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Master Pedagogical Sciences: Youth at Risk (track)

Teaching staff

Pedagogical Sciences: Youth at Risk

Below our professors introduce themselves.

  • Alithe van den Akker, Programme coordinator, teaches the course Risk and Resilience Processes in Children and Adolescents
    Alithe van de Akker, POW, Youth at Risk

    'I am especially proud of the level of expertise that the guest-lecturers contribute to the course, providing students with the opportunity to be introduced to the most up-to-date knowledge on how factors located at different levels of the child’s ecology together determine children’s psychosocial adjustment. My mission is to help students understand how the diverse topics covered by these experts (such as child maltreatment, attachment, self-regulation, and mild intellectual disability) are intricately connected in determining risk and resilience in child development. The diversity of views that students in the Youth at Risk track bring to the course make teaching this course especially fun and interesting for me.

    As an aside, please note the course takes place during the season for the traditional Dutch winter treat of ‘pepernoten’. Last year I learned about ‘truffle pepernoten’  from students in the course (a new and very much improved version) and I am determined to pass this knowledge on to students upcoming years.'

  • Geert-Jan Stams, Professor of Forensic Orthopedagogics: Severe behavioral and child-rearing problems
    Geert Jan Stams
    Geert-Jan Stams, Professor of Forensic Orthopedagogics

    'My research and teaching primarily focus on severe behavioral and child-rearing problems in early childhood through young adulthood in which judicial interventions are imposed by criminal law (targeting juvenile delinquency) and civil law (targeting child maltreatment) or in which judicial intervention may be prevented through timely prevention.

    Most of my research focuses on youths’ moral development, juvenile delinquency, child maltreatment, effects of institutional care (e.g., group climate), child-caregiver relationship quality (e.g., parental sensitivity, child-caregiver attachment, (in)formal mentoring relationships). I think it is crucially important to focus research and teaching on the effectiveness of (forensic) youth care interventions under clinically representative conditions.

    Last but not least, over the years I have acquired considerable expertise in conducting meta-analyses in the domain of child and youth care interventions, child development and child-rearing.'

  • Geertjan Overbeek, Professor of Child Development: The effectiveness of preventive parenting interventions
    Prof Geertjan Overbeek
    Geertjan Overbeek, Professor of Child Development

    'Harmful family experiences early in life may have huge consequences for the development of children in the long run - even into adolescence and adulthood. Many problems such as youth delinquency, depression and anxiety, and school drop-out can be traced back to early negative family experiences. Instead of “diagnostically tagging” families and children when things have gotten out of hand and problems have already exacerbated, I think it is much more helpful to work from a preventive focus, empowering families and children and making use of their strengths and positive functioning where possible. This is why I do research on the effectiveness of preventive parenting interventions and want to teach students in this Master’s track to critically evaluate research that informs our practice with parents and children, to learn how to develop and implement these interventions in practice.'

  • Jokelien van Houten, Internship Coordinator
    Jokelien van Houten, POW, Youth at Risk

    'As coordinator of the internship module, my mission is to offer every student an in-depth learning experience and the opportunity to develop personally as well as professionally. Our graduates can make a valuable contribution to the wellbeing of children and their families. This is why a real-life experience through an internship is so important.

    Outside of work, I am married and have two teenagers and two cats. I love traveling and whenever we are on holiday, we enjoy playing games such as photo competitions and scavenger hunts.'

  • Marjolein Zee, teacher and course coordinator, teaches the course Youth’s School Adjustment
    Marjolein Zee

    'When I was eleven years old, my elementary school teacher told me my work habits and academic skills were not worth a penny and that I would never make it through college.  As I was really not a bad student, I never quite understood why he disliked me so much. Now, after years of study, I know that children’s behaviors, (dis)abilities, needs, and other characteristics, from the very first moment they enter the classroom, may evoke various reactions from their teachers. These reactions may determine teachers’ beliefs about their capability to deal with individual students, affect the way teachers interact with these children, and may be vital in the formation of high-quality relationships with them. How does the interplay between child and teacher characteristics influence children’s social-emotional and academic development? How can the course of children’s development in schools and classrooms be altered by prevention and intervention efforts?

    My mission as a teacher and course coordinator of the course Youth’s School Adjustment is to clarify these issues from a transactional and dyadic point of view and show how seemingly minor risk factors, including child characteristics (e.g., gender, ethnic background, temperament), grade retention, and poor student-teacher relationships, can have a huge impact on children’s development, both during the school years and beyond. I hope this course helps you realize that teachers are crucial players in the school experiences of their students, both at the classroom and individual level.'

  • Peter de Jong, Professor of Psychology and Education (Orthopedagogics): School Adjustment
    Dhr. prof. dr. (Peter) de Jong
    Peter de Jong, Professor of Psychology and Education (Orthopedagogics)

    'My main interests concern the development of academic skills (language, reading and arithmetic) and the etiology, diagnosis and treatment of developmental disorders. In many children and youth achievement and emotional functioning at school are at risk. There is an urgent need for knowledge about the parental and school factors (e.g., SES, home chaos, teacher-child relations and adaptive instruction) that elevate or buffer these risks.  Moreover, we need to disentangle the genetic and cultural transmission of developmental disorders from parents to their children and which cultural factors that can be affected by interventions. I am delighted that these issues are addressed in this Master’s programme.'

  • Terrence Jorgensen, assistant professor, teaches Methods and Statistics
    Terrence Jorgensen, POW, Youth at Risk

    Terrence Jorgensen is an assistant professor, originally from the United States, so he enjoys the international environment of the Youth at Risk program. 

    He teaches YAR's Masterclass in Methods and Statistics from the perspective that statistical models represent hypotheses about how an aspect of the world works.  Furthermore, theories can be tested by comparing how closely observed data correspond to the statistical models that represent competing hypotheses.  He likes teaching from this model-comparison perspective because it provides a unifying framework for understanding many basic and advanced statistical methods that superficially appear quite different.