Master Class – Andy and Dennis

The Age of Identity: Who Do Our Kids Think They Are…and How Can We Help Them Belong?

Andy Hargreaves and Dennis Shirley

We are living and working in a time when identity is all the rage – literally as well as figuratively. Identity politics, cancel culture, parents’ rights, teachers’ plights. How do we recognize and include all young people’s identities and honestly address the injustices and exclusions that many groups of young people and their families face without getting drawn into culture wars of accusation, indignation, guilt, and shame? How can we do the right thing without silencing ourselves for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing?

This workshop takes off from the brand new, controversial book by Dennis Shirley and Andy Hargreaves on The Age of Identity. It affirms that identity is an issue for everyone, not just for “the others”. We should help young people develop positive senses of self and identity from the earliest years of school, guide them through their different stages and life passages, reach out across the generations, and build bridges rather than put up walls between different identity groups.

This workshop will help everyone to get to grips with how identity issues affect them, their colleagues, and their students. It will introduce participants to clear guidelines and protocols to guide sensitive discussions about identity issues in their own schools, governments, and universities. It will highlight how identity issues can bring us together and build inclusion and belonging rather than tear us apart.

Andy Hargreaves

is Visiting Professor at the University of Ottawa in Canada and Research Professor at Boston College in the US. He is an elected member of the US National Academy of Education, former President of the International Congress of School Effectiveness and Improvement (2018-2020), former Adviser in Education to the Premier of Ontario (2015-2018), and current adviser to the First Minister of Scotland. Andy is co-founder and president of the ARC Education Collaboratory: a network of seven national or provincial systems, their Ministers and professional leaders committed to humanitarian goals in education. He has also co-designed, evaluated, or been an advisor for 8 other networks in the UK, Canada, the US, and Australia. Andy has published more than 30 books and has 8 Outstanding Writing Awards.  He has been honored in Canada, the US, and the UK for services to public education and educational research and is ranked by Education Week (US) as the #16 scholar with the most influence on US education policy debate. Andy’s most recent books are Leadership from the Middle: The Beating Heart of Educational Transformation (Routledge) and (with Dennis Shirley) The Age of Identity: Who Do Our Kids Think They Are?… and How We Can Help Them Belong (Corwin).

Dennis Shirley is Gabelli Faculty Fellow and Professor of Formative Education at the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College. He has conducted research and led professional development workshops for teachers, principals, and affiliated staff in 30 nations in 6 continents and his work has been translated into many languages.  He has been a Visiting Professor at Harvard University in the US, the University of Stavanger in Norway, the University of Barcelona in Spain, the National Institute of Education in Singapore, and Venice International University in Italy.

Dennis works with educators in many countries to help with clarifying their challenges, identifying promising strategies, and implementing and assessing change. He is skilled at breaking down ill-defined problem sets to establish ambitious goals that can be attained with persistence, creativity, and dignity. Combining cutting-edge research with high levels of engagement for the educators charged with educating the young on a daily basis, Dennis is sought-after because of his respect for teachers and administrators and his enjoyment of the pleasures involved in working with students to improve their learning. 

Dennis holds a doctoral degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  In addition to his appointment at Boston College, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London and a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin.