On the impact of institutional factors on general pedagogical knowledge

Activity: Talk or presentationGuest lecturesResearch

Andreas Seifert - Oral presentation

    Teacher education in Germany is in the focus of numerous reform debates since many years. In a country report of the international comparative study Teacher Education and Development Study – Learning to Teach Mathematics (TEDS-M) König and Blömeke (in print) give a detailed overview of different topics of the year 2008 - the point of data collection in the TEDS-M study and the LEK study. The following issues were identified:
     Stratification of teacher education linked to the German school system, especially to the different school types of lower secondary school,
     Distribution of areas of educational policy on federal and regional levels,
     Curricular adjustment, for instance the relationship between theory and practice, or the weighting between content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge and general pedagogical knowledge in teacher education,
     Integration between the first and second phase of teacher education,
     Coordination of the university departments involved with teacher education.
    Reports of teacher education with descriptions on the systemic level like those of the TEDS-M studies (König & Blömeke, in print), the education network of the European Union Eurydice and the OECD- study Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers (OECD, 2005) confirm the special position of the German school system in international comparisons.
    The control of teacher education in Germany is located on federal level. There are differences in school types and levels between the federal states. The results reveal regional-specific differences in teaching education in the fields of traditional study, examination and training regulations. To coordinate central questions concerning education, research and culture in the federal states, the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder (KMK) was founded in 1948. Concerning teacher education, the agreements of the federal states regarding the recognition of degrees or the educational standards set by the KMK (KMK, 2004a; 2004b) are good examples for the coordination between the federal states. The international comparison shows that Germany is one of the few countries with control over structure and contents of teacher education located on national as well as regional level. It can be assumed that reform processes may be difficult.
    While the results of the classification of the German teacher education system in the international comparison of the TEDS-M countries aim on showing main characteristics of structure and organization of teacher education – possibly linked to cultural differences of the participating countries – another part of the reform debates is about the internationalization of the post-secondary education as well as the change of perspective in the control of institutional teaching-learning processes (cf. Blömeke & König, 2010c; König & Blömeke, 2010c): Teacher education in Germany is changing from an input-oriented to an output-oriented control as a reaction of the Bologna Declaration and the measures taken accordingly (cf. in detail König & Blömeke, in print). The formulation of educational standards through the KMK (KMK, 2004b; 2008) could be seen as a first step by universities in adapting their curriculum programs to the general framework of the KMK (2004).

    Research question
    The contents of German teacher education (especially educational science) are deemed to be highly arbitrary. The outcome is uncertain as there is a lack of longitudinal research evaluating the efficiency of pedagogical education so far. The study “LEK” (Längsschnittliche Erhebung pädagogischer Kompetenzen von Lehramtsstudierenden) was designed to address these problems. Two tests focusing on general pedagogical knowledge of future teachers (König et al., 2011; Seifert & Schaper, 2010) were designed and applied in the first and fourth semester of the students´ degree program. Additionally, study and examination regulations of four participating universities from three federal states were analyzed and compared. The purpose of these studies was to generate approaches to explain differences in the development of performance.

    To analyze curricula, a distinction is made between an intended, an implemented and an attained curriculum (cf. McDonnell, 1995). The analysis of the study and examination regulations is part of the intended curriculum. First, all modules of the educational science study program are listed and compared with each other.
    The next step is the content analysis of the competencies and the areas of cognitive requirement. The competencies are attached to four areas of content which can be found in the curricula of the University of Paderborn and the University of Passau. The three areas of cognitive requirement are adapted from the two tests of the LEK study (König et al., 2011; Seifert & Schaper, 2010): area 1 = reproducing, area 2 = analyzing, reflecting and area 3 = evaluating, creating.
    The last step of the curriculum analysis is a comparison of the contents of the study program of educational science from the four universities. The contents were added to the framework of the KMK (2004) with the following main contents: (1) education; (2) teacher profession; (3) didactic and methodology; (4) learning, development, and socialization as well as motivation for learning and achievement; (5) differentiation, integration, and promotion as well as diagnostics, evaluation, and counseling; (6) media education; (7) school development and educational research.

