27 SES 04 C, Social, Civics and Citizenship Education
The paper is part of the larger research project “Level” that is located at the Goethe University Frankfurt and part of a larger initiative for the improvement of teacher education funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF): Research teams, representing different disciplines of teacher education, collaborate in the creation of a video-based learning platform to develop the professional vision of (pre-service) teachers in academic teacher training with a specific focus on heterogeneous learning groups (Sherin 2002; Sherin/van Es 2009). In this context, our research team that consists of members of the didactic departments in the social sciences, geography, and history, addresses core principles of social science education like fostering autonomous and responsible judgment and participation (Arthur et al. 2008; Henkenborg 2012). With regard to this aim, we understand heterogeneous learning groups not only as a challenge but also as a resource for civic education (Gogolin 2013): Instead of problematising given differences in knowledge and abilities, we suggest to explore differences in students’ perspectives on and concepts of politics. With this intention, we examine the potentials of specific action-oriented instructional methods by analysing video recordings of simulation games which were implemented in (German) civics courses.
In the field of didactics of civic education, simulation games are considered as a very promising method to cultivate acts of autonomous and responsible judgment: during a simulation game students are encouraged to change perspectives so as to accomplish their learning tasks (Engartner et al. 2015). Analysing video footage of these simulation games thus allows us to address two objectives: First, we identify distinct student perspectives on and concepts of politics. Second, we explore the possibilities of fostering students’ competencies of political judgment (Müller 2016) by discussing and reflecting these perspectives and concepts in the final debriefing phase of a simulation game.
In our paper, we present video sequences of a simulation game that we developed specifically for research purposes within the Level project. The interdisciplinary simulation game focused on local land use and was realised twice with ninth- and tenth-grade students of a secondary school in the German federal state of Hesse. The video recordings encompass all phases of the simulation game as well as the preparing lessons. Hence, we are able to analyse the whole learning experience starting with students’ introduction to procedures of local land use and community politics, to their role-taking and performances as members of the local council, and the final debriefing phase.
In presenting our findings, we focus, first, on the identification of heterogeneous perspectives on and concepts of politics within the students’ performances during the different phases of the simulation. Second, we analyse ongoing changes of perspective and further potentials for political learning processes. With this in mind, we evaluate, third, the recorded debriefing process in terms of the benefits and limits that simulation games offer as an instructional method. We conclude with a brief discussion of the requirements and perspectives for academic teacher training to ensure the future understanding of heterogeneous learning groups as a resource for civic education.
The analysis of the videotaped simulation game needs some methodological considerations as regards the interpretation of video data (Rauin/Herrle/Engartner 2016). Even though videographic documentation finds its limits in the self-reflective processes of integrating new experiences, we still argue that reconstructive interpretative work on video data can enable a better understanding of (political) learning in classroom interaction. Following the principles of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis (Breidenstein/Tyagunova 2012), we interpret role-taking during simulations and subsequent reflections in the phase of debriefing as acts of negotiating meaning on a given subject. Furthermore, we read them as processes of political learning (Jehle/Blessing 2014). First, we organise the data in accordance with the method of Ethnographic Microanalysis (Erickson 1992; 2006) and identify relevant sequences in relation to heterogeneous concepts introduced by the students and ongoing or possible changes of perspective. Second, the sequences are micro-analysed based on the assumption that the processes of role-taking and reflection during debriefing can be interpreted as signs of meaning negotiation on the subject matter. In particular, we analyse the discussion and reflection of the heterogeneous concepts performed by students in relation to changes of perspective and processes of political learning. Analysing the debriefing phase – which is the crucial phase for teachers’ and students’ joint actions – we refer also to basic assumptions of Joint Action Theory (Sensevy 2011; 2012; Ligozat/Lundquist/Amade-Escot 2017) and understand the didactic system as an undividable relationship between subject matter, and teachers’ as well as students’ actions. This specific combination of theoretical assumptions and methodological considerations aims for an analysis which takes the interrelationship between instructional methods, actors’ perspectives and their learning dynamics into account. In this way, it sheds light on the potential of heterogeneous learning groups for processes of political learning.
