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Dr. G.M. (Geerte) Savenije

Universitair Docent
Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen
Programme group: Domain Specific Learning
Fotograaf: Geerte Savenije

  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 127
  • Kamernummer: D8.24
  • Postbus 15776
    1001 NG Amsterdam
  • Profile and projects

    As an assistant professor in the research group 'Domain Specific Learning' of the Research Institute of Child Development and Education at the University of Amsterdam, I conduct research in the learning and teaching of history in secondary education. My key interests are: sensitive historical topics, the skill of historical perspective taking and learning history in museums and heritage institutions.

    Next to my research activities, I work as a teacher trainer at the Graduate School of Child Development and Education at the University of Amsterdam.


    Teaching critical thinking about controversial issues: the potential of an integrative approach 

    Stephan Venmans, Saskia Arbon, Carla van Boxtel, Jaap Schuitema, Tessa van Schijndel en Geerte Savenije 

    This project aims aim to develop and test an integrative approach towards the teaching of critical thinking about controversial issues (integrating general critical thinking skills, subject-specific skills and knowledge and moral reasoning skills). In two projects, in science and history education, we develop an instrument to measure students’ understanding of the role of evidence and values in different types of controversies and investigate to what extent secondary students demonstrate this understanding. In addition, we investigate the effects of the integrated approach on students’ understanding of the role of evidence and values in different types of controversies, their critical thinking about specific controversial issues, general critical thinking skills, moral reasoning skills and use of subject-specific knowledge.

    Dialogic teaching of sensitive historical topics 

    Bregje Prent, Carla van Boxtel, Jannet van Drie en Geerte Savenije 

    This project studies teachers' dialogic teaching about sensitive historical topics. It focuses in particular on their discussion of multiple perspectives and the ethical dimension of sensitive historical topics. The first study examines teachers' and students' experiences of whole-class discussion about sensitive topics and the ways multiple perspectives and the ethical dimension are addressed during these conversations. In the second study a teaching series will be developed. A third and fourth study examine the effects of a professional development program on 1) teachers' ability to teach dialogically about sensitive issues and 2) students' understanding of multiple perspectives and values in sensitive historical topics and their ability to participate in conversations about sensitive historical topics .  

    Historical narratives and sensitive histories in Dutch history classrooms 

    Gijs van Gaans, Carla van Boxtel, Arnoud-Jan Bijsterveld en Geerte Savenije 

    This research aims to gain insight in the ways multiple historical narratives play a role in the history classroom when discussing sensitive topics. The study explores which historical events, actors and phenomena students from diverse backgrounds and their teachers (fourth year of the Dutch secondary education (HAVO 4)) deem most significant. Using the LISA method, a method used in spiritual counselling (Kruizinga 2015), we study the narrative plots they use to bring these together into meaningful narratives and how they employ their narratives to orient themselves in their current world and to their future. In a full year observation study, we examine how the different narratives present in the classroom interact when discussing sensitive histories.

    Reasoning about societal problems: design and implementation of instructional approaches in social science education 

    Thomas Klijnstra, Carla van Boxtel en Geerte Savenije 

    This project focuses on the design and implementation of (educative) curriculum materials that support both student and teacher learning. The first study alyzes the quality of students' reasoning to identify frequently occurring flaws and define levels of reasoning. Rubrics are constructed to help both teachers and students better understand the reasoning skills that are aimed at. The second study is conducted at two schools to design and test materials and activities that promote students' reasoning. In the third study, the materials and activities will be used in a professional development program (PDP) for social science teachers to investigate to what extent the educative curriculum materials contribute to teachers’ professional growth related to the teaching of social scientific reasoning.  

    Stimulating empathy in history education 

    Hanneke Bartelds, Carla van Boxtel en Geerte Savenije 

    This project focuses on the contribution of history education to students' understanding and appreciation of empathy. The first study is an interview study to examine teahcers' and students' beliefs about historical empathy and genral empathy. Second, in an intervention study, the effect of inviting eye witnesses in the classroom will be compared to using documentary film. A third and fourth study examine the ways in which history teachers' supervise such lessons and how they can be professionalised in their supervision.  