    First results show the differences of the reform debates in the Länder. Therefore, the four universities (Erfurt, Köln, Paderborn, and Passau) differ greatly in extent, contents and areas of cognitive requirement. Nevertheless, an implicit core curriculum is visible and the performance develops in a homogeneous manner. These results imply that German universities have proceeded to adapt their curriculum programs to the general framework of the KMK (2004). The findings lead to important implications for the educational development at university. Furthermore, these insights could be a basis for political decisions.

    The allegation of the reform debates, that the educational science is highly arbitrary is partially confirmed by the analysis of the curricula. Even though there are great structural differences, at least at the content level the educational standards set by the KMK were represented. The identification of the areas of cognitive requirement of the competencies to be achieved is a problem. The identification is hampered by a big choice of modules (the only exception is the University of Paderborn) and the different formulations of the competencies of the educational standards on different areas of cognitive requirements (cf. Terhart et al., 2010).

    Blömeke, S. & König, J. (2010c). Sozio-ökonomischer, bildungspolitischer und schulischer Kontext der Sekundarstufenlehrerausbildung im internationalen Vergleich. In S. Blömeke, G. Kaiser & R. Lehmann (Hrsg.), TEDS-M 2008 – Professionelle Kompetenz und Lerngelegenheiten angehender Mathematiklehrkräfte im internationalen Vergleich (S. 39-53). Münster: Waxmann.
    KMK (2004a). Sekretariat der Ständigen Konferenz der Kultusminister der Länder in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Standards für die Lehrerbildung: Bildungswissenschaften. Beschluss der Kultusministerkonferenz vom 16.12.2004.
    KMK (2004b). Standards für die Lehrerbildung: Bericht der Arbeitsgruppe.
    KMK (2008). Ländergemeinsame inhaltliche Anforderungen für die Fachwissenschaften und Fachdidaktiken in der Lehrerinnen- und Lehrerbildung. Beschluss der Kultusministerkonferenz vom 16. Oktober 2008.
    König, J. & Blömeke, S. (2010c). Sozio-ökonomischer, bildungspolitischer und schulischer Kontext der Primarstufenlehrerausbildung im internationalen Vergleich. In S. Blömeke, G. Kaiser & R. Lehmann (Hrsg.), TEDS-M 2008 – Professionelle Kompetenz und Lerngelegenheiten angehender Primarstufenlehrkräfte im internationalen Vergleich (S. 39-53). Münster: Waxmann.
    König, J, Blömeke, S., Paine, L., Schmidt, B. & Feng-Jui Hsieh (2011). General Pedagogical Knowledge of Future Middle School Teachers. On the Complex Ecology of Teacher Education in the United States, Germany, and Taiwan. Journal of Teacher Education, 62 (2), 188-201.
    König, J. & Blömeke, S. (in print). TEDS-M Country Report on Teacher Education in Germany. Erscheint in: Policy, practice, and readiness to teach primary and secondary mathematics. The teacher education and development study in mathematics international report. Vol. 1: National polices and regulatory arrangements for the mathematics preparation of future teachers.
    McDonnell, L. M. (1995). Opportunity to learn as a research concept and a policy instrument. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 17(3), 305-322.
    OECD (2005). Teachers Matter. Attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers. Paris: OECD.
    Seifert, A. & Schaper, N. (2010). Überprüfung eines Kompetenzmodells und Messinstruments zur Strukturierung allgemeiner pädagogischer Kompetenz in der universitären Lehrerbildung. Lehrerbildung auf dem Prüfstand, 3 (2), 179-198.
    Terhart, E., Lohmann, V., & Seidel, V. (2010). Die bildungswissenschaftlichen Studien in der universitären Lehrerbildung. Eine Analyse aktueller Studienordnungen und Modulhandbücher an Universitäten in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Unveröffentlichter Bericht. Universität Münster: Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft.

    Three questions to be discussed with the audience
    We would like to discuss:
    1. These results with European partners in a comparative perspective.
    2. The question of expanding the study to a European context and to find partners.
    3. The application of these results in practical, political contexts.


    EARLI SIG 11 Conference 2012: Teaching and Teacher Education in an Era of Accountability – What do we know and what do we need to know?


    Bergen, Norway

    Event: Conference