Didaktik der Biologie (englisch)

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Diagnosis of pre-service and experienced biology teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge (PCK; DFG, 2007-2010)

involved persons:

LMU: Prof. Dr. Birgit J. Neuhaus

Universität Duisburg-Essen: Prof. Dr. Angela Sandmann, Dr. Stephan Schmelzing

In search of an improved teacher training research on teacher expertise examines the requirements a teacher needs to be able to provide instruction that offers students opportunities for insightful learning. The underlying assumption of this research tradition is that effective teaching is based on knowledge and skills, i.e. teachers’ competence rather than on individual traits and talents of a teacher. It is assumed that teachers’ competence is domain-specific and therefore valid in the respective subject. One much-noticed subject-specific aspect of teachers’ competence is pedagogical content knowledge (PCK; Bromme, 2008; Bromme, 1992; Bromme, 1995; Baumert et al., 2006; Gruber, 2004).

A better understanding of the structure, development, and significance of biology teachers’ PCK may help to improve both biology teachers’ professionalization and their teaching quality in the biology classroom which should also lead to higher student achievements. For an adequate investigation of biology teachers’ PCK standardized, reliable, and valid measuring instruments for larger sample studies will be necessary (Abell, 2008; Rohaan, 2009).

The present project will therefore develop, empirically evaluate and validate video-based approaches as standardized diagnosis of biology teachers’ PCK. By means of these video-based instruments, empirical insights on the structure and development of biology teachers’ PCK will be gained. The major research questions are: 

1. Development, evaluation and validation of video-based scales for measuring biology teachers’ PCK.

2. Examining the development of biology teachers’ PCK in the context of the biology teacher training under consideration of effects of training phase, number of visited seminars as well as teaching experience.

Thus the project provides a starting point for establishing a standardized diagnosis of biology teachers’ PCK as well as well-grounded recommendations for the improvement of biology teacher training.

The dissertation is funded by the Graduate School "Teaching and Learning of Science" (German Research Foundation) in cooperation with the Department Didactics of Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen.

Contact: Stephan.Schmelzing@uni-due.de



Abell, S. K. (2008). Twenty Years Later: Does pedagogical content knowledge remain a useful idea? International Journal of Science Education, 30, 1405-1416.

Baumert, J. & Kunter, M. (2006). Stichwort: Professionelle Kompetenz von Lehrkräften. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 9, 469-520.

Bromme, R. (2008). Lehrerexpertise. In M. Schneider & M. Hasselhorn (Eds.), Handbuch der Pädagogischen Psychologie pp. 159-167. Göttingen: Hogrefe.

Bromme, R. (1995). Was ist 'pedagogical content knowledge'? Kritische Anmerkungen zu einem fruchtbaren Forschungsprogramm. Didaktik und/oder Curriculum.Zeitschrift für Pädagogik (Beiheft), 33, 105-115.

Bromme, R. (1992). Der Lehrer als Experte. Bern: Huber.

Gruber, H. (2004). Kompetenzen von Lehrerinnen und Lehrern - Ein Blick aus der Expertiseforschung. In A. Hartinger & M. Fölling-Albers (Eds.), Lehrerkompetenzen für den Sachunterricht pp. 21-33. Bad Heilbronn: Klinkhardt.

Rohaan, E. J. (2009). Testing teacher knowledge for technology teaching in primary schools. Eindhoven: Technische Universiteit Eindhoven.