    Objects in perspective: using questions in museums to start discussion about sensitive topics in the history classroom 

    Pieter de Bruijn, Geerte Savenije, Albert Logtenberg, Guido Goijens, Timo Epping, Diana Timmer, Erik van Zetten, Rutger van Houwelingen en Naomi Nagtegaal

    This project aimed to strengthen teacher education with regard to teaching pre-service teachers to teach about sensitive topics. To add to existing general didactical approaches, we developed a domain specific training. The training focuses on the asking of historical questions to museum objects in three dimensions of time to show that the ways in which topics are considered to be sensitive changes over time and context. 

    ISCH Cost Action IS1205 researchers network ‘Social psychological dynamics of historical representations in the enlarged European Union’

    The aim of the COST Action was to advance knowledge on the role played by social representations of history in processes of ethnic, national, and European identities construction and intergroup conflicts. It coordinated research on 1) the psychological antecedents of lay representations of history; 2) their content and structure; 3) their transmission through history textbooks and other media; and 4) their social psychological effects in shaping attitudes. Findings of a study on history teachers' perceptions of and experiences with the teaching of sensitive historical topics in 10 countries across Europe are now translated into a special issue. 

    Academic Work Place 'Metacognition'

    This community of teachers in secondary educations, teacher educators and researchers conducts practice-oriented research into enhancing students' metacognitive skills in secondary school. As one of the researchers I'm involved in a study to develop a questionnaire to test teachers' self-efficacy in teaching students to use metacognitive skills. 

    Professional Learning Community (PLG) 'Thinking and reasoning in writing tasks in the domain of Human and Society'

    In this community of teachers in secondary education, we developed teaching materials and approaches to improve pupils' reasoning skills and writing skills in history, social studies, economy and geography. I was involved as supervisor. The teaching materials and evaluations are presented in: Savenije, G.M. (Ed.) (2018). Denken en redeneren in schrijftaken bij de mens-en maatschappijvakken. Lesmateriaal ontwikkeld in een professionele leergemeenschap. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Landelijk Expertisecentrum Mens- en Maatschappijvakken.

  • Publicaties


    • Savenije, G. M., Wansink, B. G. J., & Logtenberg, A. (2022). Dutch history teachers' perceptions of teaching the topic of Islam while balancing distance and proximity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 112.




    • Goldberg, T., & Savenije, G. M. (2018). Teaching Controversial Historical Issues. In S. A. Metzger, & L. McArthur Harris (Eds.), The Wiley International Handbook of History Teaching and Learning (pp. 503-526). (The Wiley Handbooks in Education). Wiley Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119100812.ch19 [details]



    • Savenije, G. M. (2016). An intriguing historical trace or heritage? Learning about another person’s heritage in an exhibition addressing WWII. In C. van Boxtel, M. Grever, & S. Klein (Eds.), Sensitive Pasts: Questioning Heritage in Education (pp. 218-239). (Making sense of history; Vol. 27). Berghahn Books. [details]



    • Savenije, G. M. (2011). Discussion in chains. Pupils' ideas about slavery heritage. In C. A. M. van Boxtel, S. R. E. Klein, & E. Snoep (Eds.), Heritage education. Challenges in dealing with the past (pp. 32-39). Erfgoed Nederland.



    • Logtenberg, A., de Bruijn, P., Epping, T., Goijens, G., & Savenije, G. (2020). Objecten in perspectief: Vragen in het museum als opening voor het bespreken van gevoelige onderwerpen in de geschiedenisles. Dimensies : tijdschrift voor didactiek van de mens- en maatschappijvakken, 1, 4-23. https://dimensies.nu/objecten-in-perspectief/ [details]
    • Wansink, B., Logtenberg, A., Savenije, G., Storck, E., & Pelgrom, A. (2020). Come fare lezione su gli aspetti ancora vivi e sensibili della storia passata? La rete delle prospettive. Novecento.org, 14, [342]. https://doi.org/10.12977/nov342 [details]


