Why the university cannot master teacher training alone.
There are no teachers at German schools. Because at the same time numerous candidates for teacher training drop out of their studies, Mathias Brodkorb, Katja Koch and Klaus Zierer recently pleaded for the establishment of "state teacher training academies" and demanded that the students be filled with civil servants "from the first day of their studies". When I read this, I rubbed my eyes in wonder: should this be a perspective on the future teaching profession in all seriousness?
It is undisputed that teacher training at the university has not yet found an optimal form, and that teaching theory and practice is unsuccessful over long distances. But the establishment of "teacher training academies" is not a solution, but a huge step back. The academization of teacher training is the result of a long process of professionalization that goes far back into the 20th century. Whoever wants to win young people over to the teaching profession will hardly be able to entice them with the scent of the narrow world of old pedagogical universities – even if the staff are supposed to consist of "top-class scientists". I would like to see the "top-class scientist" who voluntarily prefers a career at a "teacher training academy" over a university.
And then the proposal of the civil servant from day one! What kind of teacher image do the authors have in mind? Should state-supporting young people be educated here who left school at the age of 17, who knew nothing but the world of the school and who then, at 22 or 23, were well-funded and materially assuming the pedagogical scepter in the small school cosmos?
These are not the school educators who are currently needed in our country. In view of the great diversity of the student population, social uncertainties and global challenges, the school in Germany needs an enlightened, critical, cosmopolitan staff who knows more than the world of the school.
It would be helpful if everyone who wanted to take up the teaching profession had worked in a social field outside the school for at least one year before studying – the place and type of activity would be irrelevant. In addition, the frequently insulted career changers should be qualified for the teaching profession. They enrich the educational business with extra-pedagogical knowledge and experience. The fear of a de-qualification of the teaching profession is unfounded – at least as long as the lateral entrants have to have a master's degree, as in Berlin.
It would also be easy to implement that teaching students have continuous contact with sponsor schools at the beginning of their studies. In this way, they would get to know the highly complex work of teachers from the beginning and become familiar with school life and teaching. Due to this permanent connection between theory and practice, the feared and often unrealistic legal clerkship would be eliminated.
Academic teacher training at the university is essential. But the respective subjects should focus more on the special features of the teacher training program, which includes more than just one subject. It is essential to develop an adequate range of courses on the part of the subjects – and since many subjects at the university owe their livelihood not least to the teacher training courses, this requirement is no more than fair and cheap.
The school of the future will only be able to meet its challenges if teachers work in it who are well versed in the world and in our society – and who are willing and competent to help adolescents tackle the difficult with empathy and a critical, reflective attitude Accompanying way to an uncertain life.