Crossing Boundaries in Teacher Education in Germany

Time Wednesday 17:15 - 18:45
Location VMP 8 - Room 208
Speakers Astrid Deseniss, Nicole Masanek, Jochen Heins, Thomas Zabka, Gabriele Kaisern, Anna Barbara Orschulik
Chairs Dietmar Höttecke, Andreas Borowski

In Germany, the structure of teacher education reflects the structure of each of the 16 German state’s school systems. Pre-service teacher education programs address primary and secondary school as well as vocational training. In the following we will focus on the example Hamburg with special emphasis on tracks in primary and secondary school teacher education as the structure of teacher education and its difficulties in Hamburg are reflecting general problems and challenges.

Teacher training programs are strictly divided into a first academic phase at university (5 years) followed by an in-service training phase called “Referendariat” (1.5 years). The academic phase encompasses an undergraduate (Bachelor degree, 3 years) and a graduate program (Master degree, 2 years). Here, pre-service teachers usually take courses in at least two subjects offered by the respective faculties. The faculty of education offers courses in general education, developmental psychology, subject specific teaching and learning, and school pedagogics. Students complete internships at school in both, the Bachelor and the Master program. While the major objective of each of the tracks on university level is to provide subject specific content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge as well as pedagogical content knowledge, the second phase of teacher education enables candidates to be successively immersed into the school system. During the second phase of teacher education teacher candidates are supported by highly professional teacher trainers at a teacher education seminar, in Hamburg the so-called “State Institute for Teacher Education and School Development”. Next to them, in-service teachers act as mentors at school.

The pre-service teacher education program in Hamburg is rather complex reflecting the complexity of any other teacher education program in Germany. Different professionals (university staff in several faculties, teacher trainers, mentors) contribute in different ways (e.g. teaching content, training of specific skills, development of professional beliefs), on different levels (Bachelor, Master, second phase) and at different institutions (university, State Institute, school) to the professionalization of future teachers. What pre-service teachers have to learn is demanding! Teacher training programs have to support professional development towards reflective and effective noticing. This comprises the perception and interpretation of contingent classroom incidents relevant to learning as well as teachers’ decision-making (e.g. changing a lesson plan).  As an indispensable prerequisite, different kinds of professional knowledge have to be presented in ways to allow the development of an integrated, structured and flexible knowledge base.

 The project “Professional Actions of Teachers in Order to Promote Subject-Related Learning” (ProfaLe) funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research aims at crossing boundaries across faculties inside university as well as across university, second phase of teacher education and schools.  Firstly, the symposium briefly introduces into the structure of pre-service teacher training at the University of Hamburg as an example of German teacher education. Secondly, a first field of action in ProfaLe will be presented where scholars teaching a particular subject like German or Mathematics on university level collaborate with scholars at the Faculty of Education. The major objective is to teach subject specific knowledge in more integrated ways towards building stronger connections between content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. Thirdly, a second field of action in ProfaLe will be presented. Here scholars on university level collaborate with professional teacher educators from the State Institute as well as with mentors at school. Their collaboration is aiming at an intensified exchange of professional teachers’ and pre-service teachers’ perspectives on teaching and learning.

The presentations close with a summary of findings from both kinds of boundary-crossing and draws conclusions for teacher training. The symposium closes with a discussion presented by Prof. Andreas Borowski (University Potsdam).

EERA Going Green

As part of the commitment of EERA to ensuring that our annual European Conference on Educational Research (ECER) is as sustainable as possible, we were delighted to work with the local organisers of our Hamburg 2019 conference to develop our 'Green Agenda'.  Watch this videoto learn more!

To cover and document the conference from a student’s perspective, Josephine Hohberg, a masterstudent in Hamburg, will blog and report on her #ECER2019 experience.
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