Teacher training: inclusion far from being a matter of course
Inclusion is now a matter of concern to all teaching staff, whether primary teachers, graduate grammar school teachers or vocational teachers. In the debate on inclusive teacher training, Monitor Lehrerbildung now presents data for the first time. These figures show that nowhere near all students training to become teachers in Germany are being sufficiently prepared for working in an inclusive school system.
More than half a million schoolchildren in Germany have special educational needs, over 28 per cent of whom are now being taught at mainstream schools. At German higher education institutions, however, inclusion and managing diversity in teacher training have not yet become a matter of course. A mere seven per cent of all higher education institutions have inclusion as an integral part of the curriculum, i.e. in education sciences as well as in subject disciplines and subject didactics. These were the findings of a current survey conducted in the context of Monitor Lehrerbildung, the results of which are now available online in a publication.
Implementing inclusion as a cross-cutting issue in education sciences, subject disciplines and subject didactics is one of three key success factors for inclusive teacher training. In addition, all students training to become a teacher should takes classes on inclusion and gain teaching practice in inclusive schools, regardless of the type of school in which they seek employment. Less than half of the higher education institutions interviewed stated that they implement at least one of the three success factors for inclusive teacher training. Teaching practice in inclusive settings is compulsory for all students at only four higher education institutions. Not a single higher education institution comprehensively deploys all three measures in teacher training.
Jörg Dräger, Member of the Executive Board of the Bertelsmann Stiftung and Executive Director of the CHE Centre for Higher Education: “Teacher training at universities is central to the success of inclusion. Students training to become teachers will learn about inclusive education best when the theme runs through the entire curriculum.”
For this reason, Monitor Lehrerbildung experts recommend that higher education institutions introduce concepts and measures for inclusion without delay, and continually improve their implementation by conducting accompanying research. Early practical experience in inclusive settings ought to be an element of all teacher training programmes. A nationally consistent understanding of inclusion and the objectives behind it could lend significant support to these activities. “Teacher training as a whole must be redesigned and restructured to meet the needs of inclusive school practice,” urged Ekkehard Winter, Executive Director of the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung: “At the same time, we have to provide training in inclusive teaching not only to teacher educators but also to teaching staff who are already in the system.”
The current Monitor Lehrerbildung publication entitled “Inklusionsorientierte Lehrerbildung – vom Schlagwort zur Realität?!” contains additional survey results and recommendations. This is the first publication to provide information on the topic based on a survey completed by 65 out of 70 German higher education institutions from all 16 federal states.
Information about Monitor Lehrerbildung:
Monitor Lehrerbildung is the only teacher training database. This database at www.monitor-lehrerbildung.de provides a clear presentation of over 8,000 relevant data and facts concerning the first phase of teacher training in Germany. In the publication on inclusion, data from Monitor Lehrerbildung is assessed in a theme-oriented manner and complemented by the opinions of experts. It is available free of charge from the Monitor Lehrerbildung website. A total of 65 of the 70 higher education institutions approached, covering all 16 federal states, took part in the survey, conducted in autumn 2014. Comprehensive additional updated information about inclusion and other topics at the federal state and university level will be available from the website at www.monitor-lehrerbildung.de from 11 May 2015. Monitor Lehrerbildung is a joint project of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the CHE Centre for Higher Education, the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung and the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft.
Further Information can be found in the publication stated below.