Leuphana Teacher Education: Vision for the Classroom 2020

Lüneburg: The current national debate over the quality of teacher education at German universities underscores the high value society places on this degree program.  Leuphana University of Lüneburg contributes to this discussion by offering new educational ideas that prepare teachers for general academic and vocational schools.  Leuphana uses, for instance, so-called quality circles to expand and develop its course offerings in teacher education.  Together with members of the Presidential Committee, academic experts from the Center for the Future of Teacher Training (ZZL), and members of the Dean’s Office in the Faculty of Education, students analyze the current course offerings and develop initiatives to improve their own education. This coming winter semester a new application and selection procedure will be offered that is specifically geared toward the needs of teacher education.

Teacher education has a long tradition at Leuphana University of Lüneburg.  The close link between theory and practical experience has been a defining feature of the Lüneburg model from the beginning.  While studying their specific academic and didactic disciplines, students in teacher education also acquire the concrete pedagogical and psychological skills necessary to help shape a school fit for the future.  Leuphana College offers students working towards a teaching position in primary, secondary and intermediary schools a Bachelor degree program in teaching and learning.  The Bachelor programs in business education and vocational training in social education prepare students for teaching at vocational schools.  Leuphana distinguishes itself from other universities in Germany through its particular curricular model: though enrolled in the teacher education program, these students complete their first semester—the Leuphana semester—together with all the other new students from the many other degree programs at the College.

During the Leuphana semester students encounter the methodological foundations and content matter of their academic discipline for the first time.  Over the course of their studies, teacher education students will also take courses outside their specialization in the complementary studies program, which gives them the opportunity to discover and try out what other disciplines have to offer.  Teacher education at Leuphana is a responsibility taken on by all faculty members.  The Education faculty is of course a special importance.  Thirty professors are engaged in teaching and research vital to the future of teacher education alone.  Currently over 1,400 students are registered in the teacher education program. 

The Center for the Future of Teacher Education, founded last December, bundles Leuphana’s existing initiatives and develops new, forward-thinking ideas for teacher education.  The first tangible project created, in cooperation with Jesteburg secondary school, is an “online campus school.”  With the help of modern information and communication technology, this project takes real-life classroom situations from the school and brings them to the university campus.  Leuphana is, right now, also in the final stages of the “Teacher Initiative” competition, sponsored by the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft.  With this initiative, the Stifterverband seeks to improve teacher education at the university level, and to attract new students to the profession.