Daily Tasks on Thursday, 10-09-2014

  • Date: Thursday, 10-09-2014
  • Amount of time: 
    • Lecture: 90 minutes
    • Learning diary: coursewide learning goals (30 minutes)
    • Literature: 60 minutes



Today we got an introduction into “Didaktics and Media”. Our professor started the lesson with the presentation of each student. What I really liked was the following spontaneous brainstorming of what we expect from the course. She presented all the written down expectations after we had the chance to think of our own expectations instead of getting a fixed schedule of what we we are supposed to learn.

I liked the presentation of many books on this research area which gave me a feeling for the key contents.

Unfortuanetly I’m currently not able to reproduce all the topics in the introduction to the research area because I did not make any notes. The slide of the lesson would also help me to reproduce what we exactly talked about – but it’s not uploaded in Moodle yet. So I will begin to make notes on the next lesson.

I like the idea of writing an learning diary. In my school time, I ignored this idea because it didn’t seem helpful to me. But now in my studies, I see the neccessarity to handle the big mass of information (learning input) that we students get. A learning diary seems to help to find information that I would have forgotten otherwise.


Today I read the paper “Restrained Teaching: the common core of Didaktik” by Stefan Hopmann from the University of Vienna which was published in the “European Educational Research Journal, Volume 6, Number 2″ in 2007.

He draw the history of the traditional European “Didaktik” which is part of the teacher education in Germany (and surely other continental European states). Socrates already said that the “teacher does not overpower the student (…), but helps him to develop his own access” (p. 110). This is an interessting thought that I tried to reflect on my personal “Bildung”: did I develop my own access by the  matters that my school teachers gave me? Stefan Hopmann also cites August Herman Franke, a researcher from the 17th century who already defined “Bildung” to be “learning as a content-based student activity, not swalling (…) a monologue” (p. 113). I never realised that when I look back at my school time. But I remember that we often had a change between frontal lessons and exercises where we should discuss about the contents and to write down our own opinion.

Hopmann mentioned that the German reform pedagogy in the upcoming 18th century was “child-centered” and meant to see the child as “natural learner” and kind of leader of his learning process (p. 115). This is contained in the meaning of the German term “Bildung” which is the key term for all education: it means “unfolding individuality by learning”. This is an interesting point. Looking back to my school time, I can not see that one was completely able to unfold his or her individuality – because there were restrictions which came from the federal states. In the Abitur, the teachers also told us that we now had the possibility to choose our courses individually – so that they match our personal interests. The reality for me was that I had to choose several courses that I was not interested in anymore. My main focus computer science was bound to several other courses that “I had to choose” (which is kind of paradox, but I really had to choose my courses on a paper, but was only allowed to choose a special combination of main courses).

Nowadays in my master programme, I have the ability to choose between different moduls and inside the moduls I can often choose which topics I want to work on. I also recognized that the master programme often follows the German term of “Bildungsgehalt”, which means “educational substance” according to Hopmann. I shall not only get the information (or the matter), I should also think about the meaning of what I learned. This is an important “key competence” for leaders in organization departments. As technical leader, I have to think about questions like: “What can I learn from a fact? How can I improve something?”.

Another interesting topic in Hopmann’s paper was the critics on school comparisons. In Germany, the media is often full of reports on the schools’ quality. They usually cite from PISA or similar studies. Hopmann says that those programmes break up the difference between matter and meaning (p. 118) because they imply that theres only one fixed solution per matter that is called to be the “right” one. I can see that and it reminds me on personal experiences that I had: in my school time, I often had teachers who expected only one answer that they said to be correct. So I just gave this answer because I wanted a good grade – but I did not follow the idea of “unfolding” myself by looking at the meaning on different ways. I personally think that the real situation is caused by our performance society: we need to measure quickly if students recieved the matter, but there’s no place for really taking a look if the student can construct his own meaning. Success is often measured using quantitive methods.

So, the traditional Didaktics school has to have a commitment to the “Bildung” that I described above, a belief in the difference of matter and meaning and are “strong conviction that teaching and learning are necessarily autonomous activities” (p. 121). The American “curriculum and instruction” principle does not fit those aims because it comes with a kind of trivial transport of knowledge to the learner (p. 115). I’m asking myself, if you can really see differences in the american school system and our German regarding those different paradigms. I’m not sure about this.