Keynote Speakers

Prof. Dr. Kobus Maree
University of Pretoria
Faculty of Education

Keynote Title: “Facilitating autobiographicity to promote gifted and talented learners’ self-designing and career construction” & “Connecting conscious knowledge with subconscious insights”

Abstract: An exponential increase in the rate of change forces people to deal with repeated transitions at all levels of their existence. These transitions are often difficult to handle and give rise to feelings of vulnerability and concern. Events such as the recent economic meltdown, major changes in the global economy, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in particular, have given rise to downsizing, retrenchments, rising unemployment, as well as insecurity and uncertainty at all levels – prompting spiralling unemployment rates globally.

The developments delineated above call for a strong response from theoreticians, researchers, practitioners, and policy makers. This paper explicates the theory and conceptual framework underlying an innovative, integrative (qualitative+quantitative) approach to (career) counselling for gifted and talented learners. This approach aims to help gifted learners connect what they know about themselves consciously with what they are aware about themselves subconsciously.

The paper explains that, globally, millions of gifted and talented learners have never been given a fair chance in life to design themselves and choose and construct their careers meaningfully. These learners (from across the diversity spectrum) may have made substantial contributions to humankind. The world may have lost the likes of a Mother Teresa, a Mark Savickas, an Albert Einstein, a Sigmund Freud, a Nelson Mandela, a Kofi Annan, or so many other luminaries. Lastly, this paper shows how learners’ ‘stories’ (information obtained from qualitative approaches) can be blended with their (test) ‘scores’ (information obtained from quantitative approaches (test ‘scores’)). Achieving this aim can help (career) counsellors identify giftedness and talent and help learners experience or rekindle a sense of meaning, hope, and purpose in their lives and contribute to positive transformation and societal advancement globally.

Bio: Prof.  Kobus  Maree  (DEd  (Career  Counselling);  PhD  (Learning  Facilitation  in  Mathematics);  DPhil (Psychology))  is  a  full  Professor  in  the  Department  of  Educational  Psychology  at  the  University  of Pretoria. His main research interests are career construction (counselling), life design (counselling), emotional‐social  intelligence  and  social  responsibility,  and  learning  facilitation  in  mathematics.  He links research results to appropriate career choices and to life designing.

Past editor of a number of scholarly journals, for instance, the South African Journal of Psychology, managing  editor  of  Gifted  Education  International,  regional  editor  for  Southern  Africa:  Early  Child Development  and  Care,  and  a  member  of  several  national  and  international  bodies,  including  the Society  for  Vocational  Psychology  (SVP)  (USA),  the  International  Association  of  Applied  Psychology (IAAP)  (USA),  the  Psychology  Association  of  South  Africa  (SA),  and  the  Association  of  Science  of South  Africa  (ASSAf).  In  2009,  he  was  awarded  the  Stals  Prize  of  the  South  African  Academy  of Science  and  Arts  for  exceptional  research  and  contributions  to  Psychology.  In  June  2014,  he  was awarded the Stals prize for exceptional research and contributions to Education, and he received the Psychological  Society  of  South  Africa’s  (PsySSA)  Award  for  Excellence  in  Science  during  the  20th South  African  Psychology  Congress  in  September  2014.  Prof.  Maree  was  awarded  Honorary Membership  of  the  Golden  Key  International  Honour  Society  for  exceptional  academic achievements, leadership skills and community involvement in October 2014. He was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal for Teaching and Learning from the University of Pretoria in 2010 and has been
nominated successfully as an  Exceptional Academic Achiever on  four consecutive occasions (2003‐ 2016). He has a B1 rating from the National Research Foundation (the highest rating in the history of the faculty).

Prof. Maree has authored or co‐authored 100 +  peer‐reviewed articles and 55 books/ book chapters on career counselling, research and related topics since 2009. In the same period, he supervised 30 doctoral theses and Master’s dissertations and read keynote papers at 20 +  international and at 20 + national conferences (e.g. Australia, Croatia, Egypt, France, Hungary, India, Italy, Mauritius, Poland, South  Africa,  Turkey,  and  the  USA;  e.g.  one  of  the  State‐of‐the‐Science  speakers  (Division  16: Counselling Psychology) at the International Congress of Applied Psychology, the flagship event on the  international  psychology  calendar,  held  in  Paris  in  July,  2014.  Topic:  Connecting  life‐themes  to construct  self‐portraits.  He  has  also  presented  numerous  invited  workshops  at  conferences  across the world on a) integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches in career counselling, and b) the art  and  science  of  writing  scholarly  articles.  Over  the  past  seven  years,  he  has  spent  a  lot  of  time abroad.  For  instance,  he  accepted  invitations  to  spend  time  as  a  visiting  professor  at  various universities  where  he  presented  workshops  on  e.g.  contemporary  developments  in  career
counselling, article writing, and research methodology. Prof. Maree was awarded a fellowship of the IAAP at the ICAP Conference in Paris in July, 2014.

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