KAOS masterclass

“the goal of education is not to let students ‘fit’ in the future, but to offer them a structure by which they can shape that future”.

KAOS pilots

Last week I attended a 3 day masterclass hosted by the KAOSpilots. The goal of the masterclass is to design a ‘course on pedagogy’ for experienced teachers at the Hogeschool Rotterdam (HR). The masterclass was attended by a variety of HR-teachers of different disciplins.

On day one we reflected on how to stimulate ‘involvement’ of ‘the learner, and what would be important values for us in designing a course. The basis of our dialogue was constructed by creating a large collage with visuals of our ideas. It was interesting to see our shared values in pedagogy among these different teachers.

The values seemed related to the principles of the KAOS pilots such as: – humanism, self regulation, and positive psychology. My first impression is that the KAOS pilots use team/community-building, learning-by-doing, and focus on rituals.It’s not hard to share these values; but the challenge will be in the interpretation and incorporation of these values in the construction of our ‘pedagogical course’. (Weten wat te doen wanneer je niet weet wat te doen; Max an Manen & Geen prestatie zonder relatie: Luc Stevens)

On day two we explored collaboration and teambuilding with a game of ‘silent – Lego’. We were introduced to the ideas of KAOS in relation to complex situations and the Cynefin-model. We reflected upon what our recommendation for leaders would be.

Next we followed consecutive steps of the KAOS-pilot curriculum model (vision backcasting). KAOS concepts that I liked were the verbs used for project phases; prejecting, projecting and ejecting. The time-based process of developing was new, but the vocabulair of the program became familiar: learning goals, desired outcomes, knowledge/skills/attitude, and competencies.

On day three we were prepared to present our ‘project development’ to an audience of stakeholders/guests. At this moment the process of decision-making went fast and another familiar vocabulair was presented: sense-of-urgency, vision-statement, customer-journey, value&impact, commitment, marketing, and hook-up words.

The presentation went well, and I believe some important questions were raised by the audience such as: why develop a program for teachers who are already doing well? What is the role for digital learning in this course? Looking back I think it was a wonderful experience to learn about the KAOS-method, but I have questions about what we have delivered.

In my perception we haven’t yet begun to design the course. What we have done is preliminary research and orientation on the topic of pedagogy and the ideas of KAOS pilots…I’m looking forward where the flight will take us further.





Gap between Academy and Work

Last month I had the pleasure of contributing to an interview for Dude, Dutch Designers Magazine #1 2018, which is out now.

The article was about the transition from art academy into the professional design practice. It argues that a smooth transition is rarely the case for many students. There are questions if design design training sufficiently reflects the reality of the professional field. The author spoke to teachers, designers and design-buro owners.

I was happy to inform how we try to bridge that gap at the WdKa by using the following tools;

  • specify the design practice into 3 different ‘area’s of expertise’
  • offer authentic and challenging design projects
  • offer integrated courses in business and value creation for design
  • let students collaborate (multidisciplinary) in open workplaces (stations)
  • open dialogue about the professional practice through assessments
  • provide student coaching

Last month we had a presentation by Gert Gerritsen & Markus Praat (owner of the ‘New Chique Agency‘) about the BNO, the Ducth Design Union, which received many positive reviews by students. I believe in many ways we’re trying to make that gap smaller; by having dialogue with students about how they see their future.

Professor in Illustration


Yesterday I visited the symposium and departure lecture of profession dr. Saskia de Bodt. Over the last 9 years she has been the Dutch ‘special professor in Illustration’ at the University of Amsterdam. This position was supported by the Fiep Westendorp Foundation.  She wrote several publications among which:

  • From Poe tot Pooh; illustration to pay your brushes? An overview of Dutch Childrenbook illustrations from 1850.
  • De “imagionists” (De Verbeelders) An overview of one century Dutch Book Illustrations (Nominated for the Golden Tulip Award).

It was an inspiring symposium with interesting questions such as:

  • How can we visualize our society in such a way; it clarifies the essence of our society?
  • Statement by John Berger (Ways of Seeing): We learn to interpret illustrations before we understand the meaning of words; therefore the image is not the illustration; but it’s the text that illustrates the images.
  • Can illustration convey the message of ideals such as: freedom, peace and solidarity? (Like it is done in music?) Images are always related to an ideological tradition.

The ‘departure-speech’ of Saskia was interesting because I found out that one of my most cherished children books was made by Tomi Ungerer; who has his own ‘Tomi Ungeren – illustration museum‘ in Strassbourg. Which might be comparable to the House of Illustration in London.

Schermafbeelding 2017-11-04 om 3.16.05 PM

Last but not leas; a student from Saskia explained the 3 wise lessons she had learned from her and are still just as valid for anyone:

  • In principle everything is possible; but you have to organize it yourself.
  • When you think it is not possible; you should probably try it anyways.
  • You have to be able to estimate your own value.

Last scoop: Saskia received a fresh new publication on Illustration: ” De Verbeelders Verbeeld(t); an intruiging follow-up of her previously mentioned publication. I will be looking forward to read it.

Schermafbeelding 2017-11-04 om 3.24.10 PM

The new Dutch ‘special professor in Illustration’ at the University of Amsterdam is: Emilie Sitzia. Looking forward to see her progress in the academic field of illustration.