New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 12

Accepted Abstracts

Integrated Science Teacher Training at the University Level using a Student-Student-Interaction Concept

Annika Sdunek, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Department of Chemistry Education (Germany)

Thomas Waitz, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Department of Chemistry Education (Germany)

Jana Pfefferle, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Department of Chemical Education (Germany)


Future teachers for the German high school system (Gymnasium) are traditionally educated in two subjects during their university education. After completion of their degree, they are at the most qualified to teach two scientific subjects at the high school level. In practice, it is becoming more and more common that the subject ‘integrated science’, in Germany often termed ‘Nawi-Unterricht’ or ‘Science’, is offered in lower grades in the Gymnasium [1,2]. In this subject, teachers teach both content and scientific competences although they are typically not prepared for this in their university studies. As a consequence, they have only little didactical and methodical knowledge of the teaching of interdisciplinary classes [3]. However, many of these teachers are interested in teaching science as an integrated subject, but do not feel adequately prepared for the task [4]. For example, most of the teachers feel uncomfortable preparing experiments using physical apparatus, chemical substances or applying teaching methods like ‘inquiry-based learning’. In fact, an analysis of German university teacher training curricula revealed that only very few courses for teaching interdisciplinary subjects (e.g. NaWi-Unterricht) are offered in the range of secondary teacher education. In addition to this analysis, the aim of this contribution is to present a design for an interdisciplinary university course in which future teachers learn didactical, methodical and professional knowledge of biology, chemistry and physics. The course is supplemented with expert lectures from the different scientific fields in order to complement and expand on the didactic and methodical foundations. Furthermore, the course is based on student-student-learning arrangements, in which students of the three scientific disciplines learn from each other by preparing teaching units including experiments on topics such as ‘How does the sun affect my life?’ [5]. Furthermore the paper presents selected examples of teaching units in some detail.


[1] Land Niedersachsen (2012), Die niedersächsischen allgemein bildenden Schulen in Zahlen, 21. [2] Statistisches Bundesamt (2014), Schulen auf einen Blick, 37. [3] L. Bröll, J. Friedrich (2012) in Der mathematische und naturwissenschaftliche Unterricht: Zur Qualifikation der Lehrkräfte für den NWA-Unterricht – eine Bestandsaufnahme in Baden-Württemberg [4] U. Barth (2005), Dissertation, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. [5] Institut für Qualitätsentwicklung an Schulen Schleswig-Holstein (2009), Naturwissenschaften.

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