German Teachers’ Digital Habitus and Their Pandemic Pedagogy

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


After closing public schools in early 2020 to slow the spread of Covid-19, attempts to provide continuity of education in Germany by means of digital tools faltered in variety of ways, with insufficient competence and inadequate technology leading to inequitable access and uneven implementation. Understanding how German teachers were caught unprepared in this time of crisis, especially in comparison with their European neighbors, requires an examination of their habitus as discussed by Bourdieu and Wacquant (1992) that accounts for their behaviors beyond existing models regarding technology acceptance. Drawing on existing sociological and media-related studies, this contribution will describe the attitudes of German teachers and educational decision-makers in light of their digital, cultural, and educational habitus to provide a partial explanatory account for the current state of affairs. It will show how traditional skepticism for innovation among teachers in general, and German teachers in particular, is reinforced by demographic and sociological characteristics of the German teacher population and the nature of German schooling. After describing extant conditions regarding digitally mediated educational experiences during the initial Covid-19 phase in Germany based on emerging data, this article will subsequently identify prospective issues in this area in the near future. While the transition to digital teaching and learning has the potential to bring about a number of challenges, early data suggests that a possibility of significant positive development may occur as well. Based on these indications, the article will conclude with implications for teacher professionalization going forward.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPostdigital Science and Education
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)879-905
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 10.2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).