    • Janssenswillen, P., Wansink, B., & Savenije, G. M. (2019). Multiperspectiviteit als vliegwiel voor historisch denken. Hermes : tijdschrift voor geschiedenis, 23(2), 15-20. [details]
    • Savenije, G., Logtenberg, A., & Wansink, B. (2019). Conflicterende perspectieven in het klaslokaal: Onderzoek naar gevoelige geschiedenis. Kleio. Tijdschrift van de Vereniging van Docenten in Geschiedenis en Staatsinrichting in Nederland, 60(5), 4-7. https://www.vgnkleio.nl/2019/didactiek-artikelen-kleio-5-2019/ [details]




    • van Boxtel, C., de Bruijn, P., Grever, M., Klein, S., & Savenije, G. (2010). Dicht bij het verleden: wat kunnen erfgoedlessen bijdragen aan het leren van geschiedenis? Kleio, 51(7), 18-21. [details]


    • Logtenberg, A., Savenije, G. M., de Bruijn, P., Epping, T., & Goijens, G. (2020). Teaching sensitive topics: Training history teachers in collaboration with the museum. Paper presented at AERA 2020: Annual Meeting the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, California, United States.


    • Savenije, G. M., & Goldberg, T. (2019). Silences in a climate of voicing: Teachers’ perceptions of silencing sensitive historical issues. 233. Paper presented at 18th biennial conference of the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction (EARLI 2019), Aachen, Germany.
    • Savenije, G. M., Wansink, B., & Logtenberg, A. (2019). Epistemology and social identity in history teachers’ experiences with teaching sensitive issues. 80. Paper presented at 18th biennial conference of the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction (EARLI 2019), Aachen, Germany.


    • Savenije, G. M., Wansink, B., & Logtenberg, A. (2018). Teaching sensitive issues in History education. Teachers’ experiences, epistemological and moral beliefs and perceptions of students’ social identities. Paper presented at AERA 2018: Annual Meeting the American Educational Research Association, New York City, New York, United States.


    • Savenije, G. M. (2017). Adopting a historical perspective regarding sensitive topics in history. Paper presented at AERA 2017: Annual Meeting the American Educational Research Association, San Antonio, Texas, United States.


    • Savenije, G. M. (2016). Taking the other perspective in sensitive topicsTeachers’ beliefs and pupils’ responses in class. Paper presented at Final COST ACTION IS1205 Conference: Agents through Time: How Do People “Make History”?, Limerick, Ireland.


    • Savenije, G. M., & van Boxtel, C. A. M. (2015). Stimulating critical reflection on sensitive heritage in urban classrooms during musem visits. Paper presented at JURE 2015 (Junior researchers' pre-conference of EARLI), Limassol, Cyprus.
    • Savenije, G. M., & van Boxtel, C. A. M. (2015). Stimulating critical reflection on sensitive heritage in urban classrooms during museum visits. Paper presented at 16th Biennial conference of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI) 2015, Limassol, Cyprus.


    • Savenije, G. M. (2014). 'Best PhD thesis of the year 2014' by the Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities.
    • Savenije, G. M. (2009). 'Best Master’s Thesis Presentation 2009' by the Graduate School of Education of the Radboud University Nijmegen.


    • Savenije, G. (2017-2018). Member of the advisory board of the educational project 'Dansen met de vijand', Funded by the Roosje Glaser Foundation.
    • Savenije, G. (2015-2016). Member of the ISCH Cost Action IS1205 researchers network ‘Social psychological dynamics of historical representations in the enlarged European Union’, COST network funding (EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020).



