming means that SEL programmes often fail to engage and support the diverse strengths and needs of learners. Such concerns led to calls among educational researchers for the development of SEL programmes that are culturally responsive to, and grounded in, local socio-cultural perspectives of SEW. This call to action was the impetus for a collaborative, design-based research project with teachers and families to inform the development of a co-constructed framework for SEL. Enabling practices and key findings from the project will be shared in this keynote presentation.
Keynote Speakers (in alphabetical order)

Professor Letitia Fickel

University of Canterbury

Letitia Fickel
Professor Ingrid Gogolin

Universität Hamburg

Ingrid Gogolin
Professor Moosung Lee

Yonsei University

Moosung Lee
Chair Professor Daniel Shek

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Daniel Shek