About Professor Verschaffel

Professor Lieven Verschaffel
Professor Lieven Verschaffel

Lieven Verschaffel is Professor of Educational Sciences at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.

His major interests include

  • Teaching and learning of problem-solving;
  • Conceptual change;
  • Number and arithmetic
  • Adaptive expertise
  • Metacognitive and affective aspects of learning;
  • Early mathematics education;
  • Elementary mathematics education;
  • Mathematics and special educational needs.

In addition to receiving many honours and awards for his work, for example, his membership of the Flemish Royal Academia for Sciences and Arts of Belgium (since 2009) and Academia Europeae (since 2010). Lieven Verschaffel has a long history of excellent international plenary speeches. Many of which can be seen on his university department webpage.
Professor Verschaffel was the 2017 recipient of the Svend Pedersen lecture award at the Department of Mathematics and Science Education at Stockholm University


One of the major challenges in (research on) elementary arithmetic is to develop in children a disposition towards adaptive rather than merely routine use of strategies when doing various kinds of arithmetic tasks. Such a disposition towards the development and efficient, flexible and insightful use of a variety of arithmetic strategies has become a major goal of elementary school curricula all over the world. But there are several major issues related to the learning and teaching of such a disposition, such as: What do we exactly mean by efficient, flexible and insightful use of an arithmetic strategy? When to teach for adaptive expertise? How to teach for it? Is it a valuable and feasible goal for all children, including the weaker ones? In this talk these issues will be addressed in general first; afterwards we will exemplarily present a line of studies wherein we have investigated the theme of adaptive expertise in the domain of multi-digit subtraction.


Routine versus adaptive expertise in elementary arithmetic strategies from MND, Stockholms universitet on Vimeo.