Our paper develops, first, an understanding of heterogeneity in learning group as a potential resource for processes of political learning. Second, we present an empirical investigation of the theoretically assumed potentials of simulation games (Engartner et al. 2015). Based on an exemplary case study, we illuminate the processes of students’ role-taking, performances and reflections in the course of a video-taped simulation game. In doing so, we enable a discussion on how students deal with their own concepts and understandings of politics in the context of action-oriented instructional methods in civics courses. Specifically, we intend to contribute to the actual discussion on adaptive methods in teaching civics by analyzing the specific potentials of the method in relation to both changes of perspectives and fostering political judgment and learning.
Arthur, James/Davies, Ian/Hahn, Carole (Eds.) (2008): The SAGE Handbook of Education for Citizenship and Democracy. Los Angeles et al. Breidenstein, Georg/Tyagunova, Tanja (2012): Ethnomethodologie und Konversationsanalyse. In: Bauer, Ullrich/Bittlingmayer, Uwe H./Scherr, Albert (Hg.): Handbuch Bildungs- und Erziehungssoziologie. Wiesbaden: 387-403. Engartner, Tim/Siewert, Marcus B./Meßner, Maria Th./Borchert, Christiane (2015): Politische Partizipation ‘spielend’ fördern? Charakteristika von Planspielen als didaktisch-methodische Arrangements handlungsorientierten Lernens. In: Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft 25, 2: 189-217. Erickson, Frederick (1992): Ethnographic Microanalysis of Interaction. In: LeCompte, Margaret/ Millroy, Wendy L./Preissle, Judith (Hg.): The Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education. San Diego, London: 201-225. Erickson, Frederick (2006): Definition and Analysis of Data from Videotape: Some Research Procedures and Their Rationales. In: Green, Judith L./Camilli, Gregory/Elmore, Patricia B. (Eds.): Handbook of Complementary Methods in Education Research. Washington D.C., Mahwah: 177-191. Gogolin, Ingrid (2013): Chancen und Risiken nach PISA – über die Bildungsbeteiligung von Migrantenkindern und Reformvorschläge. In: Auernheimer, Georg (Ed.): Schieflagen im Bildungssystem. Die Benachteiligung der Migrantenkinder. Wiesbaden: 33-50. Henkenborg, Peter (2012): Politische Urteilsfähigkeit als politische Kompetenz in der Demokratie – der Dreiklang von Analysieren, Urteilen und Handeln. In: zeitschrift für didaktik der gesellschaftswissenschaften 2: 28-50. Jehle, May/Blessing, Benita (2014): Using Classroom Recordings in Educational History Research. An East German Civics Lesson. In: Journal of Social Science Education 13, 1: 118-136. DOI: 10.2390/jsse-v13-i1-1273. Ligozat, Florence/Lundqvist, Eva/Amade-Escot, Chantal (2017): Analysing the continuity of teaching and learning in classroom actions: When the joint action framework in didactics meets the pragmatist approach to classroom discourses. In: European Educational Research Journals: 1-23. DOI: 10.1177/1474904117701923. Müller, Stefan (2016): Multiperspektivität und Reflexivität als Bezugspunkte politischer Bildung. In: zeitschrift für didaktik der gesellschaftswissenschaften 2: 108-118. Rauin, Udo/Herrle, Matthias/Engartner, Tim (Eds.) (2016): Videoanalysen in der Unterrichtsforschung. Methodische Vorgehensweisen und aktuelle Anwendungsbeispiele. Weinheim. Sensevy, Gérard (2011): Overcoming Fragmentation: Towards a Joint Action Theory in Didactics. In: Hudson, Brian/Meyer, Meinert A. (Eds.): Beyond Fragmentation: Didactics, Learning and Teaching in Europe. Opladen, Farmington Hills: 60-76. Sensevy, Gérard (2012): About the Joint Action Theory in Didactics. In: Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaften 15: 503-516. Sherin, Miriam G. (2002): When Teaching Becomes Learning. In: Cognition and Construction 20, 2: 119-150. Sherin, Miriam G./van Es, Elizabeth A. (2009): Effects of Video Club Participation on Teachers’ Professional Vision. In: Journal of Teacher Education 60, 1: 20-37.
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