© A. Etges/Mercator-Institut

What role is played by teacher training?

Language support and German as a second language at German schools

There has been growing consensus in the education policy debate in recent years that teachers require skills in the area of language support and intervention, regardless of which school they work at or which subject they teach. Universities, trainee programmes and staff development institutions are making increasing efforts to initiate and further develop courses that offer teachers the chance to attain the necessary qualifications. But to what extent are such courses already laid down in examination and study regulations or module handbooks at universities?

The study “Language support and German as a second language at German schools – what role is played by teacher training?” explores how teachers in all subjects and at all types of schools are trained in the area of language support and German as a second language. To this end, a total of 107 state-level documents and 837 examination and study regulations and module handbooks were analysed, with personal feedback obtained from the federal states and universities. The results are intended to provide those responsible in the state-level ministries and at the universities themselves, people involved in teacher training, instructors during the practical work experience phase and the state-level institutes with a basis for discussion and argumentation to allow language support and German as a second language to be systematically made an integral part of teacher training.

The results show that clear state-level stipulations result in clear university regulations. Standardized state-level regulations for all teaching training programmes exist only in Berlin, Bremen and North Rhine-Westphalia, however. However, more training institutions are addressing this issue than the legal regulations would lead one to expect: in half of all the teacher training courses on offer in Germany, seminars in language support and German as a second language are compulsory for prospective German teachers. In all other subjects, the proportion is a good 40 percent.

The study was presented in February 2014 during a joint conference with the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Schools and Further Education and the Centre for Teacher Education at the University of Cologne.

At a glance

Objective

The study “Language support and German as a second language at German schools – what role is played by teaching training?”  explored how teachers in all subjects and at all types of schools are trained in the area of language support and German as a second language.

Duration

September 2012 until February 2014

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