Confirmed Keynote Speakers


University of Utah School of Medicine, USA

Re-thinking the Care and Education of Children: Preparing Today’s Children for Tomorrow’s Unknown”
What will schools throughout the world be like thirty years from now?  What knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and behaviors will future students need to thrive in diverse educational environments and transition successfully into adult life and vocation.  Even more importantly, how will we get there?  How will instructional systems develop the means of teaching students and challenging their abilities?  In this opening keynote, Dr. Goldstein will offer his vision for education in the future, emphasizing a focus on knowing what to do and how to do it rather than focus on the role of acquisition of more and more knowledge.  He will offer insights from his forty years of clinical experience, working with over 10,000 children with diverse educational needs, his research and that of others, and current science.  He will suggest that our educational systems worldwide need to be turned inside out and offer a blue print for the next thirty years of education.

Short Bio
Sam Goldstein, Ph.D. is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine and on staff at the University Neuropsychiatric Institute. He is Clinical Director of the Neurology Learning and Behavior Center. The Center conducts evaluations, consultation and provides treatment services to 600 individuals and families each year. Dr. Goldstein has authored over fifty trade and science texts as well as over four dozen science based book chapters and thirty peer reviewed research articles. He has also co-authored six psychological tests. He currently serves as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Attention Disorders and sits on the editorial boards of six peer reviewed journals.


University of Cyprus, Department of Psychology, Cyprus

“Using Text To Promote Learning And Thinking: The Unexplored Implications To Strengthen Children”
This keynote will discuss research that has examined the use of text and its comprehension in conceptual change, belief formation and change, and critical thinking. The aim is to highlight the potential implications of the lessons learned for psychological practice in the schools and to help reconnect learning and adjustment.

Text, in printed or electronic form remains a primary medium of learning in and out of school. As a result, a long line of research has been devoted to unveiling the processes of comprehending text and documenting its outcomes in relation to memory and knowledge acquisition. Most of this work has a cognitive and educational orientation and its implications and potential for school psychological practice remain largely unexplored. This can be attributed, in part, to a relatively narrow view regarding learning and knowledge. Those of us who are concerned with schooling, we tend to associate learning with subject-matter knowledge acquisition. Learning, however, is a broad construct and so is knowledge as a concept. In addition to science and history, we learn how the world works, we learn about others and our own selves, and we learn how to learn, how to think, and how to behave. We use our previously acquired knowledge to learn, and then we use this newly acquired knowledge to make decisions and to navigate through challenges, problems, and conflicts that have no predetermined solutions or procedures.

Comprehending any text, even if it includes only two structurally incomplete sentences, requires the coordination of multiple cognitive processes. Since no text is complete or explicit enough, we need to generate inferences to fill in textual gaps. Comprehending text hones inferential skill, that is, our ability to work at the interface between a new stimulus and our prior knowledge. The inferences we generate tell stories about our knowledge, beliefs, and expectations. The inferences we have generated shape the outcome of our encounter with a new stimulus (textual or otherwise).

Short Bio
Irene-Anna Diakidoy is a Professor of Psychology specializing on Learning and Cognition. She obtained her PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA) and held a position of Assistant Professor at the University of South Dakota (USA) before joining the faculty at the University of Cyprus.

Her research interests include reading comprehension and learning from text, knowledge acquisition and conceptual change, and informal reasoning and creativity. Her work on the effects of refutational text structures on learning and conceptual change has contributed to the emerging theoretical shift regarding the underlying cognitive mechanisms of ‘conceptual change’ learning from restructuring to co-existence and inhibition. This work has provided the basis for a new line of research that examines the connection between comprehension and informal reasoning and argument evaluation. The main aim of this research is to the extent to which level of text comprehension facilitates the identification of fallacious arguments embedded in text and how both comprehension and argument evaluation may shape learning, belief formation and decision-making. Her more recent research diverges on computational aspects of knowledge representation and automated comprehension.



Universidade Lusíada (Norte), Académico de Torres Vedras, Portugal

Differential Effectiveness of Social and Emotional Learning Programs: Lessons learned from 15 years in the field”
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) has received increased attention in the last 15 years. Although there is extensive literature supporting the effectiveness of SEL programs, there also gaps and contradictions between its theoretical framework and assessment practices. Most noticeably there are few studies addressing what makes SEL programs work and if they work for everyone, or just for a part of the student population in a school. The number of published studies regarding the efficacy and effectiveness of SEL programs in Europe is also reduced when compared to the USA.

The keynote will mainly focus on the importance of differential effectiveness; and how to identify which parts of a program are working and for whom they are working. For this purpose, I will analyze the role of individual-level variables such as gender and age; class-level variables such as class size or class initial level of social and emotional competencies and school-level variables such as school climate and school leadership support.

Furthermore, I will address how to create Social and Emotional Learning programs that suit student´s need based on the lessons learned during the 15 years of the Positive Attitude program. I will also present results from several studies which detail which programs were effective during this period and which were not and why. In this context, lessons from other countries (such as the UK) will also be analyzed.

Short Bio
Vítor Alexandre Coelho, PhD in Educational Psychology by the University of Coimbra, is a nationally certified psychologist, a certified specialist in Educational Psychology and one of the founders of the Portuguese Professional Psychologists Association (OPP). Since 2004, he has been the coordinator of the Positive Attitude project at the Académico de Torres Vedras. Currently, he is the president of the International School Psychology Association and the coordinator of the Investigation Group focused upon Social and Emotional Development in the Psychology for Positive Development Research Center. From 2018 to 2020 he was the Coordinator of the School Psychology master’s degree in the University Lusíada – Norte. His main areas of research are social and emotional learning, bullying and cyberbullying and middle school transition. He has published over 40 articles and chapters focusing on these topics. He has also coordinated the first Portuguese Psychologists Census and published about the professional development of educational psychology in Portugal.


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