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IZeF-RG Persistence and change in schools, teaching and the teaching profession

(Speaker: Prof. Dr. Matthias Martens)


For at least two decades the school system has been increasingly confronted with demands for structural and content-related change. Inclusion, all-day schooling and digitalization are only a few crucial examples of innovation, reform and development impulses that place demands on the established structures in schools, teaching and the teaching profession as well as on the perception habits, attitudes and behaviour of the agents. The reforms and innovations in their expectations of, for example, the individualization of teaching or multi-professional cooperation focus primarily on the change and transformation of conditions. The enduring aspects of the reform and development programmes and in the corresponding research on teacher profession, school and teaching development do not receive the same attention.

Research on persistence and change in educational systems, which is based on structural, cultural, practical and discourse theory as well as neo-institutionalist, system and governance theory and historical-comparative approaches, has long drawn attention to the importance of organisational contexts and rules, socio-material structures as well as implicit knowledge and habitual patterns for the respective constructions of schools, teaching and the teaching profession. In terms of school and teaching development and professionalisation, these are decisive contexts for the perception and implementation of reforms and innovations by school stakeholders and thus serve as explanatory approaches for the persistence of structures in changing processes.

In researching the persistence and change of schools, teaching and the teaching profession, two perspectives are therefore interlinked: On the one hand, research focuses on current reforms and innovations (e.g. digitalization, individualization, inclusion) and on the other hand, persistence and change are explicitly researched on an abstract, structural level. Concepts of rational choice and direct governance of schools and teaching are put aside under this research perspective, but without ignoring the importance of programmes and normative expectations for the education system. Rather, the relationship between programmes and normative expectations, in which reforms and innovations are communicated, on the one hand, and the structures of school practice and the professional practice of teachers, on the other hand, will be examined in order to explore the complexity of change processes in the education system. With a view to innovations and reforms, the demand is bidirectional: To which extent do innovations and reforms change schools, teaching and the teaching profession and to which extent do innovations and reforms change in the process of implementation in schools, teaching and the teaching profession.

Against this background, the research group "Persistence and change in schools, teaching and the teaching profession" focuses on research

  • into subject-related and interdisciplinary, planned and targeted as well as unplanned, evolutionary changes
  • into the development of theory on the relationship between persistence and change
  • into the areas of digitalization, inclusion, individualization and teacher education

The following research projects can be found in the IZeF-RG Persistence and change:

On the theorization of the transformation of schools and teaching

On the one hand, changes in educational systems occur in the context of expectations for reform and innovation, which school agents have been confronted with on a regular basis over the past two decades in the course of new governance regimes and the associated activation of responsibility. In the face of societal challenges and upheavals, on the other hand, change is fundamentally inherent in social systems. In this project, which is dedicated to the development of theory, different theories will be tested in order to describe the dynamics of change on the different system levels of the organization, the interaction and the profession as well as to make visible the persistent structures, which represent an essential moment of the dynamics of transformation. The project aims at a theoretically appropriate description of the transformation of school, teaching and profession that takes into account institutional path dependencies as well as social emergence.

Project participants: Prof. Dr. Matthias Proske, Prof. Dr. Matthias Martens, Prof. Dr. Petra Herzmann

Literature (selection):

Herzmann, P., & Liegmann, A. B. (2020). Wie reflexionsförderlich sind universitäre Praxisphasen? Kritische Anmerkungen zu einem Professionalisierungsversprechen aus professionstheoretischer und empirischer Perspektive. In K. Rheinländer, & D. Scholl, Verlängerte Praxisphasen in der Lehrer*innenbildung: Konzeptionelle und empirische Aspekte der Relationierung von Theorie und Praxis (S. 74-88). Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt.

Martens, M. (2018). Individualisieren als unterrichtliche Praxis. In M. Proske & K. Rabenstein, Kompendium qualitative Unterrichtsforschung. Unterricht beobachten – beschreiben – rekonstruieren (S. 207-222). Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt.

Proske, M., & Rabenstein, K., & Meseth, W. (2021). Unterricht als Interaktion. In T. Hascher, W. Helsper, & T.-S. Idel. Handbuch Schulforschung. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. (i.E.)

Knowledge transfers in school and classroom development: On the collaboration of university and school

The project is based on our scientific work at the Inclusive University School Cologne and reflects on a meta-level the relationship between persistence and change in extensive founding and development processes of schools. The scientific reflection of this relationship is based on research and evaluation results and aims to shed light on knowledge transfers in school and teaching development. How do schools generate questions in school and instructional development processes? In which transformation processes does research connect to these questions? How do research findings flow into school and teaching development processes?

Project participants: Prof. Dr. Matthias Martens, Ellen Reuther, Lucia Sehnbruch, Dr. Bünyamin Werker

Literature (selection):

Bietz, C., Asbrand, B., Weichsel, F., & Martens, M. (2020). Forschung und Schulentwicklung. Kollaboration von Schule und Universität am Beispiel der Helene-Lange-Schule und ihrer wissenschaftlichen Begleitung. WEOS Jahrbuch, 3, 48-61.

