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Emerging Group: Proving the Effectiveness of Teacher Education

Funding: Funding program for top-level research at the University of Cologne, Excellent Research Support Program

Duration: Start April 2023


Teacher education has been criticized for decades: In addition to the repeatedly mentioned problems such as lack of effectiveness, lack of coherence of curricular offerings, lack of practical training, there are also current challenges of inclusive education, digitalization or wellbeing (e.g. mental health in educational institutions). The subject-specific nature of school learning is also central to this, which makes it necessary to address the aforementioned problems from a domain-specific perspective.

The University of Cologne (UoC) is one of the largest locations for teacher training in Germany and Europe. The range of courses includes all teaching qualifications, offers a variety of (school) subjects and is particularly characterized by a very broad-based special education. In recent years, individual measures, interdisciplinary collaborative projects and initiatives - including in the context of the IZeF - have succeeded in addressing the aforementioned problems in teacher training and the resulting need for research. At the UoC, relevant empirical research on teacher education and teaching professionalism has been increasingly and significantly developed into a research focus in recent years. It is now necessary to make further use of the potential of existing research and the expertise represented at the location: The aim is to bring the disciplines conducting research in the field closer together in a targeted manner and to broaden the research perspective, to further develop the research area methodologically and to raise its strategic profile.

The aim of the Emerging Group "Proving the Effectiveness of Teacher Education" is therefore to drive innovation over the coming years, which will result, among other things, in greater collaborative research by those involved. This will involve targeted networking of participating researchers, a strong intensification of research collaborations, further applications for third-party funding for excellent research projects and internationally visible scientific publications involving young researchers.

The group of people involved in the project from different disciplines and subjects has a variety of expertise, so that different research approaches can be initiated and further developed. The guiding research questions are as follows:

1. with reference to the present teacher training: How are learning opportunities in teacher training related to the development of prospective teachers' competencies? Are existing curricula effective, do they allow cumulative learning of prospective teachers? How large is the overlap between intended and achieved curricula? Do learning opportunities prove to be adaptive to students' entry requirements and do they take into account the needs of different learning developments of prospective teachers during their training?

2. with reference to innovations in teacher education: How can innovative teaching methods and required teaching skills be identified such as coping with new demands in the context of school digitalization? Which innovative measures to improve teacher education actually promote teaching skills and how can they be designed and evaluated? How can successful interventions be implemented in existing curricula? How can in-service training for teachers be effectively designed and implemented?