    • Savenije, G. (speaker) (24-1-2020). Standbeeldgebondenheid: objecten in perspectief bij controversiële thema’s in de klas, Nascholing geschiedenis ILO-UvA, Amsterdam.
    • Savenije, G. (speaker) (4-10-2019). Lesgeven over controversiële thema’s. Betekenis van het Nederlands slavernijverleden, Onderwijsmiddag voor de opening van de Grote Suriname Tentoonstelling, Amsterdam.
    • Savenije, G. (speaker) (3-10-2019). Lesgeven over controversiële thema's, Dag van de Geschiedenisdidactiek 2019, Groningen. https://www.rug.nl/gmw/lerarenopleiding/professionalisering/geschiedenis/calendar/dag-van-de-geschiedenisdidactiek-2019_-fake-news_
    • Savenije, G. (speaker) (2-2-2019). Lesgeven over controversiële thema’s, Docentendag Maatschappijleer 2019, Den Haag.
    • Savenije, G. (speaker) (31-1-2019). Dutch teachers' and pupils' moral and epistemological beliefs when changing perspectives on sensitive history, The Sensitive Past in History and Heritage Education: Italy & the Netherlands, Rome.
    • Savenije, G. (invited speaker) (1-12-2017). Lesgeven over gevoelige onderwerpen: Empathie, multiperspectiviteit in dialoog, 'Gevoelig erfgoed in perspectief’, organised by Meesterschap Cultuureducatie, The Hague.
    • Savenije, G. (invited speaker) (22-11-2017). De Tweede Wereldoorlog: over ‘ons’ oorlogserfgoed, Meeting of the advisory board of the educational project ‘Dansen met de vijand’, Utrecht.
    • Savenije, G. (invited speaker) (15-5-2017). Gevoelig erfgoed in de geschiedenisles. Perspectief, empathie en standplaatsgebondenheid, RUG Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
    • Savenije, G. M. (speaker) (16-1-2015). Een erfgoedproject over WOII: begrijpen wat erfgoed is, Lezing bij de Spoorzoekersbijeenkomst - Professionele Leergemeenschap (PLG) van de Universiteit Leiden, Leiden, NL.
    • Savenije, G. M. (speaker) (24-11-2014). Leeropbrengsten van een erfgoedproject over WOII: Begrijpen wat erfgoed is, Onderzoeksconferentie Cultuureducatie [Research Conference on Cultural Education] organised by LKCA (Landelijk Kennisinstituut Cultuureducatie en Amateurkunst), Utrecht, The Netherlands.
    • Savenije, G. M. (invited speaker) (14-10-2014). Erfgoed in de geschiedenisles, Gastcollege Hogeschool Rotterdam, Rotterdam.
    • Savenije, G. (speaker) (11-3-2014). Objects and the attribution of significance. ‘Our’ heritage of the War in a multicultural classroom, Leren van de Oorlog. Honderd lessen over de Tweede Wereldoorlog, Rotterdam.
    • Savenije, G. M. (speaker) (6-6-2013). Learning about heritage of WWII in multicultural classrooms, International conference 'Tangible pasts? Questioning heritage education', organised by the Centre for Historical Culture and LKCA (Landelijk Kennisinstituut Cultuureducatie en Amateurkunst), Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
    • Savenije, G. M. (speaker) (28-4-2013). Imagining the slavery past and attributing significance using heritage, Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA 2013), San Francisco, CA.
    • van Boxtel, C. A. M. (speaker) & Savenije, G. (speaker) (5-11-2012). Erfgoed als primaire bron voor instructie: verbeelden, onderzoeken en betekenis geven, Presentatie op de Landelijke Netwerkdag Erfgoededucatie, Lelystad, NL.
    • Savenije, G. M. (speaker) (12-7-2012). Between identity and identification: sensitive heritage in a multicultural classroom, Fourth Annual Conference van het Centre for Learner Identity Studies (Edge Hill University), Liverpool, United Kingdom.
    • Savenije, G. M. (speaker) (20-9-2011). Learning about slavery heritage. Students’ entrance narratives and their experiences in a museum, Annual Conference of the International Committee for Education and Cultural Action of the International Council of Museums (ICOM-CECA), Zagreb, Croatia.
    • Savenije, G. M. (speaker) (31-8-2011). Learning about slavery heritage. Students’ entrance narratives and their ideas on significance, 14th biennial conference of the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction (EARLI), Exeter, United Kingdom.
    • van Boxtel, C. A. M. (speaker) & Savenije, G. (speaker) (7-4-2010). Erfgoededucatie in de multiculturele klas, Presentatie op de Conferentie Pabonetwerken Natuur, Milieu & Techniek, Aardrijkskunde en Geschiedenis: De Rijke Leeromgeving, Utrecht.


    • Savenije, G. M. (2014). Sensitive History under Negotiation: Pupils' Historical Imagination and Attribution of Significance while Engaged in Heritage Projects.
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
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