The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Why has Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel taken the flag from general secretary Hermann Gröhe? Learning micro-sociological theories by questioning the obvious.

Sandra Balbierz, communication management (bachelor), student of sociology (master), lecturer in sociology and faculty manager (Germany)


The future of education is often linked to aspects of new technologies that can be used or should be integrated in academic courses. This paper argues that an important factor of successful academic courses is still the interaction among students and between students and lecturer in lessons that is politically grounded in the >shift from teaching to learning< (Berendt 1998). [1] This shift has been formulated in 1999 within the beginning of Bologna process. Linked to this shift this paper reflects on how to realize it in introductory courses of sociology.

This paper won’t focus on systemic or organizational conditions. It presents experienced-based criteria and an example of how to shape courses from micro-sociological view. Main questions that arised from lecturer experiences and discussions of compulsory attendance, were 1) how to generate student’s interest in ‘what is going on’ in everyday life, 2) how to intensify their attentiveness regarding everyday life and 3) how to stimulate their motivation to analyze and explain everyday life through different sociological modes of thinking. This process of generating interest in phenomena, intensifying attentiveness and motivating in theoretical examination remains lecturer’s task. The idea of learning is to support students in self-learning processes that can be rotationally top-down and buttom-up-generated. Based on own experiences as lecturer in sociology and as faculty manager this paper

  • sketches framework of teaching within the >shift from teaching to learning<,
  • questions how ‘teaching’ can be transacted in introductionary courses of sociology in the context of heterogeneous classes (environments, interests, regulations) and formal requirements,
  • gives some criteria that arises from general framework and experience-based lessons and
  • presents an example from course in 2013 with regard to a highly discussed political moment in Germany when Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel took away the national flag from Secretary-General Hermann Gröhe.

By stimulating students to question the obvious (someone took away a flag) 'The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life’ (Goffman 1959) [2] and the role of media as mediator in social processes has been reflected with regard to the mentioned example and own experiences of students.

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