Rosen, L., Sehnbruch, L., & Werker, B. (2020). Herausforderungen der theoretischen Anschlussfähigkeit der sogenannten Neuen Autorität an die didaktische Grundlegung und das Rahmenkonzept der „Heliosschulen – Inklusive Universitätsschulen der Stadt Köln". In M. Penkwitt, A. Textor, N. Kolleck, & Köhler, S. (Hrsg.), Anerkennung und Beziehungen. Didaktische Umsetzungen, Zeitschrift für Inklusion, 2. link

Hensel, M., Niessen, A., Reuther, E., Rosen, L., Sehnbruch, L., Şengüler, B., Weber, B. & Werker, B. (2020). Die „Heliosschulen – Inklusive Universitätsschulen der Stadt Köln". Gründungsgeschichte und aktuelle Entwicklungsperspektiven. WEOS-Jahrbuch, 3, 37-47.

Tablets in the classroom (TabU): Video studies on the social organisation of tablet-accompanied classroom interaction

The project investigates how the introduction and permanent use of tablets changes the teaching of school subjects and how tablets are integrated into classroom orders and practices. On the basis of video observations of everyday life in a tablet class of secondary school, the project investigates the interrelationship between teacher's instructional practices and student's participation and cooperation. The aim of the project is to clarify the influence of the tablet on the order of interaction in the classroom from a social and knowledge-related point of view and to reconstruct the requirements for action with which teachers and students are confronted when dealing with digital media.

Project participants: Prof. Dr. Matthias Herrle (University of Wuppertal), Dr. Markus Hoffmann (University of Cologne), Patricia Lauterbach (University of Wuppertal) & Prof. Dr. Matthias Proske (University of Cologne)
Cooperative project of the University of Wuppertal and the University of Cologne

Funding: Pilot study funded by ZEFFT of the University of Wuppertal, full proposal in preparation

Literature (selection):

Herrle, M., & Hoffmann, M., & Proske, M. (2020). Unterricht im digitalen Wandel: Methodologie, Vorgehensweise und erste Auswertungstendenzen einer Studie zum Interaktionsgeschehen in einer Tabletklasse. In K. Kaspar, M. Becker‐Mrotzek, S. Hofhues, J. König, & D. Schmeinck (Hrsg.), Bildung, Schule und Digitalisierung. Münster: Waxmann. (i.E.).

Study projects in the practical semester (StiPS)

With the introduction of a practical semester at school for students in teacher education, the didactic approach of research-based learning was implemented as mandatory in NRW. The constitutive element is the students' study projects. Document analysis and process data are used to reconstruct how students (and teachers) understand and do research in the context of research-based learning. The findings provide information about the extent to which the professional-theoretical development of a scientifically reflective teacher habitus can be initiated and at the same time comes up against limits – taking institutional conditions of teacher education at universities into account.

Project participants: Michaela Artmann (University of Cologne), Petra Herzmann (University of Cologne), Anke Liegmann (University of Duisburg-Essen)

Funding: Habilitation Scholarship of the ZfL Graduate School for Dr. Michaela Artmann (April-December 2017)

Project duration: 2016-2020

Literature (selection):

Artmann, M., Berendonck, M., Herzmann, P., & Liegmann, A. B. (Hrsg.) (2018). Professionalisierung in Praxisphasen der Lehrerbildung. Qualitative Forschung aus Bildungswissenschaft und Fachdidaktik. Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt.

Herzmann, P., & Liegemann, A. B. (2020). Wie reflexionsförderlich sind universitäre Praxisphasen? Kritische Anmerkungen zu einem Professionalisierungsversprechen aus professionstheoretischer und empirischer Perspektive. In K. Rheinländer, & D. Scholl (Hrsg.). Verlängerte Praxisphasen in der Lehrer*innenbildung. Konzeptionelle und empirische Aspekte der Relationierung von Theorie und Praxis (S. 74- 88). Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt.

Herzmann, P., & Liegemann, A. B. (2020). Mündliche Prüfungen im Kontext des Forschenden Lernens. (Re-)Adressierungen als Inszenierungen studentischer Expertise. Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, 66(5), 727-745.

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Professionalization between subject and inclusion orientation in the context of university mathematics didactics (ProFInk)

The requirement to change schools into inclusive schools is currently only one of many expectation from educational policy. The research project ProFInk investigates how prospective teachers position themselves with regard to the educational policy demand for inclusive schools and what the reform expectation of inclusion means for prospective teachers in the context of university teacher education, which is itself an institutional actor in the discourse on reform in science and education policy. Habitual orientations of prospective mathematics teachers at different points in their course of academic education are reconstructed. Subject-, general- and inclusion-specific expectations of inclusive mathematics teaching and general ideas of pedagogical professionalism are in the focus of inquiry.

Project management: Prof. Dr. Petra Herzmann, Prof. Dr. Benjamin Rott

Project participants: Lukas Baumanns, Laura Court, Tobias Dohmen

Funding: Partial application within the framework of the application for the Cologne Graduate College of MINT subject didactics

Project duration: since 2018

Literature (selection):

Court, L., Dohmen, T., Baumanns, L., Rott, B., & Herzmann, P. (i. Vorb.).  „Also da hab ich jetzt nichts zu im Studium gelernt wie ich jetzt damit umgehen soll.“ Orientierungsrahmen angehender Mathematiklehrer*innen zwischen von Fachlichkeit und Inklusion.

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