Are teachers underrated

Cooperation among teachers"Have to work on working time models for teachers"

Jörg Biesler: "Not alone anymore! Good schools cooperate." That is the name of the congress of the German School Academy, which has just started. Before the broadcast, I spoke to Professor Hans Anand Pant, an educational scientist at Berlin's Humboldt University and managing director of the German School Academy. Good day, Mr. Pant!

Hans Anand Pant: Good day!

Biesler: It's about the cooperation of the schools with the world out there with you, i.e. with other learning locations, with the district, with the most varied of partners. But it is also about cooperation in the teaching staff. I would say this is a sensitive issue. Would you say that too?

Pant: This is a sensitive topic, it is a hot topic, both in terms of the structures that are available in schools in Germany at the moment. That is not enough. On the other hand, that is a question of where every teacher personally has to deal with their own mentality. So how ready am I actually to cooperate with my colleagues?

40 percent of respondents prepare on their own

Biesler: You have previously commissioned a Forsa survey to clarify the matter. After that there is cooperation among teachers. But basically, if I exaggerate this a bit, most of them are lone fighters who flee to their desks at home after their lessons. In many schools there are no real jobs at all.

Pant: Yes, I would see it almost the same way. Fortunately, the data we collected in our study show that there is still a majority in the college who is willing to cooperate. But it is a really high percentage, over 40 percent of those surveyed, who say no, I actually prefer to prepare myself for the lesson at least professionally. And we are of the opinion that this is a basic attitude that is no longer up to date with the challenge that German schools are currently facing, namely dealing with incredibly heterogeneous, different children.

Biesler: There are also very different forms of cooperation, and probably very different perceptions. If I read it correctly for you, then of course the cooperation takes place in such student councils, where subject teachers meet to coordinate. But a correct structure, not only laying down the rough content of the lesson, but actually staying in conversation with one another, for example how such a class works, that is not a matter of course.

Common evaluation standards are rare

Pant: Exactly. We actually differentiate between three levels of cooperation in research. The lowest level is that you willingly help yourself with materials, lesson preparation and the like. A lot of people do that, including in Germany. But as soon as it comes down to communicating, what are our common assessment standards for school performance, for example, what do we actually think is good teaching, for example in mathematics, that happens much less often.

And what we call the advanced level of cooperation, the so-called co-construction, is about actually planning, implementing and reflecting lessons together and developing a common basic understanding of a good school in the teaching staff. Very few people do that. And to be fair, schools often have no time or space to do this. In other words, this can very rarely be found in the timetable as a fixed cooperation time - we would ask for that. And on the other hand it is the case that many who actually do that do it on top of their teaching time. And of course that is exhausting.

Biesler: In fact, you go so far in the announcement of your congress that you are calling for a completely different professional understanding for teachers, not just from those who train them, but from those who train them.

Pant: Quite right. I myself am involved in teacher training at Humboldt University, and all student teachers who ever want to learn the profession at Humboldt have to go through with me, so to speak. And I notice that the topic of cooperation, be it in the form of team teaching or peer observation of other people's lessons, that it does not occur in practice and is not practiced, is neither prepared as a technique nor as an attitude. And then I can ask myself self-critically that we have clearly underestimated this topic in teacher training up to now. That needs to change.

Longer working days at school?

Biesler: You are probably doing this because you see an opportunity to make schools better through more cooperation. In what way?

Pant: We believe that long-term success in school for a very large number of pupils, let's say at the time when our teachers, on average 50 years old, were themselves in training, that this success today means that teachers have different skills and teachers themselves. Above all, it is what is often referred to as adaptive learning competence or teaching based on heterogeneity.

This means that teachers can quickly see where which learning requirements are present in my study group, how do I deal with them, and I have the relevant materials ready immediately. To be adaptive to very different learning needs. And I think we can only do that if teachers exchange ideas, and not just with one another, but - and here the keyword is of course inclusive school, also with professions that are now increasingly represented at the school, be it social workers , be it social pedagogues or integration assistants.

Biesler: Will teachers then have to prepare for a working day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the future?

Pant: You are probably addressing the most delicate topic of all in connection with cooperation. I believe that we cannot achieve comprehensive and really effective cooperation without changing the attendance time models for teachers. In plain English, this means that teachers' working time is not only understood as teaching time, but also as time that is available for cooperation, coordination and, above all, in all-day schools for high-quality afternoon activities. And with that I would answer your question with yes, we have to work on the working time models for teachers.

Statements by our interlocutors reflect their own views. Deutschlandfunk does not adopt statements made by its interlocutors in interviews and discussions as its own.