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Professional competence

Research Line 3

Ute Harms (spokesperson), Uta Klusmann & Aiso Heinze

What knowledge und what other features characterize a successful teacher? Is it possible to learn how to be a competent teacher? And, if so, what should teacher training and further training courses consist of? Research Line 3 examines these and other questions as its focus is currently on professional competence in teacher education. In keeping with the IPN’s profile, research concentrates on (prospective) teachers of biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Work in this research area aims to generate both fundamental theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge for further teacher training.

In current educational research, the term ‘professional competence’ is used to describe the personal prerequisites that are necessary in order for teachers to successfully master the requirements of the profession. It is assumed that professional competence can, in principal, be learned and taught. In line with the COACTIV model, work in this area distinguishes between professional knowledge, and motivational and affective aspects of professional competence. Professional knowledge is subdivided into the three domains: content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, and pedagogical-psychological knowledge.

Research Line 3 focuses on the following topics:

  1. The structure and measurement of professional competence
    Information about the structure and level of (prospective) teachers’ professional competence forms the basis for the further development of teacher education. Therefore, competency structure models and corresponding measurement instruments will be developed; they will be used to examine (i) the competence of teacher students, and (ii) the role that teachers’ professional competence plays in instructional practice.

  2. The development of professional competence
    Professional competence is developed both during teacher training and on the job. In order to examine this development, the knowledge, opinions, emotional and motivational aspects of competence, and learning opportunities that influence this development will be investigated.

  3. The impact of professional competence
    The aim of the (further) development of teachers’ professional competence is ultimately to promote students’ competency development in mathematics and science subjects. Which individual competency aspects are effective and how these aspects interact with each other are also focal questions in Research Line 3.