Leuphana Teacher Education: Always One Step Ahead

Lüneburg. On October 21, when the presidents of the universities in Lower Saxony meet in Hannover to sign a cooperation memorandum on teacher training, they will be enacting a reform that has already been a core value at Leuphana University of Lüneburg for many years. With the start of this winter semester, Lower Saxony will extended the Master’s degree for teachers intending to work in primary, secondary and intermediary schools by one additional year. Lower Saxony’s culture and science ministers want to better connect the first, academic, phase of the teacher-training program with the second, more practically oriented, phase. A core element of the reform involves a five-month internship phase during which the student teachers will spend at least three days per week in a school. The student teachers will have mentors at the schools where they are completing their internship, who will advise them on classroom instruction, while passing on experiences they have gathered during their careers as teachers. Before, during and after this internship phase, the student teachers will receive individual support and be jointly advised by a team of researchers and instructors, as well as by administrators from the teacher preparation office. During the course of the program, the student teachers will develop small, interconnected research projects with a view toward their pedagogical careers.
In Lüneburg, the path toward reforming teacher education was prepared intensively through a network of teacher training seminars, school officials, schools, researchers and students. The contacts between the university and the teacher training seminars have existed already for many years, so that the expertise required for the second phase is already being passed on to the students.

In establishing the Center for the Future of Teacher Education (ZZL) two years ago, the university re-affirmed its commitment: the center bundles together Leuphana’s existing initiatives and develops new ideas for the future oriented education of teachers. One of its first projects was the founding of an “Online Campus School” in cooperation with the Jesteburg secondary school. With the help of modern information and communication technology, this project transports real-life instructional situations from the schoolroom onto the university campus. The instructors at the school profit from this transfer as well as the student-teachers who are still in training. The project allows Leuphana’s researchers the opportunity to work with schoolteachers in order to test pedagogical ideas and develop new instructional material for the classroom.

The Center for the Future of Teacher Education (ZZL) has established itself as a site for innovation. School administrators in the region are included in its projects as well as students from all the individual teacher-training subject areas. In order to successfully educate teachers, the project’s initiators place great emphasis on Leuphana’s comprehensive educational model wherein pedagogical, academic, and personal skills are all equally taken into consideration. Special attention is given to projects that focus on dealing with heterogeneity and inclusiveness.
The future-oriented work of Leuphana’s teacher educators has paid off: in the past year the university received distinctions from the Donor’s Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities and the Nixdorf Foundation for its especially successful plans for teacher education. The Association especially lauded the innovative organizational design of the Campus Schools.
The Telekom Foundation sees Leuphana as a model for teacher education in the so-called MINT-disciplines (mathematics, information science, natural sciences and technology). It is supporting a Lüneburg project that will formulate new strategies for attracting and educating student teachers. The impetus was the special procedure used in Lüneburg for admitting students. Alongside the classical criteria such as transcript grades, waiting period or aptitude tests, the results from specific admissions interviews are being taken into consideration for the first time in selecting students for teacher education.

The nine new majors in teacher education at Leuphana started last week with the event, “Future Days in Education.” Over two days, Master’s students formulated sustainable ideas with a view to the concrete challenges of practical teaching. Aspects of educational fairness stood at the forefront of their efforts. They received support from a number of sources, including experts in school development.


Teachers have been educated in Lüneburg since 1946. These days Leuphana University of Lüneburg offers four different Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs aimed at preparing students for the teaching profession: teaching in elementary schools, teaching in primary and intermediary schools, as well as teaching in vocational schools with disciplinary concentration of social pedagogy and business pedagogy.
Leuphana’s teacher training bundles the educational sciences (pedagogy, psychology) with instructional subjects. The selection includes: biology, chemistry, German, English, art, mathematics, music, politics, religion, social studies, sports along with business and social pedagogy. More than 30 professors and about 80 university staff members are engaged in educating the next generation of teachers.

Leuphana accepts annually around 360 student teachers in the Bachelor’s degree program. About 1,200 students were registered for the Bachelor’s degree program in teacher education during the 2014 summer semester. The teacher education program is primarily the responsibility of the Leuphana faculty of education.

Further Information:

Center for the Future of Teacher Education (ZZL) - http://www.leuphana.de/zzl
Education Faculty - http://www.leuphana.de/en/about-us/organization/faculty-education.html
Master’s Degree Programs - http://www.leuphana.de/en/study/master.html